Your website is one of the most critical components to your company’s success online, so ensuring it contains all the right elements is vital. Your domain name is a key aspect of a great website since it is the gateway to your online business and is a customer’s first online impression. Therefore, selecting a domain name for your website shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Conduct an initial brainstorm session
It is crucial to understand the significance of the domain name you select. Take some time to initially brainstorm your business goals, and start thinking of terms and phrases you want to look into.
Do your research, while keeping your business in mind
Perform keyword research around your business to see what terms people are likely to look into based around the service or product your business offers. Selecting the right keywords is crucial in yielding traffic to your website. Identify the most valuable and popular terms that are searched, and consider using a term or phrase in your domain. This way when users type in that phrase or term, your website may appear more often in the search pages, helping to drive traffic to your website. You’ll want to balance against branding needs, though; having a too-long domain or confusing domain can affect its likelihood to get clicked.
Determine your target audience
Who will be visiting your website? Research your target audience and create a domain name that matches the goal of your audience and will appeal to them. For example, if you are targeting a specific location, add the state abbreviation or region in the domain.
Understand the value of a good domain name
A basic necessity in creating a website is buying a domain name. But how much should you pay for it? A quality brand name that reflects your business and will stand out from others can range from $8 to $100,000. Regardless if you’re a small business owner or operate a large corporation, you will get more value from the right domain. If you want to be found online, the perfect domain name may be well worth the cost.
At this point, you will have created a list of potential domain names for your business. Some point to keep in mind:
- Make sure that it is easy to read (avoid slang)
- Easy to type (keep character length in mind)
- Simple to say (avoid special characters)
- Easy to remember (simple yet unique)
Because there are many different extensions you can choose from, you should create a list of potential domain extensions that relate to your specific business. Most businesses prefer a .com extension since it is highly recognized; however, there are several other common extensions available such as .net and .org.
New extensions are constantly emerging, which can greatly help in your branding and marketing efforts. A distinctive domain with a focused extension will stand out and reinforce your company’s message, product and/or service online. For example, the domain extension .travel is dedicated to the travel industry. The extension .app targets the application community, and .us is an alternate domain for the United States, reinforcing your target area.
Consider your competitors’ domain names
Who wants a domain name that resembles their competitors? Research your competitors’ domain names and steer clear of any related name variations in the selection process.
Ensure your brand is protected
To keep your competitors from registering an extension that even remotely resembles yours, you should purchase various domain extensions, including misspelled versions of your domain name. In doing so, it ensures your customers are directed to your website even if they mistype the website name. (And these “backup” domain names – different extensions, misspellings – are usually inexpensive to purchase.)
Make a decision
Domain names are first come, first serve. Once your decision is made, it is in your best interest to obtain the domain name as quickly as possible, before someone else does. Additionally, some registrars sell their search histories, so try to buy your domain within 24 hours of searching (or find a registrar that provides private searching).
Be sure to keep track of all of these domain names and put aside time every year to review and renew each one.
Having the right domain name is a key factor in determining whether or not your company is a success. If managed strategically, the time, energy, and money that goes into choosing a domain name will ultimately pay for itself when your company soon starts seeing outstanding results.