Finding the right domain name to suit your business is really important when building your brand image. It’s the first thing your visitors see and how they’ll find you in the future, so it needs to be memorable. So in such a crowded space, how do you put yourself at the top? Here’s a few tips…
This is the fun part, where you can channel all your creativity. But getting that first nugget of inspo can be a sticking point. Start by asking yourself, how many websites do you visit every day? And how many of those do you remember the names of? Make a list of all the ones you do remember and why you remember them. Then you can take what you like from those and apply it to your own strategy. Of course, be original and don’t steal! But there’s no harm in taking inspiration from them.
The easiest way to create a domain name is using your business name. That way as soon as someone clicks on your site, they’ll know exactly whose page they’re on. If this is still in the works, think about how you want to be seen online. Your business name should tell customers exactly what you do, in not so many words. An elevator pitch of sorts.
If you don’t want to use your business name, you could choose some keywords that relate directly to what you do. You probably already have a list of target keywords for your new site, which help with SEO as well as getting noticed. Plus, it tells Google more about your site and may contribute to your ranking. So, if you sell cakes and bakes, your keywords might be ‘cake’, ‘bake’, ‘delicious’, or some other variation of the kinds of bakes you sell.
Having your own domain name also boosts brand reputation. Visitors are much more likely to trust and come back to a site with a domain that they recognise, rather than random words that don’t link to what’s on the page.
Keep it snappy
If you’ve already got a business name or a list of keywords, great! But if you’re still deciding, it’s worth bearing in mind where this name will be seen, how long it is and if it’s easy to spell. An overcomplicated name isn’t going to stick in people’s minds.
If your business name is too long to include in the domain, try shortening it – use just the initials, or a paraphrased version of your name. Either way you need to make sure it still links directly to your business to avoid confusion.
Where are you going?
Are you planning on creating social media for your business? If you are, it’s a good idea to match your domain with your social handle. But, before making any final decisions, you should check that no one already uses that name. Go to the platform you want to use, begin the account creation process and search for your chosen handle.
Someone already has it! That’s okay, there’s ways to get around it. Adding ‘official’ to the beginning or end of your handle is an easy place to start. If that’s also taken, try adding a number, but something simple. Don’t add too many variations that move away from your domain or don’t relate to your site. You still want visitors to know you’re the same business. If there’s no option for adding variation, you may have to rethink your domain name slightly.
Just because your handle has a number in it, doesn’t mean your domain should. By all means add a number to your Instagram username to make it usable, but adding numbers to your actual domain can create confusion. Are the numbers spelt out or digits? It’s something you should avoid unless you’re planning on registering multiple domain variations with both digits and words.
Check the history
A month into your business venture and you find out someone else has your domain too, and they created it first! This person isn’t happy and thinks you copied them – nightmare! The best way to prevent this is to check the history of your domain as soon as you decide on it. Trademark issues can be annoying to deal with, so do your homework first.
It’s also important to check the history, as your domain could’ve had a previous home. Search engine rankings can be skewed if your domain’s already been around the block, so make sure you research it thoroughly.
Choose a TLD
If you’re new to the domain game, you may be wondering what a TLD is. TLD stands for top level domain and is usually found at the end of a URL. For example, ‘.com’ and ‘.co.uk’ are both TLDs.
There’s also country-code TLDs (ccTLD) which make a URL specific to a particular country. So, if your website is just for residents of France, you could use the ccTLD ‘.fr’. Or, if you’re particularly proud of your region, why not use something like ‘.london’?
Deciding which TLD to use will benefit your website massively and is something you might not think of first when looking at domains. You can pick something that relates to the products you sell, or the services you provide, like ‘.coffee’. This all adds to your memorability and standing out from others. How much better does ‘bakesbybelle.cake’ sound than ‘bakingcakes.com’?
However, if you’re unsure where to begin and just want to get your site up and running, going with one of the well-known generic TLDs is a good place to start. Visitors are much more familiar with those than new TLDs like ‘.photography’.
When you choose your domain name, it might be good to register multiple domains. Many sites snap up domains that are similar to theirs, with small differences, like typos or misspellings. They do this to protect their sites from typosquatting, which is when other sites take advantage of a typo visitors enter into a search engine. This can lead to these sites stealing traffic and customers from your site. Think of any common misspellings of your domain and register those. That way you’re covered if someone accidentally types the wrong thing, they’ll still find you.
You did it!
With so much competition, all wanting to make it to the top spot, register your domain name quickly so you don’t lose out. It would be so annoying if you took the time to decide on a name, only to find it’s gone. As soon as you’ve made the decision and done your research, register!
Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list of everything you need to do to find your perfect domain name, but this hopefully gives you a jumping off point. As your business grows and more attention comes your way, you’ll be glad you started with a memorable, snappy domain that keeps bringing customers to your site.
Business success all starts with a name, so be memorable, be snappy and do your homework. And you’re all set!
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