Your business’s internet address might be more valuable than your business’s physical address. People are probably more likely to find your business by doing a web search than by driving past your business. That’s why it’s important to know how to pick a domain name for your business.
How to pick a domain name for your business
As a modern entrepreneur, you must consider many variables while choosing the right domain name for your small business. Think about each section below as you craft your domain name.
As you think of domain names you might want to use, write them down. Create multiple combinations. Later, you will research your domain name ideas.
Brand your business
You can use your domain name to build brand awareness for your business. The domain name should be the same or similar to your business’s name. A domain name that matches your business will make your website easier to find.
Using branding in your URL can have a significant impact on how your website ranks in search results.
“Most small to medium business sites (those in the top 10 in SERPs) achieve placement in the top 10 rankings using branded keywords,” says Tom Lowery, an entrepreneur, author, and corporate training specialist.
Use regular spellings
You want the domain name to be simple to type. Using words with multiple spellings can confuse customers. Also, slang and made up spellings can make your website difficult to find.
You might want to avoid:
Avoid numbers or hyphens
Numbers and hyphens can also make your domain name difficult to type.
Numbers can be spelled out or used in their numeral form. Sometimes, numbers can be used to replace words (e.g., 2 instead of to or too). Think about how your domain name sounds. What would someone think if they heard, “fifth street tea dot com?” Is fifth spelled out or written as “5th?”
You can use hyphens to create spaces or make a new domain name. But, we don’t use hyphens in spoken language. If your website is passed on through word of mouth, the hyphen might be left out. Potential customers might not find your website.
You might want to avoid:
Include keywords in your domain name
You can search for keywords to help target your domain name toward potential customers. Consider what your potential customers are searching for when they do web searches.
Make sure the keyword is related to something you sell. But, don’t be too specific with the keywords you include. Being too specific might cause problems if you expand or pivot your business in the future.
In addition, being too specific might actually penalize you in search engine rankings. An exact match domain name penalization was added to Google’s algorithm in 2012. So for example, if your small business’s main product is Oolong Tea, choosing a domain name of OolongTea.com could actually impede your ability to rank well for that keyword.
You might want to avoid:
Add your business location
Including your business’s location can help potential customers know where your business is located. Your location can also help differentiate you from similar businesses. You can add your state, city, or some other location element to your domain name.
Keep it short
Use a short domain name. While you want to include important information about your business in the domain name, a long domain name can cause problems.
Customers are more likely to mistype a long domain name. A long domain name might also be more difficult to remember. If customers can’t remember the domain, they won’t come back to your website or pass on your URL to other potential customers.
Pick an extension
Once you have a list of domain names that you are interested in, you need to think about extensions. The extension is the top-level part of the domain name (called TLD).
Common extensions (called gTLDs or generic top level domains) include .com, .net, .gov, .org, and .biz. There are also more unique extensions, such as .pizza, .florist, and .pro.
There are also country code top level domains (ccTLDs) that are recognized by search engines. Some examples include .de for Germany, .us for the United States, or .cn for China. These ccTLDs will indicate to search engines and users that your website is more relevant to its corresponding country.
Common extensions will be more recognizable to your customers. But, using a unique extension will give you more options if your desired domain name is taken. Keep in mind that many users may default to typing in .com, so you might only want to use unique TLDs if absolutely necessary. There are pros and cons to each extension, so make sure you consider them carefully.
Research your domain name
Once you have a list of domain names that you like, along with an extension, you need to research your options. A lot of domain names are already claimed, especially simple ones. You need to make sure the domain name you want is still available.
You can try searching for the domain name you want. The provider you buy your domain name from might have a search to see if the name is purchasable.
Also, you want to make sure the domain name you want is not copyrighted by another company. To be safe, don’t use any brand names or slogans. You might want to consult a lawyer.
How to register a domain name
Once you’ve finished picking the right domain name for your business, you must register it to claim it. To register your domain name, you will have to go through an organization called ICANN. You can register your domain name through a registrar or your web host. There will most likely be a small fee to register your domain name.
Once you register your domain name, you will have the rights to it for one year. You must renew the domain name each year, which also has a small fee. Don’t forget to renew. Otherwise, someone else might snatch up your domain name.