Guess what? Your domain name can make you or break you. No matter how great your business is, how professional your website looks, or how much time and effort you’ve put into your product...if you don’t have the right address, you’ve got an uphill battle.
Those few letters in the URL bar can make a world of difference to your branding, web traffic, recognizability, and ultimately, sales. So put some serious thought into your domain name, and use these handy tips to get going.
#1: Be clear. Make sure your customers can take one look at your domain name and know exactly what you do and what they can expect. Don’t try to be clever with puns, acronyms and niche jokes. Pick a domain name that clearly encapsulates who you are and what you do. Pro tip: Your domain name doesn’t have to be the same as your actual business name. “DagMar Inc.” may work just fine in real life, but online customers will find “GraniteSuppliers.com” much more quickly. Remember, it’s not just about creative branding: it’s about visibility. Give potential clients a clear picture of your products or services, and they – and search engines – will be much more likely to find you online.
#2: Be memorable. Sometimes it’s hard to find a happy medium between “clear” and “boring.” If you can figure out a way to make your domain name catchy, while still maintaining a clear picture of your company’s purpose, you’ve struck gold. Remember, hyphens, numbers and long complicated word mash-ups are not memorable. Short, clever, punchy names will stick in people’s memories and ultimately drive more traffic to your site. If you can make people excited and curious about your company – and at the same time, fully aware of what you do – your domain name is a winner.
#3: Be original. No matter how clever, on-point and perfect your domain name is, if someone else already has it, you’re probably violating copyright. Intellectual property (IP) laws change a lot, so pay attention to the trends and do your research. (This horror story about how the University of Wisconsin sued an Iowa school district because the two logos used similar-looking “W”s should make you check your own brand VERY carefully.) Bottom line: be original. Think up a domain name that’s completely your own. And maybe someday, you can sue somebody for copying you.
#4: Use keywords. Remember, human customers are not the only entities looking for your business. Search engines will rank your site differently depending on which relevant keywords you use. If someone types “stainless steel appliances” into Google, “StainlessSuppliers.com” will probably come up before “ThatAmazingShine.com.” Moz.com suggests that you brainstorm a list of the most frequently-used keywords in your field and see if you can incorporate any of them into your domain name. Google Adwords can be a great help in finding frequently-used keywords and keyword combinations – but don’t go overboard. “Miamistainlesssteelappliancesuppliers.com” isn’t going to do you any favors with anyone, either.
#5: Be ready to spend a little money. Good domain names don’t come cheap. There may not be an existing website with your desired URL, but that doesn’t mean the domain name is available. There are currently around 138 million registered domain names on the Internet, but only 5-10% of those names are currently active. If you want one of these names, you’re going to have to buy it from the current owner. The better the name, the higher the price: premium domain names can cost around $20,000, while the most highly-desired URLs may go for millions. (We know, this is hardly fair – but hey, you have to buy stars, too. And that’s arguably even sillier.)
Remember, your domain name is a huge part of your business. So put in some time and effort, and do your research. It’s worth it. And yes, http://itsworthit.com/ is already registered – but you can buy it if you want to.