Choosing the right domain name for your business is no small undertaking. These tips will help you find the right domain name for your website and set you up for success.
Now more than ever, customers are using websites to order from, learn about and interact with businesses that are being negatively impacted by the current pandemic. In addition to the ideas in our 7 Tips to Help Your Small Business Survive the COVID-19 Pandemic article, we believe creating or revamping your website is key in drawing business from your audience and customers. To begin this process, finding an appropriate domain name is a great first step.
Domain Names: The Internet Version of an Address for Your Business
To begin, let’s start with what a domain name is. A domain name is an Internet address for the specific, online location of your business. Domain names are purchased using a domain registrar such as GoDaddy. Establishing a good domain name will add credibility and positive brand perception for your business, and help you get discovered by search engines.
SEO and Why It Should Be Considered
SEO is an acronym for “Search Engine Optimization.” This is the ranking of websites on various search engines as determined by algorithms on platforms like Google, Bing and Yahoo. When creating a website, you will want to research and understand SEO to rank your site higher on search lists. For your domain name, the tips on what to do and what to avoid below are essential in optimizing your business online, and drawing traffic to your site.
What to Avoid
Before you begin brainstorming and fall in love with a domain name, learn what not to do below. Remember, if your audience has trouble finding or accessing your website, you are losing business.
To begin, let’s view an example consisting of everything you want to avoid.
- Repeated Letters – When brainstorming domain names, steer away from adding double letters when it is not a part of the brand name itself. In this example, a user would more than likely type “books” instead of “bbooks,” taking them to a different site altogether or their browser not finding your website at all.
- Numbers – If a number is not in your business name, you should reconsider adding it to your domain. Edge360Creative.com has a number due to its relevance in encompassing our capabilities of website design, web hosting, digital marketing, and E-Commerce as a full experience for our clients. Avoid the addition of random numbers in your domain name to give it a polished look, unless, like us, it is in your brand or company name. These are not as easily typed, forgettable, and simply confusing at times if they have no meaning. If you do have a number in your company name, it may be helpful to register both domain names with the number itself and the number spelled out, in case your audience doesn’t know which way is correct and they can be sent to your site regardless.
- Hyphens – Hyphens are allowed, but should be avoided. This, just as the number used above, has the effect of causing your brand name to appear less credible, perhaps taken as an illegitimate company. In addition, it decreases the memorability of your name.
- Spelling Variants – Words that have different spelling variations should be avoided if possible. Words like to, too, and two, and hear and here are just basic examples of words that can be confused or typed incorrectly by users. Save yourself and your traffic the annoyance by purposefully not including this in your domain name.
- Being a Perfectionist – This one is a bit different, but it is important nonetheless. While this process might take time, don’t get caught up in immediately finding the perfect domain name. Having an average domain name is better than not having one at all. If anything, it will give you potential and space to grow.
With all that settled, let’s get into the fun stuff. Here are 10 additional tips to support you in your domain name hunt!
What to Do
These 10 tips are suggestions you should aim for from the beginning of your domain name creation process.
- Brandable – Your domain name is a direct reflection of your business. Try to make this your business name if you have one already. If you don’t have a brand name already established, think of a unique name that accurately represents your business. This is your brand. It should be thoroughly planned so it can stand the test of time and it is a name you are proud of.
- Short and Sweet – As this tip suggests, be sure to keep the domain name simple, but noteworthy. This ensures it is memorable and easy to pronounce. We recommend 6-13 characters and one to three words maximum. Just think: apple.com, amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com… all of these are short, but powerful.
- Keywords – Keeping SEO in mind, adding keywords to your domain name can boost the likelihood of your website ranking higher in search engines, meaning users will potentially see your website before others – free advertisement essentially. However, only do this if it’s appropriate and doesn’t overwhelm the domain name’s length. For example, if your business is selling candles, you’ll want to include that in the domain name if possible. Find your niche and own it.
- Synonyms, the Forgotten Hero – Stuck? Found a name you love but it’s already well known or taken? Meet a thesaurus, your new best friend. A thesaurus will give you many synonyms to choose from for a particular word and their definitions, ensuring you are making sure whatever synonym you decide on makes sense with the context you need it for.
- Extensions – Extensions, or top-level domains, are what come after the final “dot” in the entire website name. There are many different kinds of TLDs to consider, but the most common and effective ones are listed below. For more information on top-level domains, you can click here.
- .com – any commercial business or profitable website (we recommend this 90% of the time)
- .net – networking sites
- .org – nonprofit organizations
- Domain Name Generator – When all else fails and your creativity is lacking to find traction on a name, use a domain name generator. Even if you don’t receive any names you like from the ones generated, this can help you in the brainstorming process to see examples related to what you envision. These potential domain names can be the one you use or help you find it.
- Research Before It’s Official – What is going to really down your spirits is finally crafting what you think to be the quintessential name for your domain, only to find that it has already been taken. Don’t forget to double-check that it is not already being used. It just takes a few seconds to type into your URL bar, so please check before you have your heart set on a domain name, or find a tool that will search databases to see if it is already taken.
- Secure Your Domain – Now that you have your domain name after thoughtful planning and double-checking its availability, use a reputable domain registrar to purchase your domain so no one else can grab it. Note: you will still need to find website hosting, but you need a domain name first.
- Social Media – You’ve worked this hard, add it to your social media! Whatever platform you are on, whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or all of them, include it in your bio and be sure to link it in your posts when appropriate so it is readily available for your customers and audience. They can refer back to it for menus, viewing your products, inquiring about your services, or simply learning more about your business. This is free advertising on your own accounts – take advantage of it.
- Wahoo, It’s Done – Bask in the glory of finding your domain name to help brand your business. Be proud!
In all, if you take just a few things from this article, let it be these: URL readability is key for users locating your site, ranking your website higher in search engines can depend somewhat on your domain name, and branding your domain is important. Now that you know some important guidelines, the next steps are brainstorming, research, and checking to see what domains are available. As you go through this process, be sure to brainstorm a few back-up names in case the domain name you want isn’t available.
Your domain name will have a significant impact on the success and potential of your website. Be sure to put some careful thought into choosing yours.