If you’re planning to launch a website for your business, you probably already know that the process will involve countless decisions and tasks that will need to be completed.
However, before you can even get started, you’ll need to pick a domain name. And that’s where a lot of business owners end up getting stuck.
Many business publications advise to focus on brand recognition and awareness for succeeding online, but without a catchy domain name, that can be a challenge.
The good news is that even though the process is not easy, there are things you can do to break down the choice into actionable steps that will seem less overwhelming.
Read on below, and we’ll share some of the most useful tips for choosing a domain name that will not only complement your brand but might even become its central part.
#1 Use Trusted Extensions
Although some experts are promoting the idea of using unconventional extensions for your domain names, the fact is that traditional .com extension remains the standard that most people are used to.
So, while you should explore ideas for unique branding opportunities with extensions like .tech, .biz, or even .money, these will remain novelties that will make people hesitant until they know and trust the website.
When building a new brand, you want your audience to be able to trust you from the very first interaction. For instance, when someone stumbles upon a link to your site on another website or social media, they shouldn’t be concerned about whether your site is legitimate. Unfortunately, since many scam sites use newer and cheaper extensions that are available to impersonate legitimate websites, you will face an uphill battle trying to earn trust.
Now, it’s true that .com domains are already quite saturated, which means that you might be forced to think outside the box when coming up with a domain name.
However, if you already have a brand name and all similar variations are taken, you will either have to consider rebranding, using a related domain name or opt for one of the less popular extensions that are slowly becoming more familiar.
Sure, .com domains can be a bit more expensive, but there are plenty of cheap domain name websites that offer great deals. There’s an almost infinite number of word combinations that you could explore, so if you take the time, you will most probably find a domain name that suits your brand well and is available.
Once you make a choice that represents your brand, you can trademark your domain name and ensure that it will be protected from others using it.
#2 Keep It Short
If you’d look at some of the most popular websites today, you’d probably notice a trend – most of them have domain names that are short, catchy, and memorable.
Google.com, Amazon.com, Facebook.com, Twitter.com all have short and snappy names that have become a central part of their brands.
As you can imagine, if Google’s domain was Googleonlinesearchquery.com, it wouldn’t have become the company that it is today. So, while the length of a domain isn’t a hard rule, you should aim to use as few words as possible and pack a lot into a short phrase, if possible.
Now, that doesn’t mean that you have to come up with a unique word that’s never been used to register a domain. That might prove to be difficult (although many companies are still able to find a way, even today).
But you should not use more than two or three words, and make sure that they are easy to type and remember.
One of the worst things that could happen for your online brand is if people keep misspelling your domain name and ending up on a totally different site, or think that your website doesn’t exist.
And if you choose a name that’s too similar to an established company, that will likely haunt you for years to come, as people will keep confusing your company with the larger brand, even if you operate in different markets.
Once you have a name picked out, you will likely spend years building the domain authority and trying to rank on Google, which is why you need to make your choice count so that you can avoid having to change the domain a few years down the line.
#3 Make It SEO Friendly
When you’re choosing a domain name, you’re not only establishing an online brand for your customers but are also telling Google what your website is about.
Although a domain name isn’t the primary thing that Google looks at when ranking websites, having a keyword that tells what your business is about in your domain name can provide a significant boost to your efforts and might even give you an edge over some of your competitors.
If you’re a small business, every single edge you can get is worth it. So, in addition to using website builders for small business ventures that will help make your site SEO friendly, you should also consider how seemingly simple details like a primary keyword in the name could make a difference as well.
What’s more, instead of having a generic name that won’t be familiar to your audiences until you’re a well-established brand, having a recognizable and associative domain name can help people understand what your business is about in an instant. And in some instances, that could become the difference between going with your company or with someone else.
#4 Purchase Additional Extensions
One of the most common mistakes novice business owners make is buying a single domain and thinking that it will be enough to represent them online.
Sure, they might only need the main .com domain extension to set up the website. But if you don’t buy at least the most common extensions for your domain name, anyone can come in and buy them, which will directly impact your brand awareness and even your brand perception.
Domain names generally are quite affordable, so if you manage to find a name that’s catchy, relevant, and in-line with your overall brand, don’t risk having to change it later on just because a site with a bad reputation happened to buy a different extension with the same name.
You could even consider buying a few variations of common misspellings of your domain, as that will provide an additional layer of protection and help you redirect leads that would otherwise be likely to be lost forever.
As your website expands and you start attracting a more international audience, it might even make sense to have domain names with different country extensions, especially if you might be using multiple languages at some point in the future.