Getting a website is an important step for any business. But before you start thinking about design, search engine optimization, or navigation; you will need to have a domain name. It can seem like an afterthought, but a bad domain name can sabotage an otherwise smooth website plan. Today I’ll address the question head-on: how do you choose a domain name?
Bad domain names can be embarrassing or, even worse, end up costing you your business. That might sound extreme – and it probably won’t happen to you – but that doesn’t mean you should treat your domain name selection lightly.
Don’t get too hung up on your domain name but consider these six tips when you are choosing a domain name for your business.
1. Branded vs. Generic
For years, businesses used generic domain names in the hope that industry keywords would boost their search visibility. But when you are shopping for a book do you to book.com? No. You go to amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com. (But, book.com is owned by and redirects to Barnes and Noble – more on that in tip number 6 below)
Instead of going after a generic keyword, make your domain branded according to your business. For us, that’s fusiongroupusa.com. If you can’t get an exact brand match, you can still go for something that is clearly related to your brand image.
2. Make Sure It’s Available
Before we get too far into picking the perfect domain name, you should make sure what you want is available. There are few things worse than finding the perfect name and then finding out from your web design agency that it isn’t available.
You can avoid that pain by running your ideas through an availability checker as you are brainstorming. This will help you avoid the pain of getting your great idea rejected.
3. Keep It Simple
If your business’ name is Acme Widget Manufacturing Group of Eastern Idaho, then you probably shouldn’t go with acmewidgetmanufacturinggroupofeasternid.com for your URL. At this point, we’re talking about a balancing act between branded domain names and the need for simplicity.
Make your domain name something that will stick in people’s mind. Think about some of the biggest websites in the world: Google, Amazon, Facebook, eBay. What do they all have in common? They are short, simple, and branded. Don’t be afraid of following in their path.
4. Avoid Confusion
Sometimes what makes perfect sense to you comes across as confusing (or even inappropriate) to other people. The internet is full of examples, but a few of my favorites:
- Speed of Art (speedofart.com)
- Teachers Talking (teacherstalking.com)
- Go Tahoe (gotahoe.com)
You get the idea. Before registering your domain name, give it to five or six people and ask what they think of your domain name. If they giggle and laugh, it’s back to the drawing board.
5. Dot Com FTW
When it comes to choosing a domain name, you’ll also have to select your TLD (top level domain). The most common are .com, .net, and .org – but there are hundreds of options out there. So, which should you choose? For the majority of businesses, the answer is .com. It’s simple, easy to remember, and what people expect.
There are times when going with .org or .io makes sense, so don’t take this as a hard and fast rule. But just know that there will some inevitable confusion when people add a .com to your domain name.
6. Consider Alternatives
Remember back in tip number one, when I talked about Barnes and Noble owning book.com? It’s a good plan and something your business should probably consider as well. Domain names are generally pretty cheap, so it won’t break the bank to pick up a few extra that redirect to your website. Consider looking into the following:
- Common misspellings
- TLD variations (.net, .me, .io, etc.)
- Industry keywords
- Other names you do business under
For many domains, even a single paying customer can offset the cost of buying a few extra domain names – so consider it for your business.
Custom Websites, Branding, and You
Because Fusion Group USA is a fully integrated marketing and advertising agency, we can help you through the entire process of setting up your digital presence. From choosing a domain name to website development and SEO, we understand the needs of modern business and specialize in meeting those needs with creative solutions.
Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you!
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