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In creating a website for your business, one of the most important decisions you may have to do at the onset is choosing the right domain name. What is a domain name? And how does it affect the traffic and profitability of your business website?

You see, your domain name is a key element of your website and plays a vital role in connecting you with your customers. It can make or break website traffic, so it’s crucial to choose a domain name that works for you.

What is a domain name?

The domain name is the set of characters that represent the address of your business website. It’s what people type in their browser URL bar to visit your website.

To register for a domain name, you would need to purchase it from a domain registrar. These are the companies accredited by Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) which is the organization responsible for managing domain names.

Among the best domain name registrars are domain.com, GoDaddy, and Bluehost. You can also register your domain name through your Content Management System like WordPress, or even through Google Domains.

While internet users can easily do a Google search for your website, a strong domain name is still part of any sound Digital Marketing strategy. It helps your brand build credibility as this is closely linked to your identity on the internet. Business.com even goes further, defining domain names as online real estate.

That said, it’s essential that you select the right domain name for your business website.

How to choose a domain name

Domain Name Characteristics

Graphic by Moz

Choosing the right domain name may sound like a pretty straightforward decision, but with its impact on your business website, here are some things you should take into consideration:

1. Do your domain name research

Whether you already have a domain name in mind or not, it’s important to know what names are already taken. This can be done through a simple online search, but we recommend a thorough competitor analysis if possible. 

In choosing a domain name for your business website, you have to ensure that the name is not trademarked, copyrighted or being used by another company.

The wrong choices could lead not just to marketing  and technical problems, but even  legal headaches.

2. Create a domain name from your keywords

In his article for Forbes, Denis Pinsky explains that using keywords on your domain name can help in your digital marketing strategy. However, he cautions against bending over backwards to make this work since it no longer carries the same SEO benefit from before.

He further illustrates that between SportsDirect.com, or BuyMensSportShoes.com, one option can sound more trustworthy and professional.

Select a minimum of five words or phrases that describe the key topic of your business website. Write them down, then find a combination of these words to create possible domain names.

3. Choose a domain name that is easy to remember (and type!)

While it can be tempting to use slang (u instead of you) or words with multiple spellings (express vs. xpress), it might be more difficult for customers to remember.

Pinsky also suggests that domain names should be pronounceable, as this allows for processing fluency.  Names that don’t require a person to think too hard have the tendency to be remembered easily.

Keep in mind also, that numbers and hyphens can be misunderstood. With the option to spell out or type the actual digit (5 vs. five, for example), users may easily key in the wrong option.

In the same way, misplacing or forgetting the dash can also be a source of misdirects or missed opportunities to land on your site.

4. Generic vs. a country-based domain

In essence, you have two choices: Generic top-level domains (gTLDs) and Country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs).

Generic top-level domains were created for websites related to particular categories. There are six original gTLDs, and you may have already encountered them all: .com, .net, .org, .gov, .edu and .mil.

On the other hand, country-code top-level domains were established for websites related to particular countries. Examples of these include .uk (United Kingdom), .br (Brazil), .ro (Romania), and .cn (China).

Red Pin Over A Map Of Australia

Photo by Joey Csunyo on Unsplash

To know whether you should go with the first or second option depends mainly on the audience you are targeting for your business website.

For local customers, country-specific domain extensions are always good for businesses. It increases the confidence levels of your website’s visitors, especially when they come from the country of the TLD. In addition, search engines give preferences to country-specific domain names when local users are searching for results.

However, if you are planning to expand your business reach internationally, it’s best to register for a generic Top-Level Domain.

Note also that ‘.com’ is by far the most popular TLD out there. As of July 2020, W3Techs reports that it accounts for 50.9% of all the websites.

And that is no surprise, as people are more familiar with the .com domain extension. As an internet user yourself, you may have also defaulted to a .com domain at an instance when you were unsure of the name of a particular website.

5. Should you use a subdomain?

A subdomain is an additional part of your main domain name.

These are prefixes added before your domain name and are created primarily for your users to easily navigate to different sections of your business website. It’s a great way to organize your site, especially if you have content that is distinct from the rest of the site.

For example, Bluehost has set their blog to be accessible via blog.bluehost.com, while their webmail can be accessed through mail.buehost.com.

Subdomains are great for separating support pages, blogs, ecommerce stores, or when you are still redesigning your site. One downside to this is the URL might appear long, depending on the length of the main domain name and that of your subdomain.

6. Beware of trends in domain names

Ideally, you would want to use your domain name for a long time.

Your domain name will form part of your brand’s online identity. So make sure you stick with a classic name that will withstand the test of time instead of being tied down to a trend or fad.

7. Protect your brand

GoDaddy suggests purchasing various domain extensions, as well as misspelled versions of your domain name in order to protect your brand. 

This can be a good digital marketing strategy because doing so will prevent competitors from registering other versions of the domain name. And equally important, it ensures your customers are directed to your website, even if they misspell it.

Conclusion

Your business website is one of the optimal locations where you showcase your brand’s products and services.

Before executing your social media plans through scheduling apps  or planning your Facebook and Instagram posts, you should make sure that your business website is primed to receive visitors.

That’s why choosing your domain name is a major decision when creating a website for your business. In order to know how to choose a domain name, consider the points above, then select the best domain name registrar for your business website.

For your Digital Marketing needs, we at The Optimizr will be happy to work with you. Get in touch with us today.

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