I know first hand that choosing a domain name (website address) for your business website can be a daunting experience.
If you’re anything like me, then I’ll hazard a guess that the following questions are probably floating around your head as they did mine;
- Should I use my business name?
- What if my business name’s already taken?
- Can I use numbers and hyphens?
- Dot com or country specific address?
It’s important to understand there’s no right or wrong answer and nothing’s set in stone.
Below are my personal views on the subject from things that I’ve learned, as well as my own experiences along the way.
Should You Use Your Business Name?
For the simple reason, your business name is your brand and you should be leaving footprints of your brand everywhere you go both online as well as offline.
A website domain that includes your business name is a valuable asset so be sure to snap it up whilst you can.
This is what’s known as a “brandable” domain. E.g. Petesplumbing.com. That’s assuming your name’s Pete of course!
What if Your Business Name’s Already Taken?
It’s a disappointing feeling when you think of that perfect domain, head over to your domain registrar, type it in getting ready to hit the “buy now” button only to find it’s been taken.
More so if it’s your actual business name.
In this unfortunate situation, you can always go for a “keyword rich” domain.
This second option means choosing a name that’s not about branding, but more about targeting the service and area that someone may type when performing a search for a service that you offer.
A good example of a keyword rich domain is Miamiplumbingservices.com.
If only the dot com version of the domain has been taken, you may still be able to acquire it with a different extension, for example, www.yourbusinessname.org.
The .com / .org / .net extensions are what’s known as top level domains.
If the .com version is unavailable then net and org are the next two best options.
What About Country Specific Domains?
Small business owners outside of the US, have the choice of a domain name with the country suffix instead of the well know dot com.
Below is an example of three;
- .ca (Canada)
- .co.uk (UK)
- .au (Australia)
These are popular choices for local business owners as website visitors can see that you’re located in the same country which helps to build trust.
Just be sure that if you choose a country specific domain, that you don’t have any plans to do business in other countries in the future as you’ll only show up in that particular countries search engine results.
A Few Things To Avoid
- Avoid choosing a name that’s hard to read or spell.
- Avoid misspelled words as anyone typing your website address site probably won’t find you.
- Avoid using numbers such as 123, always use whole words such one, two, three.
- Avoid using hyphens or underscores.
- Avoid using existing brands in your domain, such as Google or Amazon.
When you’re deciding upon a domain name, the trick is to make it nice and simple for people to spell and remember.
Let’s say you build a website and call it “Insurance for you”.
The most obvious domain name to go for would be insuranceforyou.com.
But if you decide to add numbers or hyphens, such as Insurance4you.com, or Insurance-foryou.com then this might confuse people who are searching for your site.
The worst case scenario is another website owner decides to purchase the most obvious spelling of insuranceforyou.com, people searching for you could quite easily end up at your competitor’s site instead.
That’s bad news for you, great news for your competition.
Where I Purchase My Domains
These days, I purchase all of my domains at namecheap.com.
The price is fair, I find the layout of the site simple, easy to navigate and they aren’t a lot of annoying upsells and constant promotions that I find you get with some of the other big name registrars out there.
I’ve seen people take weeks to choose a domain name so please don’t fall into this trap.
Instead, use your business name wherever possible or something a little more descriptive such if it’s already taken such as your business niche + service area.
Over to you
I’d love to hear about the domain name you’ve chosen, or maybe you need a little advice?
If so, fire away in the comments section below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I possibly can.