Your first task in setting up a business web site may be deciding on a domain name. If your business has already established brand name recognition with consumers then you should probably consider using your actual business name as your domain name also. If however, like most businesses, you are trying to draw attention from customers who are searching for your products and services, but who likely don't know who you are, then a different approach is needed.
For example, someone searching for an affordable interior decorator that can help them in the Denver area, a domain name such as - www.denverinteriordesigns.com tells people 2 things right off the bat when they look at this url - (1) You offer interior design services and (2) you operate out of the Denver area. So before planning anything else, you have already begun the process of capturing visitors who are pre-qualified by using an url such as this one in this example. Ultimately, this should be your goal.
A third thing to consider is that very likely, after completing the keyword research needed to optimize your web site for search engine listing, you will discover that “Denver" and “interior design" are 2 of your best key phrases. Having them placed strategically in the domain address may give you a slight boost in ranking as well.
Should you hyphenate long domain names?
Ideally you want the domain name you choose to be fairly short; it's easier for people to remember the name. If you choose to use a slightly longer domain name hyphenating it may help keep from misspelling it when typing it in the browser bar. Some seo consultants will tell you that search engines like Google(c) will penalize you if you use hyphens. However, it is our experience that it makes no difference to the se's whether the name is hyphenated or not.
The one thing we do recommend is that if you are going to use hyphens in your domain name, purchase the same domain name without the hyphens and re-direct visitors who forget to add the hyphens when typing, to the hyphenated version of the domain. That way, no matter what they type, they will arrive at your landing page.
To Dot.com or not to Dot.com . . . ?
Most people are conditioned to search using a Dot.com extension when looking for a web site. Dot.com was here first and it's what people are most familiar with. Try to get the Dot.com extension for your domain name first. After that we recommend that you also purchase all of the secondary extensions of your domain name as well. This keeps other web site owners from benefiting from traffic that should rightfully be yours because someone purchased say, the Dot.net version of your domain and benefited from traffic that misspelled your domain name when typing it into the browser.
Secondly, you may find that owning the alternate extensions of your domain name may prove useful in other ways somewhere down the road.
Brad Knell is the owner of Better Search Solutions, a search engine optimization and web promotion company. Check out his website for more info - http://www.bettersearchsolutions.com