You’re planning to take your business online.
These days a website is pretty much compulsory if you’re going to get any customers. Even if most clients find you by word-of-mouth referrals, the first place prospects look is your website.
Making a good first impression is crucial, and it all starts with an attractive and memorable domain name. Keep reading for tips on how to select the perfect domain name for your business.
Many “digital-first” businesses actually choose their domain name before deciding on a name for the company. It’s a lot less expensive to find the right name if the domain with your business name isn’t already taken.
Of course, you could just use one that’s already taken and put a hyphen in the middle!
Well no, that is definitely not a good idea!
The right domain name is more than just your site address
A good place to start is to understand what a domain name is and how it works with the various components of your business communications.
Every page of information (resource) on the internet has an address. That’s how your browser knows where to find it. Behind the scenes, these addresses include a unique set of numbers (IP address) for the server that holds that page. This address will change if you move your site to a new host or even when your hosting needs to serve a large audience all over the world and each territory can have a different server. Load balancing can automatically direct your readers to their closest server.
The one fixed point in all of this is your domain name. It’s important to have email addresses at the same domain name for reassuring consistency. This helps with email deliverability. If you want to give the right impression don’t even think about keeping your old .AOL email address.
Your domain name is the unique reference that tells a browser which nameservers to look at to get the addresses of all your online resources like web and email servers.
The domain name registry that you choose will have a place where you can put the addresses of the nameservers of your hosting providers and enable you to change them if you move hosts.
It’s essential that you keep control over the settings for these addresses.
Your Domain Name Is Displayed On Every Page You Publish
It may seem obvious, and it is!
Your reader’s browser displays the URL (Uniform Resource Locator) which includes your domain name on each page of your website. Google uses this address in many ways to index your content. If you want the best chance of ranking well then you need to make sure that the URL is always relevant to the content. Of course, if you have your company name as the domain name then that’s always relevant so long as your site is dealing with your company activities.
If you use a domain name that uses keywords (and you should if possible) then these should be applicable to the content of your site. Google will take a dim view of sites like “PuppyPictures.com” offering investment advice!
This means that visitors arriving on your site from a link in an ad or from another site can check the address at the top of the page to make sure they are where they are expected to be.
It makes sense to reassure them by having a simple, memorable, and trustworthy domain name.
The Top-Level Domain (TLD)
All registered domain names consist of two parts. The SLD (Secondary Level Domain) – the part before the period. The part after the period is known as the TLD. This is where you decide whether you want a .com, .net or .shopping.
There are very few situations where you won’t want to register the .com if it’s available. This is by far the most recognizable and valued version of any domain name. Even if you’re only setting up a blog; if the .com is available grab that. You can always register the .blog too and point them to the same place. People are far more likely to assume your domain name is .com so mistakes are much less probable.
Of course, if someone has already snagged the .com then all is not lost.
Keeping It Local And Relevant
If you’re not planning a global brand or you’re based in a particular country then the ccTLD (Country Code Top-Level Domain) may still be available. MyPerfectDomain.us is still a good choice.
You may find that some of the owners of the top brands have taken all the ccTLDs available too. It’s worth making sure that the domain name you want is not already used as a trademark or has copyright protection. Even if Disney.blog hasn’t already been registered, you really don’t want to be talking to their lawyers after you’ve built your own big audience!
If your business is directed at a particular technology like networking or is a non-profit then .net or .org could be good alternatives.
When you are clearly operating in a completely different market or sector to the holders of the .com and you’re not directly competing then you may get away with it.
There are a large number of new TLDs that are intended to target a wide range of use cases. These are a good last resort but they’re not so highly regarded and some of them can be viewed as spammy or suspect. They’re useful if you want a very short domain name and the other TLDs are already taken. Some are surprisingly expensive.
The Second-Level Domain (SLD)
This is the name part of a domain name. The unique bit that you want everyone to remember and use to access your content on a regular basis.
What’s in a name?
That which we call a rose
by any other name would smell as sweet
Well, Romeo.com is definitely already registered! So we’re going to have to do some work here.
A Domain Name Isn’t Just For Christmas (Unless You’re Santa!)
Remember to think long-term. Although you could register another name later the upheaval and damage to your SEO and audience communications can cause havoc.
First, you need to decide whether this is going to be your company name or a new brand that you want to use to promote your business. Many companies have a corporate site that just has company information and contact details. This should contain the actual name of the company if possible.
Depending on your corporate values and professional styling you may want to add a keyword to differentiate you from another entity with the same name but in a different market. So something like JamesTaylorArchitecture.com would work.
If you’re building a brand then there’s a lot more room for creativity. You need to start brainstorming some combinations of keywords that represent your brand. Combining a couple can dig out some surprisingly good unique domain names that haven’t already been taken. Make use of an online Thesaurus to find a range of synonyms for your ideal keywords. As always, the keywords you choose should be relevant to the content of your site.
Remember to keep the resulting name as short as possible. Not only is it easier to remember and spell, but long domain names can also start to look a bit suspicious. Keep it below 14 characters maximum.
A Few Tips To Bear In Mind
Avoid using hyphens and numerals. If you’re verbalizing the domain name you will always have to pronounce the hyphen and be clear that the number isn’t spelled out.
Avoid double letters in the middle of the name, especially if they can be ambiguous. So something like AllLabels.com is going to lead to typing errors.
Check that your combination of words or names doesn’t lead to embarrassing misinterpretation. The Italian branch of Powergen probably wasn’t expecting their domain name to cause general hilarity!
Set up a spreadsheet with all your keywords and combine them to give a list of candidate names.
Is It Available?
Head over to CyberCletch Domains to check availability. You’ll quickly discover a shortlist of domains with the right TLD that you can work with.
Once you make your final choice you can register it at CyberCletchDomains.com where you can also take advantage of a free 30 minutes consultation to ask any set-up questions and make the most of an inexpensive option to store your domains safely.
If your ideal domain is not available, all is not lost. There are many domain auction sites available. The biggest one is Sedo.com. Here you can search for your keywords and bid for sites that are already registered but up for sale. It’s going to be more expensive but sometimes getting exactly the right name can be worth it and as with many auctions, bargains can be landed!
Now you’ve snagged that domain name, you’re all set to get your website and email accounts up and running.
Here at CyberCletch.com we have everything you need to design a world-class web presence to build your business on.
We are at your service!