I am sure you’d agree…
that in the digital era,
a domain name has immense value.
Otherwise, the domain name cars.com wouldn’t be worth over $822 million.
And which was the first registered domain (.com) in the world?
Want to know a crazy long domain name?
Yes, that’s actually a domain name.
Definitely not a perfect domain name for digital marketing!
What if I say that the brains behind Google, Larry Page, and Sean Anderson, wanted to name the business “Googol” and not “Google”?
And then we have this dude called Mike Mann
who registered 14,962 domains in 24 hours!
Alright, enough fun!
Let’s get down to some business.
How to choose a domain name for your business, website, or blog?
We will get to that in a bit.
But, before that…
What should you know before you register a domain name?
What’s a domain name?
But let’s define anyways.
Simply put, a domain name is the name of your website.
Example, our domain name is www.omnidigit.com
A domain name is an address where Internet users can access your website.
It is used for finding and identifying computers on the Internet.
Computers use IP addresses, which are a series of numbers.
However, it is difficult for humans to remember strings of numbers.
Because of this, domain names were developed and used to identify entities on the Internet rather than using IP addresses.
So what’s a website and a URL?
A website is a set of pages (webpages) that a user sees when they type in your domain name on the browser.
The URL is the address a user types/clicks to access your domain and visit your website.
URL is short for Uniform Resource Locator.
Some people still use the term “web address” for that.
A domain name can be any combination of letters and numbers, and it can be used in combination of the various domain name extensions, such as .com, .net and more.
I am sure you would agree…
that a domain name is important for your business.
In fact, I recently came across an entrepreneur,
who had to shell out $5,000 for a harmless mistake.
What’s the connection between choosing a domain name for your business and the $5k incident?
Keep reading and I promise I will disclose that.
And for those who do not agree with the importance of domain names…..
here are some logical reasons:
I have always maintained that a website is your online identity.
In real life, we have a visiting card that has all our info.
Come online, and the website does the same job for you.
There are millions of crappy websites out there.
A vast majority of them are those get-rich-quick-scheme sites.
How do you separate your business from them?
By having a unique, relevant domain name.
A website promotes your business 24/7.
No employee can do that!
Having a unique domain name makes your brand visible online.
Think of a domain name as an online storefront window.
It will attract customers and even window shoppers.
I understand that not every business sells products or services online.
Then why should you even bother having a domain name?
Short answer- Reputation.
Your online clout goes a long way.
It helps build trust.
When users can find you online, their trust in you goes up.
Would you do business with a company that does not have a good online reputation?
Search Engine Ranking
You need some Google loving to attract traffic online.
And the first step in the SEO process is to have a unique, relevant domain name.
A domain name is a precursor to a great looking website.
Here are the 13 (12 + bonus) things you should be doing before choosing a domain name for a personal website, a blog, or a business:
Marry the domain name with the MVOs
Yes, you read that right.
Your domain name should be aligned with your organization.
In other words, you should choose a domain name after revisiting the mission, vision, and objectives of your company.
Now, I understand that this might not always be possible.
The availability of names and other factors could affect the choice.
Let’s say you have a shoe business.
And your mission is to sell custom leather shoes.
What could be a good domain name?
You have two broad options to begin your domain name search:
One, you can create a term that’s fun to remember.
For example, there is a shoe business called Vans.com
Or, you can have the keyword in the domain name.
From an SEO perspective, either is ok.
According to Google’s John Mueller,
domains with keywords don’t rank better.
David vs Goliath
Avoid long domain names.
Who has the time to type
Yes, that’s a real domain name.
In the end, it boils down to user experience.
Would a user be comfortable memorizing and typing the domain name with ease?
That being said,
I also feel there is a place for long domain names.
For example, if you own a spa called Inner Beauty spa, then it makes sense to have a name innerbeautyspa.com.
Make sure you can sum up your business in the domain name, if possible.
Still, keep them less than 3-4 words.
Google, Yahoo, Bing, eBay, Amazon..all these are short names.
Easy to remember. Easy to type.
The total length of a domain name has a limit of 255 octets.
Raymond Chen explained this in a better fashion here.
Several websites allow you to check domain name availability.
Here’s a fun resource aka, domain name generator, to help you do that.
For example, I typed “custom shoe” and see what I got in the domain names list:
Now that we have talked about the what and why of a domain name.
Let’s dive into the how…
Aka, tips on how to choose a domain name for your business.
Once you type in the term (or words), the website will return domain name suggestions.
There’s another good website names generator:
Get the Right Extension
Suffixes such as .com, .net, and .org are called extensions
What’s a TLD?
It stands for top-level domains.
As per the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA),
TLDs can be of four types:
- country-code top-level domains (ccTLD)
- generic top-level domains (gTLD)
- sponsored top-level domains (sTLD)
- unsponsored top-level domains
- infrastructure top-level domain (.arpa)
Not that important to discuss those categories in this post though.
If you can, go for the .com extension as it’s the most popular extension.
It has been around for a long time.
To the extent that if you suggest a website name to a user who does not know about your business, chances are that they would assume the extension is .com.
It might not always be easy to buy .com domain for cheap.
Other popular extensions include .net, .co, .org, .biz and .me.
Avoid numbers and hyphens
I have seen multiple websites with weird domain names.
Now, by weird, I am not referring to “creativity”.
I am talking about the poor user experience.
Who would type a domain name example-shop.com or example3.com?
Please choose simple, creative names.
Not creative “characters”.
Research the Market
Do you know why we chose omnidigit as our domain name?
Because it signifies omnichannel marketing.
And that’s relevant to our business.
Since we specialize in omnichannel, it makes sense to have a domain name with those keywords.
And we did it after conducting a thorough market research/competitive analysis.
You should be doing the same before purchasing a domain name.
A good idea would be looking for names that are easy (easier) to rank for as well.
Leverage Social Media
Eventually, your business would have a
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn page.
And those would have a handle, aka, username.
You should reserve a domain name that is also
available on major social media platforms.
Competitive analysis and market research are crucial for another reason as well.
You want to make sure the domain name is not similar to another brand.
After all, you want to create a unique identity.
Therefore, your domain name should be unique as well.
A logo stays with a brand, just like the brand name.
When researching for domain names, visualize the logo.
This will help you with your search.
The Good Ole’ Survey
Request your friends and colleagues for their feedback.
A few days back, one of my friends reached out to me.
He wanted to know how to choose a domain name for his startup.
We talked for a few minutes and decided upon this strategy…
He sent an email to a bunch of friends asking for our suggestions for domain names.
The email also has a link to a Google Form.
Take a look below:
Invest in other TLDs
Let’s say your website is example.com
You should also buy domain extensions.
Here are some examples:
example.co, example.net, and example.org among others.
You will not regret this investment once your brand starts growing.
It will prevent unnecessary competition in the long run.
Typos: Buy them!
Just like buying additional extensions,
It is a good idea to buy the common misspellings for your domain.
Sometimes people misspell when typing the domain name.
And having the other domain as well will help you get the users on your site.
Remember, I promised about the $5k mistake related to the domain name?
One of our friends and an entrepreneur decided not to renew his domain name (for less than $50).
And ended up paying over $5,000 to buy the same domain name.
Don’t make that mistake.
Put your domain name on auto renewal.
That way, you will not run the risk of losing that domain.
Domain sellers do send reminders for renewal.
But why take the risk?
Have you purchased a domain recently?
How did you go about choosing the domain name for your business?
Share your story below.