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Choosing the Right Domain Name for your Business

What domain name should I have for my business? It’s usually the first question that any business will ask an agency, whether they are already established or building a new brand. It can also be one the most frustrating tasks as there are many elements that go into choosing the “right” domain for your business. So, why is a domain name so important?

 

It’s the first thing that visitors see

 

Your URL is the first thing that your visitors see, it can make a positive and lasting impression, while a bad domain name can give the wrong impression and make your website seem not legitimate and untrustworthy.

 

It affects SEO

 

While a domain name that precisely matches a search query is no longer a necessity (Eg. BuyCheapLaptopsOnline.com), keywords in your domain name can still help your SEO ranking and therefore might be preferable.

 

It defines your brand

 

A domain name is the perfect branding opportunity and can instantly increase brand recognition.

 

 

Let’s go through some key factors when choosing the correct domain for your business …

1. It’s all about the brand

A domain name that is creative and brandable will stay in the memory of visitors much longer than a domain that contains only keywords relating to the business. It also makes your business instantly stand out from your competitors. For example, would you be able to tell the difference between FastRestaurantTakeaway.co.uk, FastFoodDelivery.co.uk and FoodToTakeaway.com? Probably not! These are horribly generic and have no real meaning. But as soon as we mention fast restaurant delivery service Deliveroo.com you’d know exactly what we were talking about as they are a brand that visitors immediately know and trust.

 

Here’s how to find a more brandable domain name:

 

Create a new word

 

Make up something that is completely unique. Think Google, Bing and Yahoo.

 

Use existing words

 

Search a thesaurus to find existing alternative words that fit your brand.

 

Use a domain name generator

 

Starting with a single keyword you can use a generator to give you hundreds of available domain ideas. A good example is Wordoid which is a tool that allows you to plug in a word, and it will come up with ideas that either contain that word, begin with that word, or end with that word. Great when you want something really unique. It also shows you what domains are available or are already taken.

 

2. Make sure it’s concise, easy to type and pronounce

 

The best domains are short, simple to spell and effortless to type in on your keyboard or tap on your mobile phones. Keep it short and sweet.

 

There is nothing worse than a domain like supercalifragilisticexpialidotious.com that time, dedication and a high degree of Mary Poppins knowledge is needed for you to type it in correctly.

 

Some of the largest website giants such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Yahoo are so simple that it’s near impossible to get them wrong! If someone needed to explain twice about how you spell a domain name then you need to think again about whether it is the right name for your business. The last thing you would want is for potential visitors to mistype your domain and end up on a different website or even worse a competitors website!

 

Before purchasing a domain we would advise you to tell close friends and family your potential domain name and then ask them to spell it. If more than a few people struggle to spell it, then you need to simplify it or have a bit of a rethink.

A website domain should be as easy to pronounce as it is to type. It should just roll off the tip off your tongue, making it easy for visitors to share your domain by word of mouth. You want your domain name to be passed along easily by you and others. And the only way for that to be possible is if it’s easy to spell and easy to pronounce.

 

3. Avoid Hyphens and Numbers

 

Like the above, simplicity is key. You don’t want potential visitors scrambling around their keyboard looking for the hyphen, nor would you want to them to get confused about whether your website address is projectone.com or project1.com (Unless both are available to purchase at the same time)

We recommend avoiding anything that could be confusing to potential visitors. Your domain name should be smooth and punchy, and hyphens and numbers get in the way of that so avoid them if you can!

 

4. Try and include keywords

Keywords can help improve your SEO and search ranking, that said you don’t want the domain to come across as generic words relating to your business (As we’ve already mentioned).

Keywords can also be handy if the domain you are looking for is not available as adding a simple keyword to your brand name, for example, the word “clothing” for a fashion label increases your chances of purchasing a relevant domain name.

keywordtool.io is an excellent search tool to find keywords that are relevant.

 

5. Think about the Bigger Picture

Are you ready to spend the rest of your life with your domain? You should be, because it will be one of the biggest elements that defines your business and brand for years. Plus, if you decide to change the domain in the future, it will cost you money, branding, and SEO rankings. In short, it’s a huge pain. So, when you choose your domain, think long-term.

 

This includes your location. For example, if you are a restaurant situated in a certain town, but you have intentions for it to expand into different areas, then don’t include the name of the town in the domain as it may become irrelevant in the future. Nor choose a country code domain eg .co.uk when you have intentions of expanding overseas. Keep your long-term vision in mind when picking your domain name.

 

6. Check Availability on Social Media Sites and Trademarks

 

Before moving forward with a specific domain name, check to see if the name is available on social media sites, as well as if there are any trademarks already registered to the name. To build your brand, it’s ideal to have the same name across your domain and social networks. This builds familiarity and makes it easy for your visitors, followers and customers to find you around the web. And to avoid legal issues, you should stay away from names that already have trademarks.

 

So, how can you quickly check social networks and trademarks for your potential domain name? It’s quite easy with a tool like Knowem. Search your potential domain name there, and it’ll show you if it’s available throughout over 25 popular social networks, and also if there are any trademarks already registered to the name. If it’s taken, consider tweaking it so that you can create original social media profiles.

 

7. Use the Right Domain Name Extension

 

When you choose your domain name extension, you can be sure of one thing: “.com” is still the most preferable. The simple reason for this is that it is the most familiar and easy to remember.

 

.co.uk is suitable for companies who are UK based and don’t have long term plans to go into the worldwide market. We would always recommend seeing if the .com and .co.uk addresses are available and if possible purchase both so that you can automatically redirect visitors from your .co.uk address to your .com address. If you are non profit organisation .org would be suitable, but don’t use .org if you are a business as this doesn’t tend to sit well.

 

Whilst they might be more readily available, avoid domains such as .pizza, .buzz and .ninja as most businesses do not use them as they don’t rank highly for SEO and therefore they don’t have much appeal.

 

Conclusion

Your domain name will have a significant impact on the success and potential of your website. So, make sure to put some careful thought in when choosing yours. And don’t wait around, as they get snapped up quickly, so see them as a long term investment even if you don’t have a use for them immediately.

 

Andrew K

A multidisciplinary designer specialising in E-commerce and UX who loves every stage of the online design process.

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