Choosing a domain name is an important step to begin any online enterprise.
URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator, but nobody calls it that. People will call a URL a website address, or just simply put, a website.
In order to have a website, you need a URL, and in order to have a URL, you need a domain.
The domain is the portion of the URL (website address) that comes after the subdomain (WWW) but before the top-level domain (.com).
For example, our URL is www.webequitywomen.com, making our domain name webequitywomen. Your domain name should be the same as (or very close to) the name of your content focus, product, or service. Also, choose the top-level domain .com, as it is the most common and will be the top-level domain your readers will assume when typing in your website address.
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How to Choose a Domain Name
As we said above, you will want to choose a domain that is closely related, if not identical to, your business name, but there are also some other important factors to remember when choosing a domain.
1. Less is More
Try to keep your domain short and sweet. No one wants to try to remember supercalifragilisticexpialidocious when typing a URL. At the same time, you don’t want to try to spell this domain out to an inquiring reader. A domain that is easy to spell and easy to remember means readers will be able to easily tell others about your site. This is your chance to make a brandable domain.
2. Use Correct Spelling
This shouldn’t even be a thing, but it is. The last thing you want to do is register an incorrectly spelled domain, and then have to tell others what your domain is. This leads to a lot of embarrassment for you and the reader. (Secondhand embarrassment is a thing. Don’t do that to people.)
Further, the reader may inadvertently correct the spelling of your domain when giving it to someone else, leading the new reader to a website that is not yours. Don’t let this happen to you. Use correct spelling.
3. Keep it Family-Friendly
If your domain name can be misinterpreted as anything less than PG, you may want to consider a different name; especially if you or someone is saying your domain name out loud. The last thing you want for your site is to have a negative connotation associated with it due to the domain name.
For example, if your name is Anita Mann and you want to create the anitamann domain, you might want to consider how this sounds when it is spoken. “Anita Mann” in a visual context sounds a whole lot different than “I need a man” in an audible context. While “I need a man” is not explicit, there are other names or combinations that can sound more offensive than they really are, so it is important to keep this in mind when choosing a domain name!
4. Don’t Put Limits
While your site may currently specialize in one area, there is always the chance it could grow or evolve into something else. Let’s say your niche is beauty, and you currently specialize in eyebrows, so you have created an online business that specializes in tips, tricks, and products about eyebrows. You have chosen the domain eyebrowsbyjess. That sounds good, right?
But what if you later branch your site content to include all types of makeup, hair products and skin products. You now need a new domain to let readers know that you are an expert in more areas than just eyebrows.
Instead, create a domain that broadly covers all areas of your niche. In this case, choosing beautybyjess would cover any direction your beauty website chooses to go.
5. Use a Slogan
Understandably, there are a lot of domains out there, so finding the perfect available domain might take a few tries. If you are unable to create a domain that encompasses your business name, think outside the box while keeping it realistic. Will your business have a slogan or phrase that is related to the niche? Try using a slogan or phrase as the domain, rather than the business name itself.
Did you know that www.justdoit.com is owned by Nike and redirects users to Nike’s website? Businesses like Nike know that a well-known slogan resonates with users and may be the only thing a user remembers when typing in a URL. This is also good brand recognition which will attract potential customers.
6. Search Availability on Social Media Sites
Social media is here to stay and is a powerful search engine in and of itself. There is a chance readers may find your content on social media before they find your website. Alternatively, a reader who finds your website from an online search may want to follow you on social media.
Having a website URL completely unrelated to the name of your social media accounts can be confusing for readers and unmarketable for your brand. Make sure that your social media handles, your brand and your website align.
Keywords are essential when growing your online business. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an entire topic for another day, but we will touch on them for just a minute with how they can relate to your domain name.
Search engines, like Google, exist because users want to quickly find a website relating to a particular topic. You can optimize search engine results by including a key word or two in your domain name. This will ensure that there are more visitors and traffic that is directed to your site.
Choosing the Best Domain Name-Recap
- Choosing a domain is an important step in creating your online business.
- Your domain will tell users what your website is about, so it needs to relate to your niche. Branding can begin right from the domain name.
- Your website will be shared among readers, so it is important for the website to be easy to speak, spell, and type.
- Try to refrain from using hyphens or adding characters that are unnecessary.
- Make sure to spell your domain correct when you register it.
- Search your domain name on different social media platforms to see if it is available before your register your domain.
- And finally, try to incorporate a keyword or two in your domain name. This will help your website to show up on the first page of search results.