The World Wide Web may be global, but it's the local that will make or break your business. You can't afford to ignore online marketing in today's web-driven consumer culture, even in your city or town. The good news is that you don't have to be a marketing "guru" to greatly expand your internet presence in your locale. In fact, it all begins with your web address. Here is what you need to know about choosing, promoting and protecting your web address:

Choosing your web address

The first place to start is by creating a web address of your very own; the "core" part of your address is known as the domain name. Domain names can be purchased via web hosting companies as well as numerous places online. Feel free to shop around; the prices can vary greatly, and you may find promotions that can cut your costs significantly. When creating a web address, always think in terms of simplicity and memorability. Since there can be no spaces in your web address, be careful not to string together text that can be easily misread. For example, you may like the phrase, "Willow Art", but when you put it all together as part of a web address, it would read, embarrassingly, "willowart."

Another important consideration is choosing the internet domain upon which your web address will reside. Though there are numerous domains now in existence, try to buy a name in the common, top-level domains of ".com," ".net", and ".org" if at all possible. Those domains resonate with the public, while others such as "dot biz" or "dot link" are not yet as professional or well established in people's minds.

If you already have a web address, but it is anything other than one simple word or phrase, then you should immediately change it. Most people will not remember anything that follows a "slash," so create a new, memorable web address with a single domain name.

Promoting your web address

Your web address is your online marketing campaign's focal point. That's why you should be sure that your web address is placed on everything you produce, distribute and use in the public eye. Here are just a few examples of where your web address should be seen:

  • Business cards
  • Commercial vehicles
  • Television advertisements
  • Billboards
  • Building signs
  • Invoices and other business forms
  • Uniforms, hats and other apparel
  • Promotional items

Protecting your web address

Once you have a good web address, remember that it is a valuable business asset. Domain names are not permanent; you must remember to renew them periodically by paying the appropriate fees. Otherwise, they will expire and come available for anyone else to buy and use.

In addition, though you probably don't want to use anything other than your ".com," ".net" or ".org" domain, it still pays to purchase all available domain endings so that they won't be grabbed by a competitor seeking to benefit from your good reputation. For example, if your web address is "," then you should purchase "," "," "," and so forth.

It may be useful to hire someone specializing in SEO to help your website stand out on search engine results.