Your domain is like the front door to your business. While the true determiner of success goes beyond just the front door, you can easily cost yourself a chance at it if you don’t make the right first impression. Plus, your domain name can impact your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, both positively and negatively, so it’s something to definitely pay attention to.
But with so many millions (or maybe billions or trillions) of potential domain names out there, how do you know you are choosing the right one. How much should it cost? Should you use .com, .net., .info?
There is no one answer, and, like we said, it’s how you do business that will really make the difference. But securing the right domain name for your next digital venture will help give you a leg up and also may help you further develop other key areas of your business.
Here are some tips for getting the perfect domain name:
Start from scratch or buy an existing domain?
Say your business name is Marketing Experts (not very original, I know, but it’s just an example.) The ideal domain name would be marketingexperts.com, right? Well, there is a pretty decent chance that name is already taken.
Sometimes if the domain isn’t being actively used, you can buy it off the current owner for cheap. However, if it is being used, there is a pretty good chance you won’t be able to take it off the current owner’s hands, unless you are willing to engage in a valuation of the business, offering to buy the whole enterprise. There may be a time when this makes sense for you, but if all you want is the domain name, consider alternate routes.
If the exact name of your business is taken, it might end up being a smarter move to just look for an acceptable alternative. In this example, maybe you can find themarketingexperts.com or theexpertsofmarketing.com. Look around a bit a test out different options to find something that works.
Find something brandable
This is probably the most important thing to consider when trying to secure a domain name for your digital brand. Going back to the example from above, Marketing Experts can be branded pretty easily. It conjures up images of professional research and rigorous study. You could come up with some graphic designs that match this and then produce content around it.
But something like marketingtips.com doesn’t carry the same punch. Sure, it is clear what the site is about, but how would you brand that? It’s far less clear, and anything you come up with would be pretty disconnected from your businesses image.
Branding is absolutely essential for any online business. It increases name recognition, which is what helps to separate you from the crowd and to convince people to come back and continue to do business with you.
Avoid hyphens and other punctuation
While having these in your domain name may not be a death sentence for your online venture, it certainly doesn’t help. One hyphen won’t be the end of the world, but if your domain name ends up with several, there is a chance Google may begin to index it as spam.
Also, it is harder for people to remember. A domain name should be something that sticks in your memory. If you have to think about where the hyphen goes, or where to put the dot, people will get frustrated and may ditch you for something easier.
Make it easy to spell and pronounce
This goes along the same lines as hyphens. Choose something that people can easily recognize and remember. While using a big, fancy word might make you sound more sophisticated, it will likely lose you customers.
Remember, your domain name isn’t the secret to success, but it can easily cost you big time if you don’t have the right one.
Try for .com
Back when the internet first was becoming big, it was .com or bust. Nowadays, lots of businesses and blogs use other top-level domains (TLD), such as .org, .net or .info.
While these are fine, .com is still far and away the most recognizable. People still have it in their minds that .org is associated with a non-profit organization and that .com is for businesses. This isn’t true anymore, but these TLDs haven’t been able to shake their reputation.
If you can’t get .com, but your ideal domain name is available with another TDL, you’ll probably be fine. But stick to what works whenever you can.
So, there you have it. Finding the right domain name doesn’t need to be a major task. You just need to put yourself in the customer’s shoes and figure out what makes the most sense. If you do that and follow these steps, you’ll be on your way to finding a domain name that will help make your next digital venture a success.