How much time and effort should you put into choosing a domain name? Since your domain name is the foundation of your online identity and can make or break your business, it is critical to take the time needed and do your research.
Do not assume that having a quality business and website will automatically result in massive traffic to your site.
Why is Your Domain Name So Important?
Your domain is your Internet address representing a specific IP (Internet Protocol) address at the basic level.
Each IP address is comprised of a unique string of four numbers separated by periods, such as 174.266.8.2.
The domain name system was created by computer scientists to make it easier for users to remember websites by assigning a unique name to every numeric IP address.
However, domain names are more than just a technical shortcut. Other reasons domain names are critical to the success of your business include:
· Making a good first impression as your URL is the first thing visitors to your website will see
· Increasing brand awareness and recognition by matching your domain name to your company name
· Adding mobility to your Internet presence by enabling you to take your domain with you should you change website hosts
. Using keywords in your domain to increase SEO rankings
A memorable and short domain name can make the difference between getting lost in cyberspace and creating a successful online presence.
Below are several tips to help you choose the best domain for your business.
If Available, Start with .com
While there are multiple TLDs (top-level domains) to choose from, .com remains the king as the most legitimate and credible domain name extension.
Although it might be tempting to go with something creative or fancy, many advise putting your website on the .com version. Why?
People are more familiar with .com, so they are likely to automatically type it into a browser. And, statistically-speaking, approximately 47% of all websites use the .com TLD.
If your desired .com is taken, you can decide to choose another domain name, contact the owner to see if they will sell it to you, or use a domain broker service to negotiate a sale on your behalf.
Buy Other Domain Extensions Too
Once you have secured your main .com domain extension, consider scooping up other popular TLDs such as .net, .biz, and .info and redirecting them to your .com website.
Sephora is an example of a major brand that uses multiple domain extensions. Sephora.info and sephora.biz redirect to Sephora.com.
Buying other domain extensions can avoid possible trouble by:
· Preventing others from creating imposter sites with different domain extensions that look like yours but are meant to trick people
· Decreasing the chances of losing online visitors to your site by users who mix up your TLD
· Warding off the likelihood of people buying your domain with an alternate TLD and trying to sell it to you at an extremely high cost
Because the number of domain registrations continues to increase, it is highly possible that your competitor could buy up your domain with other extensions, such as .biz, .net, or .info.
Not only can this cause you to lose traffic to your site, but your competitor could also end up outranking you in the SERPs and cause you to lose revenue.
To avoid the above scenarios, if possible, buy the most popular TLDs for your domain name.
Keep it Simple and Short
The most effective domain names are memorable, short, and easy to spell and pronounce. Websites with unique names are easier to remember, share online, and revisit.
Avoid using too many characters, hyphens, complicated words, underscores, and numbers unless they are part of your brand name.
So, it is best to use short and catchy domain names, even if you have to buy one that is already registered.
Use Niche Keywords
Domains that contain relevant keywords can rank higher in search. This is especially true if your keywords are specific to your location and represent what you do.
For example, keywords that include what your business offers and your location can help you target potential local customers.
Using keywords in your domain name helps improve your search engine rankings. Avoid using too many keywords and put the keywords at the beginning of your domain name.
Choose a Domain Name that is Unique and Brandable
An alternative to using keywords is coming up with a unique or catchy brand name. This tactic can be risky if you are not already an established brand, such as Uber, Google, or Amazon.
Building brand recognition is critical to your success. What factors contribute to making a domain name brandable?
Brandable domain names are:
· Not wordy, do not include complex vowel combinations, and are easy to memorize
· Unique to your brand and differentiated from competitors
· Easy to pronounce
· Not controversial and sound trustworthy
As mentioned above, brands take time to develop and gain recognition. When choosing your domain name, your main goal is to create the potential to build brand awareness over time.
Keep in mind that unless you can dominate your industry, do not choose a common word as your brand name because you will not be able to rank for it.
Do Your Research
Before you buy a domain, take some time to research its history, social media, and trademarks.
Conduct a simple Google search. Check the first few pages of results to ensure there are no existing trademark issues with the words in your domain.
Also, look for any associated domain names that have received negative public opinion or negative reviews.
You should also check social media sites to see if your domain name is available. It is essential for brand consistency and building brand awareness to use social media handles that match.
Consider Purchasing a Premium .com Domain
A Premium Domain is one that is already registered. They are generally keyword-rich, short, and valuable.
Cars.com is an excellent example of a premium domain. It is generic, contains one word, and defines its category.
It is also an exact match for the service the business offers. If your brand name is an exact match of your domain, premium domains are the perfect fit.
Premium domains are intuitive and perform well in search. Other benefits of premium domains include:
· Boosting your marketing efforts
· Creating credible and authoritative first impressions
· Appearing higher in search engine results
· Increasing brand recognition and putting your business specialty front and center
· Getting more direct, type-in traffic to your website
Even though premium domains are often costly, they help brands establish a memorable brand identity, increase SEO, and pay off in the long run by increased revenue for your company.
You can choose to buy a premium domain on your own or look for a professional domain broker service to perform the necessary research and negotiate the best deal for you.
Get it Right the First Time
Let’s face it. You only have one chance to make a great first impression. When dealing in the digital world, it starts with your domain name.
Take the time you need to choose a winning domain name that will significantly impact the success of your business.
Including your brand on your website, emails, and social media profiles will strengthen your brand identity, increase awareness, and ensure consistent messaging across all platforms.
Your goal is to choose a domain name that distinguishes your business from others on the web and makes it easier for your customers to find your site.