What to Consider When Deciding On a Domain Name For Your Small Business Website
By James Cummings ; June 20th, 2017

The domain name you choose for your website is as equally as important as your business name. Your domain name is the face of brand in the digital space, which has become such an integral part of the life of the average consumer.

Another reason your domain name is strategic is that it affects your SEO rankings, and consequently traffic flow and profit potentials. 

Google and other top search engines use special analytic web tools to determine the business focus of your website, so they can list it in the right searches. To figure out what your site is about, Google will first analyse your domain name. Therefore, you must be deliberate, calculated and creative when creating a domain name for your small business website. It's important to help your potential clients locate you efficiently, and in order to do so, use a domain name that has all the appropriate keywords. You should only proceed to the web builder stage when you have chosen a domain name that ticks all the right boxes for your brand.

Here are smart ways to undergo this process, especially if you're operating a small business.

Make it specific

The more specific you are with your domain name, the easier it is for potential customers to find you online. It also increases the chances of registration availability that your chosen name will be.

Let's say you run a plumbing business called Ralph Plumbing in Orewa in Auckland, New Zealand. How can you successfully explore the keywords and add an element of locality?

Plumbing.com or Plumber.com will be too broad, and very likely to be unavailable. How about AucklandPlumber.com? Still too broad. And Orewaplumber.com? That's better, but not specific enough.

A good idea will be to use RalphPlumberOrewa.com. One, it's specific about what sort of business you run. Two, it's more memorable, and will get a higher ranking for local searches. Three, it's very likely to be available with the preferred .com domain name extension.

Make it simple and unique

Your website is a marketing tool to establish your business' brand and credibility. So, invest time and resources to create a powerful and attractive site by communicating sophistication in simplicity.

Your domain name is the first thing web users and potential clients will see before they visit your website or really find out what you offer. So, create a good first impression with a domain name that is simple and easy to spell and remember.

Make it relevant

Earlier, I talked about making your domain name specific. Being specific demands that your selected domain name should be relevant to the business and other keywords associated with your brand.

Therefore, if your small business is about plumbing for example, your domain name should have ‘plumbing' or ‘plumber' somewhere in the name. Adding the brand name and location are other ways to achieve relevance, but be careful not to make it too complex.

Generally, the more specific your domain name is, the more relevant it appears online and to search engines. Bigger brands such as Google may get away with an unusual name that's not tied to what they do. But as small business you can easily get lost in the crowd if you try to get too broad and stylish with your domain name.

Make it memorable

Small businesses are essentially location-focused enterprises, and when trying to build local brands, it's important to be memorable.

Being memorable with your domain name makes it easier for clients to recommend your business by word of mouth, which is a marketing essential for start-ups. A memorable domain name is easy to talk about.

Make it short

As a general principle with domain names, the shorter and easier to remember, the better it looks.

Having said that, don't take shorter domain names as a hard and fast rule. It should just be preference for you, without compromising the principles of logic and relevance.

For example, RalphPlumbing.com is better than RalphPlumbingCompany.com, but RPlumbOR.com isn't better than RalphPlumbing.com, even though it's shorter.

Make .com your first choice

You've likely been told .com is the most recognizable and valuable domain name extension. And this is true, regardless of the many stylish-looking extensions that have been released.

Another important strategy you should adopt when registering your domain name with a .com TLD is to try to also register your chosen domain name with other major TLDs like .net and .org. Then redirect these websites to your .com website. (They're not too expensive. You could buy them for as low as $10 a year).

If you can't find your preferred domain name available with a .com TLD, try making your domain name registration with .net or .org, or your country-specific TLD, such as .co.uk for a local UK business or .nz domain names for a startup based in New Zealand.

Overall,  it's better to get a little more creative with your domain name adjustment using the principles I've suggested here, and then trying again with a .com. As I pointed out earlier, the more specific, unique and localised your domain name is, the more likely it will be available with a .com TLD. 

About author

James is a business psychologist and serial entrepreneur, with over a decade working in finance, IT, marketing and recruitment sectors. He has authored numerous books in the management space and is Founder and CEO of www.dailyposts.co.uk.

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