Choose A Domain Name for Your Business
Choosing the right domain name for your business is a big decision. Your domain name is more than the words you type into the browser, it’s the foundation for your online identity.
Choose the wrong domain name and you’ll end up doing your business a disservice. But, choose the right domain name and you’ll make your online success that much easier.
But, how exactly do you choose a good domain name for your blog or business?
We’ve got you covered. Below you’ll learn how to choose a domain name for your business, and the most important factors in getting your domain name right
1. Go with “.com”
When it comes to choosing your domain extension you’re going to have a lot of different options available. It can be tempting to go with a TLD that’s innovative and creative. However, if you can it’s always a good idea to go with .com.
The .com TLD is by far the most commonly used and recognized TLD. So, people already have a built-in association with .com being the primary TLD. You can use this to your advantage and build a higher-quality brand by choosing .com
You can also think of it this way. If your website does become very successful and you decided to start with something like .co, then you’d probably need to eventually purchase the .com too
2. Scoop up other domain extensions, too
When you register your .com domain name, pick up top-level domain variations like .biz and .net if you can. Redirect them to your .com site so visitors who type in the wrong domain will still find your site.
For example, sephora.biz, sephora.net and sephora.info all take you straight to Sephora.com.
As the number of domain registrations continues to increase, good names are becoming more and more competitive. For this reason, it’s possible to have a competitor snatch up the “.net” or “.biz” version of your URL – even if you’ve secured the “.com” version.
Because this can lead to lost traffic – especially if your competitors wind up outranking you in the search engine results pages – consider buying up popular TLDs (top-level domains) for your chosen domain, if they’re available.
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3. Keep it short
When in doubt, make your domain as short as possible. This will help with making your brand more memorable. The fewer characters your domain has the easier it’ll be to type, say, and share with friends.
Now it might be hard to find a single word domain that’s related to your business, especially today. However, consider combining two or three shorter words together to make something memorable.
Plus, since more internet users today use their smartphones to browse the web, you need to make it easy for them to type your domain into their browser
4. Avoid “cutesy” names and abbreviations
Don’t use cute shorteners like 4U and 2U in your domain names because:
- They’re hard to remember.
- They look unprofessional.
- Only Prince could get away with that, and 4 real UR not Prince.
If you think people might have trouble remembering long URLs, know that they’ll have a field day trying to remember your text-speak domain name! Steer clear and look for alternative domain names that convey your company’s brand messaging without resorting to tricks like these.
5. Don’t make it awkward
Domain names don’t include spaces, and using hyphens in domain names is a terrible idea, so whatever you choose shouldn’t look awkward written as one word.
To see what we mean, consider the real-life URLs for the following legitimate company names:
- Pen Island – “www.penisland.net”
- IT Scrap – “www.itscrap.com”
- Who Represents – “www.whorepresents.com”
- Experts Exchange – “www.expertsexchange.com”
- Speed of Art – “www.speedofart.com”
Clearly, carefully reviewing your final selection before hitting the “Register” button is always a good idea!
6. Make it brandable
Brandable means that when you see or hear your domain it sounds like a brand. By looking at your domain name your visitors should be able to intuit what your website is going to be about. Now, this doesn’t mean you need to spell out exactly what your business does with a list of keywords but instead try to capture the essence of what you do.
When a customer sees a name like billreducer.com, they have one expectation in mind: this website is going to help me save money by reducing my bills in some way.
Choose a name that is going to let customers know what they are in for from the moment they read it. Your site should deliver what it says on the label, and your domain name is the label.
For example, if you sell pet supplies in Tulsa, www.tulsapetsupplies.com makes that clear to visitors in a way that, say, www.treatsandtoys.com does not.
Don’t make it confusing for your visitors to figure out what your business does. Say it all with a great domain name.
7. Choose a domain that’s easy to remember
Customers will find your website URL on flyers, newsletters, search queries, and other websites so making the address stick is key.
Memorable domain names are often short, clever, and avoid trendy humor, hyphens or numbers. The longer or more complicated the domain name, the less likely it is to stick. A good rule of thumb is if you saw the domain name on a delivery-truck sign, could you remember it later?
Think obvious, catchy, unique, and memorable.
Do a quick analysis of your favorite domain names and see what makes them stand out, and incorporate those elements you like into your own business domain name.
8. Stay clear of copyright issues
If you’re pretty much settled on a domain name, then you need to spend some time looking into the past of your domain.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Have there been any associated domain names that have a negative public opinion?
- Does your domain name contain any words that have a double meaning?
- Are there any existing trademark issues with the words used in your domain?
The last thing you want is to find and register the perfect domain name, only to realize that your domain is creating brand confusion, or that you’re accidentally stepping on someone’s trademark.
Double-check social media, too. You want to make sure any relevant social media handles are still available. This will help you build brand consistency and make it that much easier for your visitors to find your business on social media.
9. Unlock the power of keywords
Internet search is based on a framework of keywords and phrases when indexing addresses and sites, so why not take advantage of this when choosing your domain name?
Brainstorm keywords related to your organization and use these in shaping your chosen name. For example, your butcher’s shop might name meat, butcher, smoked, cured, savory, friendly, and service as descriptive keywords for your business. An appropriate name might then be SavoryService.com or TheSmilingButcher.com. Either domain respects the fact that search engines work off of such keywords when indexing and fetching information for users, while providing a description of what customers can expect in the process.
What keywords do people use to search for businesses like yours? Use them in your domain name if you can.
10. Protect your privacy
When you register your domain, the rules of the internet require that you give your
- real name
- home or business address
- email address
- phone number
Anyone online can find that information through the global WHOIS database. When you can register a domain, your information becomes public knowledge and anyone can do a domain lookup to see who owns the domain. Don’t want randos looking up your contact info? Sign up for HostGator’s WHOIS privacy service when you register. We’ll replace your private information with ours.
Ready to register?
It only takes one click to check if your dream domain name is available. Once you’ve found the right name and made sure it’s available, it takes just a few minutes to buy and register it.
Check now to see if your domain name is available today.
Kevin Wood writes about technology and human potential. You can find him at his virtual homes Wooden Writing and Counter Culturist.