Picking a domain name for your business is one of the first steps that you’ll take when getting your business online – and it’s an important one. Make sure that you do your research and pick the very best domain name for your business so it can thrive online.
Selecting the wrong domain name can cause consumers to be unable to find your website, or cause you to not rank very well in the search engines; it can create a pretty gnarly situation. I’ll explain a few of the things that you should be aware of and look for when selecting a domain name for your business’ website.
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Your domain name should be relevant to what your business does
It’s important to choose a domain name that’s relevant to what your business does. For example, if you own a business called Pete’s Pottery, you’d definitely want to choose a domain name that has a keyword relating to “pottery” in it. You probably wouldn’t want to choose a name like PetesStuff.com, as “stuff” is generic and a broad term and isn’t really relative to what you do, which is make pottery. It would probably be a wise decision to grab PetesPottery.com if it’s available.
Is your domain name already taken? If so, it might be a good idea to include your location in the domain name, especially if you only serve a small area. Let’s pretend that Pete’s Pottery is a local business and only serves the area of Scranton, Pennsylvania. If PetesPottery.com were unavailable, you’d probably want to see if you could pick up PetesPotteryScranton.com instead. This domain name would be relevant to both what your business does and its location.
Choosing a domain name that’s relevant to what your business does allows your domain name to be memorable.
Your domain name should be easy to remember
Once you have your website up and running, and have a good amount of traffic to your website, consumers will start recommending your business and website via word-of-mouth; this usually happens in passing. If your domain name is not easy to remember, consumers might not be able to find your website. One thing I recommend avoiding is hyphens; people are likely to forget all about hyphens when they hear your domain name verbally.
For example, if you chose a domain name such as Petes-Pottery-Scranton-PA.com, consumers who recommend your business will probably forget that there are hyphens in your name and simply recommend PetesPotteryScrantonPA.com instead – or worse, they might just recommend PetesPotteryPA, which isn’t even your domain name. They probably won’t take the time to recommend going to “Pete’s hyphen Pottery hyphen Scranton hyphen PA dot com” in passing because they won’t remember about the hyphens when on-the-go. Picking a domain name like Petes-Pottery-Scranton-PA.com is likely to cause confusion and frustrate potential consumers who are trying to find your business’ website but can’t seem to type it in the right way.
Your domain name should be relatively short
Going along with being easy to remember, the domain name that you choose for your business should also be relatively short. If your domain name is too long for customers to remember, that’s a problem. Domain names that are seen as too long by the search engines may also be penalized for looking “spammy” and not show up high in the search results.
It’s also a good idea to not use hyphens (or use them very sparingly) or numbers (except in the case of things such as area codes, or if your business’ name includes numbers).
Good Domain Names
Bad Domain Names
It’s also very important to consider the domain name extension that you will use for your website.
Your domain name should have a good extension
If you’re located in the United States, you’ll definitely want to use the .com domain name extension if it’s available. When people hear about a business and are interested in going to their website, .com is the extension that they will assume that they need to type in.
If you’re located outside of the United States, it might be okay to grab an extension that is popular in your country, like .co.uk, which is popular in the United Kingdom.
I wouldn’t personally use new domain name extensions like .rocks or .ooo for your business’ website unless you own the .com equivalent so that you can forward over traffic that you would have otherwise missed, or if you are creating a novelty site where a new domain name extension makes sense (like icecream.rocks and im.ooo).
If the .com isn’t available for your domain name, it’s generally okay to use the .net extension as well, but I personally prefer to go through options until a .com domain name that I would be satisfied with is available. I also try to pick up the .net and .org extension equivalents just to make sure that someone else doesn’t purchase them and use them to try to steal some of my potential traffic.
How to check if a domain name is available
You can generally check if a domain name you’re looking for is available through your hosting provider. Some hosting providers, such as Bluehost, include a domain name with certain hosting packages for free.
If you don’t want to get a domain name through your hosting provider, I recommend taking a look on Name.com. I’ve used them before and haven’t had any issues.
No matter which domain name registrar you use, you shouldn’t really ever have to pay more than $20 per year for a .com/.net/.org domain name (unless you’re looking for enterprise-level service).
Choosing a domain name for your business is a decision you have to make; you should do take some time, do your research, and make sure that you purchase the best available domain name for your business. Migrating to a different domain name down the road isn’t always an easy process, so I always recommend making sure that you think you’ll be happy with the name you choose a few years down the road.
How did you choose your business’ domain name and/or brand name? Let me know in the comments!
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