If you have a US startup called X and you don’t have x.com, you should probably change your name. The reason is not just that people can’t find you. For companies with mobile apps, especially, having the right domain name is not as critical as it used to be for getting users. The problem with not having the .com of your name is that it signals weakness. Unless you’re so big that your reputation precedes you, a marginal domain suggests you’re a marginal company. Whereas having x.com signals strength even if it has no relation to what you do… 100% of the top 20 YC companies by valuation have the .com of their name.

(c) Paul Graham, Y Combinator co-founder

Domain name alignment

When a business’s online domain exactly matches the name of the business, it’s said to have domain name alignment. Lets take our own business as an example. We are called Simon Antony Limited (Simplepage is one of our brands), so we got the domain name simonantony.co.uk, simonantony.com, simonantony.net etc. As we have the same domain as our company name, it therefore aligns perfectly. Had one of those domains already be in use elsewhere, we may have needed to change to something else i.e. simonantonylimited.co.uk or simonantonywebsitedesigners.co.uk – obviously not as easy to remember nor aligned with the company name. Generally, most businesses will have exact alignment between their domain and company names where possible, but there are some cases, in which a complete misalignment is present. There could be a number of reasons for this.

Follow the KISS Principle

When selecting both your brand trademark along with catchphrase and domain name, you would do well if you try to follow the KISS principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid). World’s most radiant domain names are very simple and are also pretty easy to remember. This helps people to recollect the correct domain name and visit the website whenever searching for something. Usability could be another reason for domain name misalignment. If an aligned domain is going to be difficult to say, type or remember, a company may decide to use something different. For instance, a long acronym could be less than ideal as a domain.

Brief Yet Lyrical is The Name of The Game

That the domain name should be as short as possible has already been emphasized in this blog post; however, a new factor has now been added to it. If you try to make it sound lyrical, people will tend to remember it more. As for selecting longer domain name, you would be paving the way for people either to mis-remember the name or commit a typo, both resulting in missing your website by the skin of the teeth. Needless to say, most iconic business brands the world over follow this principle, such as Apple, Dell, eBay and many more.

Dot Com Whenever Possible

“Despite the fact that there are other top level domains which do get a decent amount of traction, most commercial enterprises will want to stay with a dot com domain name when at all possible,” says Andrew Rosener, CEO of premium domain brokerage Media-options.com. “It simply provides organizations the most strategic flexibility, and the lowest chance of losing traffic, making it a smart choice in nearly every situation.”