Choosing a domain name, or URL, which stands for Uniform Resource Locator, is similar to choosing a name for your business – it requires time to think and consider numerous possibilities, especially with over 330 million domains registered across all top-level domains (TLDs) as of the end of Q1 2017, according to Verisign. Your domain name becomes your identity on the web, so you want to make sure you choose one that not only fits your business, but is also easy to remember, spell and, most of all, market.
The domain name you use is a hugely critical piece to your “Internet strategy” – it can literally make or break you. Below you will find 10 tips to help you select the perfect domain name:
Keep it short and simple!
Follow the KISS Principle, “Keep it simple, stupid.” If your domain name is long and complicated, you risk customers mistyping or misspelling it. Short and simple is the way to go!
Make sure it’s easy to spell
Finding a domain name that’s easy to spell is a critical component to success with Internet marketing. If you use slang – “u” instead of “you” or “xpress” instead of “express,” for example – it will probably be harder for customers to find you.
Avoid numbers and hyphens
Numbers and hyphens often confuse people when they’re included in domain names. When you tell people your URL website address don’t know if you’re using a numeral (5) or it’s spelled out (five) or they misplace or forget the dash. If you need these in your domain, register the different variations to be safe.
Consider using keywords in the domain
We recommend using keywords that describe your business and the services you offer. For example, if you’re in the insurance industry, you may want to find a name that includes keywords or phrases such as “auto insurance” or “life insurance.”
Using keywords can help improve your rank on search engines, and more traffic should hopefully lead to more business!
Target your specific area or location
If your business is local, or targets a specific geographical area, consider including your city or region in your domain name to make it easy for local customers to find and remember. Example: LosAngelesHandymanServices.com.
Try to be memorable
As previously mentioned, there are hundreds of millions of domain names registered, so finding one that’s catchy and memorable will help you stand out. Once you’ve come up with a couple of options, try sharing it with family, friends and advisors to get their input. Before you invest in marketing, you’ll want to see how the name “plays” with others.
Do some research
Make sure the name you’ve selected isn’t trademarked, copyrighted or being used by another company. It could result in legal hassles that could cost you a lot of time, money and stress. So do some research in advance of making a final decision – the time you invest early will pay for itself in spades down the road!
Protect and build your brand
To protect your brand, you might consider purchasing multiple domain extensions (meaning, along with buying the “.com,” you might also want to reserve the .net, .co and .info versions) as well as misspellings or other variations of your domain name. This prevents competitors from registering other versions and ensures your customers will land on your website, even if they accidentally mistype it.
When you find a domain you’d like to use, ask yourself this question: “Am I ready to marry this domain?” It may sound silly, but the answer should be “YES!” because this is a decision that will define your business and brand for years.
Plus, if you decide to change the domain in the future, it will cost you time, money, and potentially some hard-earned search engine rankings. In short, it’s a huge pain to make a change, so when you choose your domain name, have a long-term approach.
Move with a sense of purpose
There is fierce competition for domain names, so we recommend you move quickly. Fortunately, domains are relatively inexpensive – most available names are about $10 for the first year of ownership – so you should register a name or names you like as quickly as possible. If you’re having trouble finding an available name, domain registrars like GoDaddy will help suggest alternatives during your search to help you find the perfect domain name.