An overwhelming majority of shoppers, b2b and b2c start their journey with a search. That means your online presence is critical. But before we even get to creating websites that sell, how do we choose the most critical part of this who process, a domain name? Here’s a quick checklist to run through and help answer the question: How to choose a domain name for my business.
Domain value is more than how people get to you
A domain name is more than the gate way through the internet by which users find your website. A domain name plays three critical functions: branding, referral and search support.
Domain as brander.
Domain names are powerful reinforcers of brand. Before you think that your brand is you company name or your logo, pause. Brand is everything you want your prospects to think and feel about your company. It’s what seperated you from the pack. Yes, in many cases it’s going to just be your brandname.com. But in today’s domain squatting world, sometimes we have to get creative, and that’s when brand steps in.
Domain as referral agent.
The domain name is a powerful tool to aid word of mouth. People talk. If your branding is powerful, people will recall elements of it, entering it directly into the browser as a domain or search it. Which leads us to
Domain as search.
When the initial domain entered in the browser fails, people start searching elements of your brand they recall. “What was that plumbers jingle again?”
Why so much riding on the domain, how do we choose one that works? Here’s the very easy guide I use with my business and clients to find domains that work and are available. I even share a few of my favorite tools to check availability.
As already laid out, the domain is a major part of your brand. When possible, opt for you company name. That’s always the easiest asset to start building value you around.
Startup? Make sure it’s available, like everywhere
If you’re in the early stages of building your organization, tools like Impossibility and Shopify’s business name generator are among the best tools for checking on domain availability and helping generate available options when you have a word or two you’d like to include.
Once you have a domain, make sure you can use the brand across major social media outlets as well. Check the domain on Know’Em.
The shorter the better
When it domains, the shorter the better. You’ll be posting on social media, sharing via printed marketing assets and asking people to recall and type it into their browsers. Be nice to them. Don’t make them remember ReallyCuteCatClothesMadeFromYarn.com.
On that note …
Make sure you can speak and spell the domain
If you’re in the business of selling cat clothes, don’t go registering ReallyCOOOTKATCLOTHZ.com Look for domains that are easy to speak and spell. This will aid in recall making it direct browser entry matches more likely and referral use of the domain for word of mouth more successful.
Don’t keyword stuff
It’s 2017. We can’t cram keywords into domains, on pages and hidden in code to trick search engines into ranking our pages higher. Further, people generally see domains like cheapglasses.com as spammy. If you’re looking to capitalize on the 33,000 searches for the term cheap glasses, you’re better off building something brandable. Afterall, WarbyParker doesn’t even have the term glasses in their domain and they’re doing pretty good.
.com when possible
There are a lot of options for the Top-Level Doman (TLD) also know as what comes after the second dot. Dot Com is by far still your best option. I’ve tried too many times to get people to understand .co .net .us and it just seems to be a lot to ask. If you can’t you can’t but always try to go with a dot com.
Make it memorable
If you can’t get your company name, think about your brand. What are you trying to accomplish, what do you want to be remembered for. Are you an app? Look for brandapp.com are you a personalized product or services look for mybrand.com there are lots of options but make sure that it’s memorable and still serving your brand.
Don’t overthink it
At the end of the day, don’t overthink it. If you’re taking weeks to come up with the domain name to support your venture, you’re losing time. I’m a firm believer in progress over perfection and the reality is that the domain name is only a piece of your digital marketing equation. What you do to build your brand, drive traffic and how well your site is built to drive leads is even more critical. If you need some help with any of this, give me a shout.