Choosing a domain name
– Having the right domain name is essential. Your domain name is how visitors find your website. It appears on your print materials, and it’s shared both online and offline as your brand recognition increases. A poorly chosen domain name will have a widespread negative impact on your online and offline efforts. Now, a good domain name is relevant, memorable, and usable. Let’s talk about being relevant. Your domain name should be relevant to your business.Typically, it’ll be your business name, but in some situations, it can be a bit more broad.
If your business name is too long, you may need to creatively shorten it while still remaining on brand, so for example, let’s say our business name is Santa Barbara Golf Course. Well, we might wanna choose the domain name sbgolf.com. On the other side, if for example your business I called Brad’s Automotive, I could buy the domain bradsauto.com, but santabarbaraauto.com is probably not helpful. Here, I’m likely just trying to make a play for SEO value, since the auto dealership would be in Santa Barbara, but SEO doesn’t really work that way these days, and we’ll go plenty deeper on that later in this course.
The more relevant your domain name, the better, even for SEO, so stick with what makes senseto your target market. Next, make it memorable. You’ll do that by keeping it short, using simple terms, and by selecting the most common top-level domain, or TLD, and when I talk about TLDs, I’m referring to .com, .net, .org, and so on. Today, .com is still king, and most people instinctually type .com even if you’re listed as .net or .org, so it’s ideal to have .com.
If you chose, for example, sbgolf.net, your competitor might be at sbgolf.com, and you’ll be helping drive traffic to their site when your visitor can’t remember that right TLD. And that said, plenty of brands are adopting less common TLDs such as .io. So if your target market or your industry is primarily using a TLD that’s more relevant to them than .com, well, don’t be afraid to use that as well, and some countries also have specific TLDs such as .mx or .co.uk. Use the one that is most widespread in your region.
Now, if you have a difficult to spell or pronounce business name, you’ll end up with a less than memorable domain name. Instead, you wanna try an alternative domain name that still maintains the feel of your brand. And finally, the domain should be usable. If you’re adding in hyphens or leveraging prefixes other than www, you might be hampering a visitor’s ability to arrive at your website. You also need to be sure it’ll fit nicely into any advertisements and that it’s easy to read. If you’re putting two words together and the same characters are next to each other, consider the fact the user might drop one of the letters.
For example, doggroomersb.com has two Gs next to it, so some users might type D-O-G roomer.com, and so you’re going to wanna be sure that you buy that domain name as well and redirect it to the correct location. The best domain names are short and free of special characters. After you select your domain name, I recommend buying multiple variations to prevent others from registering them. Also, if you’re using a number in your domain, it’s not a bad idea to buy the version with the number spelled out to avoid any complications when you share a domain name through word of mouth.
Now, if your domain name is unavailable, well, it might be worth contacting the current ownerto inquire about the cost of purchasing it. If you do so, try to use an email address that isn’t associated with the business that you’re running. Sellers are inclined to increase their price if they know what you intend to do with the domain name, and if you can’t find their contact information on their website, you can try to identify them by running what’s called a WHOIS search. This will query the registered owner, and you can find the tools to do this at whois.net.
Now, it’s hard to change a domain name once you’ve gotten your marketing underway, so evaluate your options and make the best choice for your business.