When you make the move to get started with your business online, one of the first things you ought to consider is the domain name you want for your website. A domain is like a street address for the internet that tells the world where your website is located. Just like you might choose to open a store in one neighborhood over another, choosing the right domain name is an an essential part of branding strategy as you establish your business’s identity online. Deciding on the best domain name can be somewhat tricky, so here are some tips and suggestions for finding and securing the best domain for your business as you’re starting your website.
1. Make it match your business.
Your domain name is going to be the signature of your online business. It’s the name you’ll print on your business cards and the first thing people see in Google about you. Consider what keywords are most relevant to your business and try to find a domain that is either exactly of your business name or something very closely related to what you offer.
2. Make it short and sweet.
Not only do shorter domain names mean less room for error when typing out the address, but some websites (like Twitter) will only display the first twenty or thirty characters of the address. That means if your domain is very long, the full name might not be displayed in listings.
3. Make it memorable.
Keeping your name short is good, but over-abbreviating to the point of confusion won’t get you much traffic either. Be wary of words that can be spelled in more than one way (reed/read) unless the rest of the name gives enough information for it to be obvious.
4. Consider whether you need a domestic domain.
If your target audience is mostly within a certain country, you might want to register a country-specific domain. Within Australia, .au domains are an excellent choice for many businesses. Because of the restrictions of who can get an .au domain, registering an .au for your website gives you more credibility as a business owner. If your business deals more internationally, a .com, .net or .org might be better suited. You might consider also buying multiple versions of the domain (e.g. net and .net.au) if you’re really on the fence to make sure that no one else can have the alternate versions of your domain.
5. Make it easy to read.
One of the primary goals of your domain name should be to give your customers an easy way to find your website, so keep it as simple and easy-to-read as possible. Avoid clever spellings like substituting numbers for words (2 = two = to = too) or trendy spellings (i.e. “cats” = ‘katz”). Watch out for confusing characters (“I” looks a lot like “1”, which also looks a lot like “L”). Don’t use hyphens unless absolutely necessary. Similarly, if you’re combining keywords to create your domain, think about any possible words that could be interpreted from bunching letters together that would normally be clearer with spaces. Think about the difference from a bakery name going from “Cake Don” to “Caked On” just because someone didn’t read it the way you wanted them to!
6. Avoid copyright infringement.
We’ve all heard the tales of the little guy who “got it first” and bought the ultimate domain name before the Suits thought of it, so they paid him handsomely to hand it over. This may have happened once or twice, but more and more big businesses aren’t opening their wallets to get the domains for their trademarked terms, they’re calling their lawyers. Do your research before you purchase a domain to make sure you’re not setting yourself up for potential conflict.
What else do you need for a website? Download our free Website Starter Pack or Contact Us and we’ll help you get the best domain name you need to get your website started.