It’s all in a name, as the saying goes, and for your business to succeed, securing the best domain name is essential.
If you are starting an online company, or simply moving your existing ‘high street’ business onto the web, it is imperative that your domain name reflects your business perfectly.
As you might imagine, if your customers can’t find you online then they can’t access your products and services, so clearly the best idea is to simply buy yourbusinessname.com as your domain name.
However, there are strategic ideas as to why purchasing a slightly different domain name to that of your company – but one that is still highly relevant – is smart.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about securing the perfect domain name for your business.
Where Do You Buy Domain Names?
There’s a wide range of different domain name platforms available online where you can pick up your web address.
GoDaddy is one of the biggest operators in the sector, and while it can come in for criticism for its fees and charges, you will also benefit from excellent customer service and an intuitive web builder system that helps you to create your own site if you wish.
BigRock and HostGator are two further platforms to explore, while other options include Sedo, NameCheap, OnlyDomains and more.
How Much Does a Domain Name Cost?
Typically, the extension at the end of your domain name – whether it’s .com, .org or something else – will determine the price.
Many domain name providers offer you the choice of registering your domain for a year, two years or more, and you will generally get a better deal for the longer term you purchase your domain for. All domain sellers are different, but you can expect to pay in the vicinity of $10 to $20 for a .com domain name per year, around $15 for a .org.
How to Choose a Domain Name
There are those who believe that buying keyword-rich domain names, to help make you more competitive in search engines like Google is wise. We’ll cover that in more detail shortly.
But if you want a ‘brandable’ domain name, i.e., one that is closely associated with your business, then there are some simple steps to follow.
As an example, you can opt for a .us, .co.uk or .ca domain if you are specifically targeting a national market. However, if you want to attract customers from overseas, it is imperative that you acquire the .com extension for your domain.
Also, you want the domain to be as short as possible – certainly 15 characters or less. In a perfect world, the name would be no more than two words long.
Your domain should be easy to spell and pronounce, and you should avoid the use of hyphens and other punctuation at all costs.
Why You Should Consider Keyword-Rich Domain Names
You may or may not be familiar with how companies are ranked by Google and the other search engines. That is down to search engine optimization (SEO).
However, one interesting practice is to buy keyword-rich domain names and then re-direct these to a main website. For example, let’s say you’re an electrician in New York, USA. You could buy the domain linked to your business, but then also pick up domains such as bestelectricianNY.com or electricianNY.com.
These are the sorts of phrases that potential customers will type into a search engine, and if you have a domain name that exactly matches these popular searches then you will enjoy a boost in the rankings.
Another way is to use action words to drive traffic to your website. Imagine you had a site that allowed people to play online casino games. You might use ‘casino’ as the anchor and build action words like ‘play’, ‘real’ and ‘fun’ into your domain – these are both brandable and have SEO qualities to them too.
It is recommended that you take the time to actually build a mini-site for these keyword domains. The search engines still favor quality content, so make sure you populate your supporting domains with plenty of well-written content too.
What if Somebody Owns the Domain Name I Want?
If the domain name you seek is popular, you may find that it is already owned by somebody else.
This isn’t necessarily a disaster, although it will depend upon who owns the domain – and what their intentions are for it – as to whether you can get your hands on it.
Maybe the domain you want is already being used for a similar business – in which case, you can perhaps make them an offer to try and secure it for yourself. You can look up the details of who owns the domain by performing a ‘whois search’ – type that into your preferred search engine for more details.
Alternatively, some people try and make money from buying domains and then selling them on to an end-user. This is called domain ‘flipping’ or cyber-squatting in some cases, and here you have a couple of options.
Firstly, you can try to buy the domain from them – this may be a case of making an offer to them to release the web address to you.
Secondly, you can wait and see if the domain ‘drops’ at the end of the registration period – if the owner doesn’t renew at the end of their term, you might be able to buy the domain for a low retail price.
Thirdly, you can give up on it and move on to another domain name – hoping that, in the future, it becomes available once again.
As we have learned, getting the right domain name is essential for your online business – make sure you get the right one!