The domain of your business website is like the foundation of your house.
It’s what all the content, services, and advertising rely on. It’s often the first impression any new visitor sees upon interacting with your business and thus has strong implications for your search engine optimization efforts.
Choosing a fitting domain can be a challenge, and it’s especially costly having to switch to a new one later if you mess up today. What are some considerations and tips to help you choose the perfect domain name now? Read on to find some best practices, tips, and strategies for this vital step in business development.
Make It Memorable By Keeping It Short and Sweet
Less really is more when it comes to domains. SEO professionals often recommend domains not be longer than 15 characters. Ones that are too long are more difficult to remember and more cumbersome to type in.
Similarly, look to make the domain easy to spell and read out since you will probably have to mention the websites in person at some point. Avoid obscure words and ambiguous spelling, for instance.
Choose A Brandable Name and Own It
Stand out from the large crowd of other competing companies with a unique domain name that belongs to your brand. Double check to make sure the name you choose doesn’t conflict with someone else’s site or trademark.
To that end, go for niche keywords at the beginning of the domain but don’t overdo it to the point where you end up with an awkward, cliche domain. A keyword is the fastest way for search engines and visitors to understand what the website is all about, and it helps with search engine optimization significantly.
You’re going to be doing keyword research anyway as you develop site content. Use the same process for the domain search: that is, use keyword tools to find low competition, high search volume terms.
Use Common Domain Extensions to Build Instant Credibility
While it may be tempting to have your website name end in something “special” like .blog or .me, many Internet users find sites without .com or .org to be untrustworthy or suspicious. The latter two are also far more well-known, so stick with the industry standard here by using .com for your company website.
The only exception is using region-specific extensions like .ca and .co.uk, which Google uses to help target websites to geographic locations. Use these if you’re aiming for local audiences.
Make Sure to Avoid These Common Pitfalls
The more hassle a name is to remember and convey, the less likely it will catch on. Some common pitfalls of domain design are:
- Writing numbers numerically. Have you ever asked for a WiFi password and wondered whether “2” should be spelled out or written as a numerical? Don’t make the same mistake with a domain name. Try not to use numbers at all in a business domain.
- Using hyphens. Hyphens (and underscores to some extent) in URLs have a negative connotation of leading to spam websites. They also, again, increase the chance of typos.
- Double letters. Because you won’t have spaces, underscores, or hyphens in your URL, make sure that the words are still recognizable when concatenated together. For instance, don’t let a word start with a letter that the previous word ends with. Having multiple identical letters stuck together can be confusing and unsightly for a business domain.
A business domain will be typed in, written out, spoken about, and remembered. If you can make all these tasks easier, you’ll raise the chance of gaining new visitors.
Accommodate for Future Growth
Businesses rarely stay in the same place over time. As you expand into new markets, let your domain still reflect your main goals even years into the future. As an example, imagine if a men’s fashion store chose the name “hatsandsuits.com.” What if the store suddenly sold wallets and belts as well, resulting in a potentially misleading URL?
The reason “future proofing” is so important is that moving a site to a new domain can be a time-consuming and risky process, especially for search engine optimization. Try to give yourself some flexibility and room to grow today, and you’ll thank yourself tomorrow.
Get Inspired If You’re Stuck
It can be difficult finding a unique domain since so many of them are already taken. Have writer’s block? Take a look at one of the many free domain name generators on the Internet, some of which serve business users. Examples include DomainHole, Domain Wheel, and Wordoid. It’s the best way to get new ideas based on certain keywords you type in.
Once you make a decision, act quickly. Domain names are much like competitive real estate as many companies will be vying for the same few names. Take immediate advantage of an excellent idea if it comes to you.
Next Steps: Buying and Registering Domains
Domain registrations are available from a variety of vendors and price points. For first-time business users, it’s not uncommon to receive a domain name alongside service from your web host. Take a look at your options and compare what you get for your money.
Alternatively, there’s the option of a domain without a hosting service, in which you buy from a domain registrar. Domain.com is one of the most popular options for this route. GoDaddy is another strongly popular option, serving over 14 million customers.
Looking for a more guided approach? Globalgraphics can help you navigate the process of buying, registering, and building your website. Get in touch with our team today to learn more about our web design services.