Since you’re competing for eyeballs with millions of other businesses, your business’s domain name—the web address/URL that people use to find your website—should be decided at the same time you’re naming your business. Preferably, the web address should match your business name and if it doesn’t you may consider changing the name of your business—it’s that important. When customers search for your type of business, a great domain name will help your business move up the ranks and draw traffic.
Here are some tips to remember when choosing a domain name:
- Choose a domain name with less than 10 characters, if possible. You want a simple, memorable name that doesn’t require too much typing (and increase chances of mistyping).
- Catchy, yet descriptive. Make sure your domain name makes sense with what you do as a business. If you make it memorable, there will be less confusion about your competitors. Try combining different words together, like YouTube, that are relevant for what your business does.
- Go for the dotcom. Although many sites use .biz and .net and now .us to show national pride, .com is still the preferred extension and where search engines will first lead searching consumers.
- Don’t get fancy with the spelling of your domain name. Again, that is just asking for confusion and mistyping. Also, stay clear of hyphenated words when you can. If you need the hyphen, make sure you register your name both ways.
- Location, Location. Do you own the neighborhood pizza parlor or flower shop? Think about adding your city, neighborhood or street name to your business/domain name. Going local and supporting local businesses is a hot trend in marketing.
Still stuck? Try one of the free domain name generators like Dot-o-mator and see what they suggest.
Now that you think you’ve decided on your name, take these steps to make sure you’re on the right track:
- 1. Do a quick search on your name and see what comes up. Does your exact domain name come up in the search? And if it does and you click on the link, what kind of business comes up? If you still like the name, consider adding a location prefix or suffix to make it your own. Then search again to make sure it isn’t taken.
- 2. If the site that comes up doesn’t seem like anyone is really making use of it, you may be able to buy it from the owner. Check out Whosit.net to find out who owns the name and when the domain registration expires.
- 3. Once you register your name with any of the many domain registries, make sure you provide a valid e-mail address so your registrar can contact you when your domain name is about to expire. You may also want to buy versions of your name with different extensions, such as .net, .biz and .co to avoid future confusion. Most domain names start at about $9.99 per year and go up in price depending on potential demand.
Another tactic to drive web traffic to your site is to buy an expired or not in use domain name and simply redirect traffic to your site. The results could mean additional traffic without having to do any marketing. Here’s how:
- Find a domain name that has been around awhile and already has traffic. Go to a website like Sedo.com and search under category for businesses similar to yours.
- Narrow your search by then searching names by traffic to the site
- If you decide to buy the domain name you’ll simply need to set up a 301 redirect so when customers go to the old site they’ll be redirected to your site
- Make sure the expired domain name is already indexed on Google. If the most popular search engine can’t find you, no one else will either.
It’s easy to search for and register a domain name. Here are a few of the websites to get it all done:
- Network Solutions