Registering the perfect domain name for your business is a significant decision. A good domain name can contribute positively to your brand and will be remembered by customers. Ultimately, your domain name is your identity on the web, and you want to make sure it is one that fits your business, is easy to find and promotes.
Your domain name is your first impression as it is the first thing your visitors will see. If you choose a good domain name, it can make a positive and lasting impression, help your SEO and define your brand. But a bad domain name can have adverse effects on your business.
So, how do you choose the right domain name? Here are 5 top tips to choosing the perfect domain name, whether you are starting a new company, a new brand, or have an existing brand you want to take online.
Leave room for expansion
Yes, you want to choose a domain name that is related to your particular niche because it gives your users an idea of what your business is about. But at the same time, you don’t want to limit your options too much.
For example, a wedding photographer named Jasmine may choose a domain name like JasmineWeddingPhotography.com, but then later down the line may get into lifestyle or street photography and want to start blogging about it on her site. This decision may prevent her from attracting readers that are interested in other types of photography. A better domain name would be JasminePhotography.com; this gives her business room to expand.
It is also a good idea to make sure that your domain name is relevant and instantly tells visitors about your business or service. Some companies also choose to include locations in their domain name. Try to include your brand name and, if possible, any other words that are vital to your business.
There are many different varieties of domain extensions now; .com, .net, .org, .biz and more. The best choice is to go for the .com domain extension because it is the most common. Also, if you buy a .com domain, you can try and scoop up the .net and .org versions if they are available and you can redirect them to your .com website.
If you can’t find an available .com, the runners-up are .net and .org. They are acceptable, but there is always the chance that users could type in .com by mistake and not find your site. It is not a complete deal-breaker, but something to keep in mind. Try and stay away from any other extensions. Many customers may not be familiar with them.
Keep it simple but creative
It is best to keep your domain name short and memorable, one or two words are best. It is also important to make it easy to pronounce and easy to spell. Test it out by giving a handful of people your new business domain name and ask them to spell it. Then find a handful of individuals, write your domain name down and ask them to pronounce it. If more than a few people struggle with either, then you may want to reconsider your choice.
As well as keeping it simple, also try to remain creative, unique and brandable. Every brand has competitors and trying to stand out from them can be difficult, but a large part of it can be your domain name. Most single-word domains are already registered so you might need to create your own word. Try using two whole words joint together (FaceBook) or affixing a word with a prefix or suffix (Spotify).
Consider using keywords
Using keywords in your domain name can help to improve the visibility of your website and its Search Engine Optimisation. But use keywords carefully, if you awkwardly stuff keywords into your domain name it can come across as generic. A generic domain name doesn’t have any meaning to customers, so be selective with the type and amount of keywords you use.
If you choose a keyword in your domain name, put it at the beginning. That is the best place to set a keyword to make it the most powerful for your ranking. Tools like Google Keyword Planner can help you get performance insights and see keyword ideas.
Domains are also important for the email address
When you are choosing a domain name for your business, don’t forget that you will also be using it for your email address! If the domain name is long, the email will be even longer! But fear not, there are ways for overcoming that issue as well. Choosing the best email address isn’t all about the best domain name, but you should consider it while you are looking for your perfect domain name.
If you are an SMB, or a startup and in need of a domain name for your company/product/service:
Don’t spend thousands on a domain name in any extension (.com or non .com) unless it is absolutely mission-critical to whatever metric you must achieve by x date, and you have the resources to support such purchases or purchases of various traffic-building names.
So for example, if you are a startup supplying security systems to hotels, you might think hotelsecurity.com or hotelsecuritysystems.com would be good names to have. Only thing is that both names are taken by someone else.
While you might be able to negotiate the purchase of the names from the current registrants, it’s possible they might ask hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of dollars for such names.
You have to make the calculation and decide if the seller’s price fits with your objectives. In most cases, I’d say spending $500 to $2,500 for a .com name that is already taken may be worth it.
If hotel security is going to be your business for years to come then spending that kind of money ($500 to $2,500) should be a no-brainer vs. all of your other marketing and selling expenses. It says exactly what you do and just about everyone around the world knows exactly what a .com name is and does for your business. (Note: I picked “hotelsecurity” randomly out of my head when writing this article. I have no interest or investment in such names.)
Get smart on new domain extensions.
Understand what the smorgasbord of new domain extensions can do to help you drive more traffic to your website and their potential limitations in the near to medium term.
I checked (when writing these article) and hotelsecurity.systems can be purchased at one registrar right now for less than $25. Hotel security.equipment, hotelsecurity.training, hotelsecurity.contractors are all available for less than $40 each at one registrar.
With all the new extensions available there has never been a cheaper or better time to hand-register names in multiple extensions that could help drive more traffic to your business! On the other hand end-user consumer awareness remains rather low, so keep your expectations in check if you plan on using such names as primary identity and traffic builders.
New domain extensions certainly represent an opportunity, but don’t neglect to obtain the matching .com if you can afford it and it meets with your business objectives.
You don’t want to be in a situation where you purchased a non-com for $25 and base your entire business on such, and then a competitor comes along and buys that .com equivalent (that you passed on) for $2,000 and blows you out of the digital sky simply because at this juncture .com continues with the most mindshare of any domain extension in most places around the world.
Understand your market and domain extensions that naturally address that market.
What if you are planning on selling such systems in China? Don’t forget to consider registering names in domain extensions that can be meaningful to the local netizens. Beyond .com, you should consider .cn (the Chinese national extension) and fully Chinese language extensions such as .在线 (Dot Chinese Online) and .中文网 (Dot Chinese Website). I just checked and 酒店安防系统 (“hotelsecuritysystems”) was available in both extensions for less than $40 each. Makes sense to me to address a population with a web address that speaks the same language.
In summary, .com is not the only choice anymore in naming for an SMB or startup but is still worthy of consideration in addition to securing good names in the new domain extensions.