Your domain name is one of the first things people will notice about your business. It’s a window into your company’s values, and it can either be something that sets you apart as unique or something that makes you look as bland as dull as the rest.
Which of the two would you like to accomplish? We suspect it’s the former.
This is why choosing the right domain name is so important, especially for a small business. If you want to stand out in the sea of samey, boring companies that don’t possess even half of the brilliance you bring to the table, you’ve got to pay attention and think of something creative. Let’s talk a bit more about why and how you need to do this.
A domain name gives you instant credibility
While you can certainly launch your website through a free web hosting provider, this is generally not advisable if you’re attempting to build a brand. A free web hosting provider will never let you have a completely custom domain name, and will instead attach your company name to their own domain. For example, if you were to get a free Wix account, your URL would look something like this: www.wix.com/yourcompanyname.
To any potential customer, this will just appear cheap and unprofessional. Instead of remembering your brand, people will simply remember Wix and they’ll dismiss anything you might have to offer. If you want to look more credible and have people trust that you’re a real business, then get your own domain.
A domain name helps you create your brand
A good domain name is like a storefront window – it can attract customers and get them interested in your product. If the domain matches the name of your company then it will reinforce your brand and make it more memorable to anyone who decides to visit your website.
Bear in mind that a website name has two parts: a top-level domain and a second-level domain. The top-level domain is the right-most part of the name. For example, in www.yourcompany.com, the .com is a top-level domain, and your company is a second-level domain. Of course, you won’t be limited to only .com domains for your website. You could actually get creative and buy a .me domain and open yourself up to a world of possibilities.
While it might feel like all the good .com names are taken, you will have more options at your disposal if you choose a different top-level domain.
A domain name will keep your URL steady
Maybe you decide to switch website hosts, or you organize your own in-house server. If you don’t have your own domain name, changing hosts will mean you’ll have to change your entire URL and lose a ton of traffic in the process. This will also inevitably mess up your branding because you’ll suddenly have a different name and your customers might be confused about the change.
With a personal domain name, your website will be mobile – no matter where you go, the name will come with you.
A domain name can improve your search rankings
Your domain name could potentially affect your SEO rating. If the name is related to a relevant keyword for your website, you could potentially rank higher when someone searches for that keyword. For example, if you run an auto repair shop in Chicago, a domain name like chicagoautorepair.com could help people from your area find you more easily.
However, bear in mind that most domain names of this type are already taken, and that this is slowly becoming an outdated SEO practice. Since search engines are becoming smarter each day, this kind of hack might no longer work in the future.
This makes it even harder to choose a good domain, huh? Not to worry, we’re about to give you a few tips on how to pick a good one.
How to choose a good domain name
The first thing you want to do is make sure you choose something short. An overly long domain name is hard to remember, and if people have to struggle to memorize the name, they won’t memorize your brand either. In general, keep the name shorter than 10 characters. You could also use short sentences for your brand. For example, a business that sells mugs could choose a URL like www.mugsarecool.com. While this does have 10 characters, the sentence is short, simple, and easy to remember.
The next thing you want to do is make sure your brand name passes “the phone test.” What this means is that you want to call your mom, tell her the name of your new website, and see if she can repeat it back to you on her first try. If she can’t, the name is bad. Basically, the name needs to be catchy, simple, easy to spell, and easy to say. And lastly, if you struggle to think of a good name, try browsing Thesaurus.com or Urban Dictionary to get new ideas. Trust us, it works.
The name you settle on will have a huge impact on the success of your website. Make sure to choose the right one on your first try and you’ll have an easier time building your brand and getting good traffic.