Your domain name represents you as a company/brand online. Let’s discover the decision process to choosing a great one.
So, you’ve decided that you want a domain name for your brand/business online. It could be a new venture or maybe you feel your current one needs a bit of an overhaul and refresh.
There are three types of domain names you’ll need to choose between:
- Full name as domain, such as grantmicheals.com
- Branded and niche, such as grantplumbing.com
- Unbranded location based, such as plumbinglondon.com
That’s essentially the focus you want. If your company has a short branded name that has nothing to do with your niche, or you use your personal name as the domain, then think closely about whether you want to choose those.
There is one negative to option 1: it might take you more time to encourage Google & Bing to rank you for certain terms in their search engines if you’re looking to attract potential clients using local SEO.
Our 9 Tips To Choosing a Domain Name For Your Business
1 — Be Brandable
When you have a business you want people to be able to distinguish you between others (whether in the same niche or not). For example, we would all (I would think) know that Google is a search engine and McDonalds is a fast food chain. Google is fully branded, meaning the word to most people doesn’t mean anything other than the name and the company, and McDonalds is the name of the company founder.
When deciding what name to choose think about if you want a fully branded one or one with an indication about your type of business, such as grantplumbing.com. This makes it clear who you are and what you do. So too do richmondconsulting.com, flowersbylucy.com and alphawebdesign.com.
2 — Keep it Short
No one is going to remember a long domain name, and chances are they’re possibly going to type it into a search engine (maybe Google or Facebook) in order to find out more about you or contact you to enquire about your pricing. That means you don’t want more than 12-15 characters in the name.
The other point is that online platforms tend to artificially shorten longer names in order for them to fit in the platform. And, you have the fact that when you’re about to go and register your business domain name, you’ll want to choose your social media handles to be the same (or similar) across all different platforms; helping with your branding.
3 — Avoid Numbers & Hyphens
These two complicate things for people. They might type your domain name into their web browser using a number (1) or forget the hyphen altogether and end up on someone else’s website (let’s hope it’s not a competitor).
Also, they might become confused when they reach listings in a search engine when you choose an unbranded location-based name: there could be 10 different ones to choose from (online there’s no time to ask their friend again which one they said, which could be embarrassing).
4 — Choose The Right Extension (TLD)
There are so many choices now. Historically, it was all about the .com, but recently we’ve shifted away from that.
If your potential clients are based in the US then choosing a .com is best, while if you’re in the UK a .co.uk (or .uk) or .eu will help to convert people in search listings more.
The decision process we’d make is:
- .com (or country extension such as .uk, .ca or .com.au)
- .net (a good alternative)
- .co (a shorter extension)
- .org (usually for non-profits though)
- .biz (signifying you’re a business)
You could also choose one of the recent .pro or .guru extensions, but I feel they tend to be cumbersome.
5 — Beware of Trademarks
This is a big one. If someone has a trademark for the name you want, you go ahead and register it and then carry out business they might have a say about it. While I’m not a lawyer/solicitor – so I can’t offer legal advice – and registering a similar name in a different industry to a trademark might be good, do it with caution.
If they’re redshairdressers.com and you want redshairdressing.com just be sure to go do a trademark check. They’re not overly expensive so you never know.
6 — Include Keywords But Don’t Get Obsessive
Similarly to branding, getting a keyword or two that highlights what you do will help to clarity to both people and search engines what type of business website is going to be hosted on this domain name.
So, if we take hypnotherapytennese.com as an example that is keyword rich, but there is no branding. So, I’d advise staying away from that one or having it as a secondary way of people to contact you.
You wouldn’t really want to choose bobshypnotherapytennese.com as that’s quite long (even though it probably will help with SEO and ranking in Google/Bing). So, choosing bobshypnotherapy.com might be better. Or even with a hyphen in the middle (yes, I know I said don’t use them in a point above, but it could actually confuse people if you don’t use one in this case).
7 — Domain Privacy
It’s worth mentioning here about privacy for your domain. This is when you pay your domain company a yearly fee (in addition to the cost of registering the domain name) to put their contact details in the domain registry and not yours.
This is helpful by:
- Keep your personal details (home address, email, phone number) from public view
- Prevents a hacker from knowing your email details in an effort to then hack your domain account and transfer ownership
The price of this varies quite widely, from $0-30 (£0-£20) between registrars so be conscious of it when ordering.
8 — Don’t Pay Too Much
I’ve spoken to people who pay around $50 per year to register their domain name, which is a bit excessive. If you’re registering for one year then expect to pay between $10 and $20, and around $6 for privacy on top. There are lots of providers out there, but we choose to use Namecheap. They have a good reputation and have been secure until now.
9 — Not Available? Choose Something Else
You have chosen the perfect domain name and then the Namecheap search engine says no! What?! It’s not available. Noooooo!
Well, that’s just life. It’s time to do some more thinking and choose a different name for your business website.
Our best advice? Have a selection that are completely different. Choose around 5 different domain names, but I’m sure you’re going to be able to find your chosen domain name (and extension) within a few minutes using this method.
Who To Choose?
That’s it. If you want to know our go-to domain registrar it’s Namecheap. They offer good pricing and if you’re registering a new domain with them include privacy for free in the first year.
There are also other companies to register with too (we use them all):