I think the worst impression you can make on a new business client is handing them a business card with firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com where a real, professional -looking, business-legitimizing email address should be. Nothing screams “bush league” like not having a .com domain for your company (or .org as the case may be, but stay away from the others… nothing says “someone beat me to the punch” or “I don’t have a unique company name” like a domain ending in .biz, .us, etc.)
All that being said, did you know that registering a domain name usually costs less than $9.00 a year? Once you own the domain, there are services that will help you design and host a template-based website for free! With Google apps, you can get all of the functionality of gmail with your unique domain, all for free! Of course, you won’t want to stick with a template site forever, but it’s better than no website at all.
I’ll go one step further and say that your domain name is so important, that finding a good .com should be the basis, or at least a very large vote on how you name a new company. Picking the company name first runs you the risk of adding hyphens, locations, etc that make you look like you’re playing second fiddle to the real thing. When you go to godaddy.com and see if joesplumbing.com is taken, it will recommend the following ridiculous domain names:
…and the list goes on and on. You might as well buy icouldntcomeupwithanoriginalname.com. Wait. I just bought it. Now you have to buy the .info!
The last thing we warn about is reading the domain name over the phone. Your domain should be a combination of simple words, so you don’t have to explain where the hypens are, where you used a 4 instead of the word “for”, etc. You and your employees will be constantly telling clients and vendors your email addresses and web address, and it would be shame to lose a client because he couldn’t figure out your complicated domain name.
I still encounter a surprisingly large number of businesspeople who are set in their ways, and simply do not understand why they need to get away from their comcast.net email, and don’t grasp the concept that a website has the more potential than any other source for getting them noticed and getting new customers.
If you need help with your domain, website, or email setup, give us a call, we’d be happy to point you in the right direction, and give you some definite examples of what not to do.