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Perhaps you thought you'd just start small and didn't really need your own domain name. So you found a host that offered subdomains and didn't have to spend money on domain name registration. You get your URL put on your business cards and brochures and start handing them out.

I am a potential customer. I've got your brochure and it looks interesting. I think I'll check out your website. I type in the URL, which is something like
[] and hit enter. Oops, page not found. I must have typed it in wrong. Let me try again. Hmmm, still not found. Oh well, I have another site bookmarked that offers the same thing.

I'll just go there. How many customers are you willing to lose this way?

I am another potential customer whom you just met at a party. We've been discussing our businesses. You politelyask for my URL. I say, "It's virtually designed dot com."
Of course, I ask for yours in return, and you say, "It's geotowns dot com slash Heartland slash prairieville slash 85487." I've forgotten yours before you even finish saying it. You go home and type mine in and enjoy visiting my wonderful site.

If you are serious about your business, invest in your own domain name. Your business name works well. If they can remember the name of your business, they will remember
your URL. Make it easy on your customers and stay away from the dashes and slashes. Domain name registration has never been cheaper, thanks to the recent deregulation of
the domain name registration business. So do yourself and your customers a favor and move on up to your own domain.

Melisa McCurley is the owner of Virtually Designed,
Affordable website design for small and home businesses.
And editor of Biz Bytes - free ezine designed to help
you start, run, and prosper at your small business.

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