Choosing the right domain name should be an essential part of any business marketing plan. Get it wrong and you could be sending your potential customers to the competition!
Before you head to the online registrar, here are some of the most important things you need to know:
1. Use your business name – That is, of course, if it’s available. If your company is Puzzle Nursery, your domain should be “puzzlenursery.com.” That may seem obvious, but it’s a point worth reiterating. Customers will automatically assume your domain is YourBusinessName.com and type it into a Web browser. If they can’t find it that way, it will make it harder for them to find you. And its all about consistency in branding for your business.
2. Finding a .com that is available – Many of the best domain names have been snapped up, years ago. Generic names and short names were among the first to go, and are now worth millions of pounds. Unless your company has an extremely unique name, you may be in for lengthy brainstorming sessions with your business partners as you consider alternatives. (We know we have been there, done that – and had to pay extra for the .com address!)
3. Always use .com if possible – Not only is it expected for companies, it also indicates a degree of professionalism – and hey, you never know when your company is going to go GLOBAL!
4. Keep the domain name simple – Shorter names are easier to remember than longer ones and are less prone to typing errors. Also, avoid dashes and other symbols. Think about if you have to explain special characters, abbreviations, or spelling over the phone.
5. Register alternative domains – Such as .co.uk .net etc. Doing so will keep customers from heading to a competitor’s website (You can reroute these all to your main domain).
6. Register your company trademarks – If your company makes a product called “HandNFoot” buy the domain name HandNFoot.com (as well handandfoot.com).
7. Consider keywords for your domain – You could also look at buying additional domain names containing keywords that reflect your line of products or services and redirect them to your main site so you are easier to find when searching. But you need to be aware of penalities by search engines for doing too many of these.
8. Use your domain and give it awareness – Let everyone know your URL: Incorporate it into emails, adverts, business cards, social media. The more you use it, the more people will remember it and visit your site.
9. Don’t lose your domain – This is the most crucial point of all. If you run a successful business and fail to re-register your domain name on time, chances are that a prospector will snap it up as soon as it expires. If this happens, you may be forced to buy back your domain at a high price from the domain squatter. Choose to have the registrar automatically renew your domain each year by keeping your credit card information on file or make sure to use an email address which you keep forever.
Points to remember:
- Choose your domain registrar carefully. Many seem cheap at first until you go through the payment process and add in all the hidden extras. Prices range around the £10 per year for .com or £3 per year for .co.uk
- Some domain sites (so we have been told) sell or give on your searches to potential domain buyers – so you could be searching a potential name a number of times and then find out later it has gone!
- If the domain you want is not available through your domain registrar you can try sites such as BuyDomains where the domain may be available for sale.