Choosing a domain name for your website is a decision that should not be taken lightly. Many webmasters and business owners can underestimate the very crucial role that a domain name plays in the overall performance of an online business.
Your domain name is like the street address for your online business, and is integral in determining the success – or failure – of your online business. The right domain can significantly boost your website traffic and customer conversions. However, a bad domain name can damage your online reputation.
Now that you realise the importance of choosing the right domain name, it may seem like an overwhelming task, given the potential consequences. However, there is nothing to fear. Most people that choose the wrong domain do so because they have not taken the necessary considerations into account. In this article, we will outline the questions you should ask yourself before you settle on a domain.
Your website is the online version of your physical business. Or if your business is online only, then your website is the only presence of your business. In either case, your website needs to be unique and memorable to stand out above the millions of other websites available on the internet.
So, whether you are just starting your business, or you are taking an existing brand online, it is important to ensure that a correlation exists between your domain name, and the product or services that your business provides.
When a visitor sees your domain name, they should immediately get an idea of what kind of business you have. This is important as it will encourage them to click on the link and arrive at your website. For example, if you run a laundry business, you should probably include ‘laundry’ or ‘dry cleaning’ in your website’s domain name so that someone searching for such services can easily find your website.
If you have an already existing business you want to take online, it is essential that your domain name fits your business name. Don’t choose a domain name that is completely unrecognizable from your business name because it will fail to convert your physical customers into online visitors.
Business is about building enduring brands, and one of your key business goals will be to grow your brand and reach more customers. Reputable businesses spend many years establishing their brands to become key players in their respective industries – think companies like Apple, Google and Tumblr for example.
Therefore, when deciding on a domain name, or even your business name, consider if you can build a brand around the name.
Choosing a brandable domain name makes sense because there is a big chance that it will be available and more affordable than the generic ones. Also, with a brandable domain name, your website will be able to stand out and avoid getting lost in the mix of similar websites.
If you’re thinking about getting your business online, you’ve probably done a little research and chances are you have come across the term SEO before. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, and it is the practice of making your website rank highly on search engine result pages for specific keywords.
SEO is very important to businesses. Due to the overwhelming number of websites and online content, there is a need to sort them out based on relevance and usefulness to internet users. For this reason, search engines – e.g. Google, Yahoo, Ask, and Bing - have developed algorithms to rank websites based on relevance. Using various SEO techniques, you can influence how relevant these algorithms judge your site to be.
Of the various factors considered by search engines, one of them is the domain name – so when deciding on your domain name, it is important to pay attention to the impact it may have on your website’s SEO. If your domain name is well optimized, your website will gain more rank and visibility, and will be able to reach more online users.
Having carefully considered the answers to the three questions above, then you are well on your way to selecting the perfect domain name for your website. The following tips will help you with the last few steps to achieving your objective.
Less is better when it comes to domain names. This is important because a shorter name can be easily remembered and is quicker to stick to memory than a long one.
Also, consider choosing a domain name that is easy to spell and pronounce. Try as much as possible not to include numbers and other special characters that may confuse your customers.
By doing so, not only will your online customers be able to remember it easily, but they can also share it with their networks without confusion over spellings.
When internet users require information, they use keywords to search for relevant websites. Consider using a relevant keyword to make up your domain name.
A note of warning: You might feel the urge to stuff your domain name with many keywords. However, as mentioned before, less is better when it comes to domains. Too many keywords, and chances are your website will be viewed as spam by the search engines.
There are domain extension options available to choose from – this is the part of the domain that comes after the dot. While .com remains the most widely used extension, you can decide to go with any of a wide range of available extensions.
You could choose to appeal to local customers by choosing a domain extension specific to your country like .co.nz or .com.au. Or a .com domain may give you more global appeal.
There are many generic extensions too that may suit your business. Perhaps consider .coffee, .club or .design. Choosing a slightly less traditional extension may be a good tactic if your first choice of domain is already claimed.
With the number of domain names in use, there is a good possibility that someone else may already own the domain you want, or be using a very similar one.
To avoid infringing on another website’s copyright, it is important that you research the internet to know whether there are similar domain names before registering it. This will help you to avoid lawsuits in the future that will negatively impact your business reputation.
Now that you have gone through the stress of choosing the perfect domain name, make sure you protect it.
Thousands of new domain names are registered daily, and you don’t want someone else to beat you to it!
Look out for the expiration date of the domain name. You may want to buy a registration period of longer than 1 year, or set up the domain to automatically renew so that you never lose it.