Picking the Right Domain Name for your Small Business
You probably spent a while choosing your business name, and it’s also a good idea to take time when deciding upon your domain name or URL. Remember that your domain name or web address is the representation of your business on the internet.
It’s important to choose a domain name which fits your business, as well as being easy to find, promote and use. There are lots of factors involved in choosing the perfect domain name for your business, here are some tips to help you choose the right one!
Do your research!
When you chose your business name, you should have done research to check that the name isn’t trademarked, copyrighted or being used by another business. It is possible to use the same name as another company if your industries are completely different, but it’s best to avoid it.
The same applies to your domain name. You can also check whether the domain is already taken. For example, use the domain search function at 20i.com or other web hosting providers.
Avoid hyphens (and numbers)
Adding hyphens and numbers to your domain name can cause confusion for potential customers – do they use the number 5 or write five? It’s easy for people to misplace or forget the hyphen. If you need to use these, register variations without the hyphens and numbers to ensure you’re not losing customers.
Keep it short
Like most things in life, simple is best. If your domain name is long and difficult to spell, you risk your customers mistyping it and you could potentially lose business. Abbreviate if necessary.
Make it memorable
There are million of businesses out there with websites, so you need to try and make your domain name stand out from the crowd. Do some market research with friends and family to check to see which domain name is the most catchy and memorable.
Then, when you’ve made your choice, register it quickly before someone else beats you to it (yes, it happens!). Web Lad recommends using 20i.com or 123-Reg to register your domain names.
Tip: You don’t have to host your website at the same company as your domain name is registered. Once you have a domain name registered, it’s easy to point it to any host.
A domain name extension is the suffix that comes at the end of the name – .com,/.net,/.co.uk. .com often denotes companies based in the USA, and it can often be difficult to get hold of a memorable .com for your domain name because they have been around the longest. You can use new generic top-level domain names which are specific to your business like .photo/.design/.info if the .com or .co.uk is already taken.
Available vs Premium
When you check to see if your chosen domain name is available and it’s available, you’re in luck. Usually it’s pretty affordable and you can pay monthly or annually (it’s often free for the first year).
But what if you’ve got your heart set on a domain name and it’s taken, or it’s available but costs a lot more than similar names? Welcome to the world of premium domain names.
Premium names are already owned by a person or registry. This is because someone somewhere believes that this domain is more valuable than other domains. You would then go to a marketplace like Afternic to browse premium domains. Buying it is easy and similar to buying an available name – just more expensive. But remember getting the right domain name is an investment.
Protect your brand
It’s a good idea to purchase various domain extensions, as well as misspelled versions of your domain name in order to protect your brand. This stops competitors from registering other versions and makes sure your customers are directed to your website, even if they misspell it.
Use keywords that describe your business and the service you offer. It helps to improve your rank on search engines and makes sense to your customers. If you’re a web designer you might want to use (your name + web design). Keywords are linked to domain bias (see below).
Research has shown that online searchers take the words in your domain name into consideration when making the choice to click on your link. This is called domain bias and it’s all about whether a user believes the page is more relevant because of the domain name.
A few years ago Microsoft did a study which found important factors for companies choosing a domain name. Here are the findings:
- Users like exact-match domain names and are 25% more likely to click on them
- Users are less likely to click on a site that lacks their keywords even if the site is good quality
- Users will click on the domain of a brand they trust first, or failing that a site that uses the relevant keywords
Domain bias therefore has a real effect on SEO and click-through rates.
If you’re still having trouble with choosing the right domain name, then get in touch for a chat with Web Lad. With extensive web experience, he can help you to get it right.