Choosing a domain name is similar to choosing a company name — it requires a lot of thought and consideration. Remember there are long term implications in Google Search for your domain name so choose wisely. Your domain name is your identity on the web; you want to make sure you choose a name that not only fits your business, but is also easy to find and promote.
Follow these steps to help you pick the perfect domain name.
1. Make it easy to type
Finding a domain name that’s easy to type is very important to online success. If you use slang (u instead of you) or words with multiple spellings (express vs. xpress), it might be harder for customers to find your site and they may end up visiting a competitors site or a site unrelated to your business.
2. Keep it short
If your domain name is long and complex (Example: Landscapingexpertsofcharlottenc.com, you risk customers mistyping or misspelling it. Short and simple is going to be your best bet.
3. Use keywords
Try using keywords that describe your business and the services you offer as that will help your rank higher intitially. For example, if you’re a landscaping business, you may want to register HomeLandscaping.com or ResidentialLandscape.com.
Include the keywords that people enter when searching for your products or services. It helps improve your rank on search engines (which increases traffic) and just makes more sense to your customers.
4. Target your area
If your business is local, consider including your city or state in your domain name to make it easy for local customers to find and remember. Example: CharlotteLandscapers.com.
5. Avoid numbers or hyphens
Numbers and hyphens are often misunderstood in search or in other printed materials — people who hear your website address don’t know if you’re using a numeral (5) or it’s spelled out (five) or they misplace or forget the dash. (5Landscapers.com or Five-Landscapers.com). If you need these in your domain, register the different variations to be safe to keep away competition.
6. Be memorable
Remember you aren't the only person who does what you do in your business. There are millions of registered domain names, so having a domain that’s catchy and memorable is essential to search. Once you’ve come up with a name, share it with close friends to make sure it sounds appealing and makes sense to others.
7. Research it
Make sure the name you’ve selected isn’t trademarked, copyrighted or being used by another company. It could result in a huge legal mess that could cost you a fortune, as well as your domain!
8. Use an appropriate domain name extension
Extensions are suffixes, such as .com or .net, at the end of web addresses. These can have specific uses, so make sure to choose one that works for your business. The .com domain extension is far and away the most popular, but it can be tough to get a short and memorable .com domain name because it’s been around for so long.
A bevy of new generic top-level domains — like .photography, .nyc and .guru — offer a great opportunity to register short and highly relevant names. And here are some other top extensions and how they’re often used:
Have additional questions about selecting a domain? Are you building a website for your small business and don't know where to begin? Contact us at Banyan Creative.
Sam Casey is the Chief Creative Officer and Managing Partner at Banyan Creative.