Some of you might be thinking, “I already have a great website. Why do I need a domain name?” Domain names are important for several reasons. With over 367.3 million domain names worldwide, picking the right one plays a crucial role in how people find your website, branding, and search engine optimization (SEO). A good name is short, easy to remember, and relevant to your business or personal brand.
Luckily, there are a few tricks you can use to help you figure out how to choose a name and get your website noticed. Let’s explore the importance of a domain name and some helpful pointers on looking for the perfect one.
What is a Domain Name?
Domain names are to websites like addresses are to houses or businesses. They are a unique way to identify a specific site on the internet. They are made up of two parts: a top-level domain (TLD) and a second-level domain (SLD). The TLD is the part that comes after the final dot, such as .com, .net, or .org. The SLD is everything that comes before the TLD; for example, Google’s domain name is google.com, so “google” is the SLD and “.com” is the TLD.
The Importance of Business Domain Names
Although there is a practical purpose to having a domain name, such as making sure customers can find your website, there are also some powerful branding benefits that come with owning a domain name. Domain names help you control how you are perceived online. They give you a chance to build a brand and create an identity that people will associate with your website. For instance, vickybrownphotography.com will indicate a personal photography website, while sweetcoffeehouse.com lets browsers know that they’re browsing the website of a cafe.
There are over 367.3 million domain names worldwide
Websites such as Squarespace and Wix will give you a free subdomain (yourname.squarespace.com, yourname.wixsite.com/yourname), but that doesn’t look as professional as having a custom name (www.yourname.com).
There are a wealth of other reasons why a domain name is important for your business:
- Can help with SEO by giving you a keyword-rich name
- Make it easy for customers to find your website
- Build trust and credibility with potential customers
- Help you create a professional email address using your own brand
- Give you the ability to set up a blog or website easily and cheaply
How to Choose a Domain Name
While there isn’t a single way to choose the perfect one, here are some key tips that can help. Always make sure that you use some availability sites to check whether the name you chose is free to use – you don’t want to pick a great name and find out it’s unavailable. After coming up with a shortlist of name ideas, make sure to use these tips to help you choose the best one for your needs.
Domain names have become an important part of branding and SEO, so don’t overlook their importance when creating or revamping your website.
Use keywords (for SEO)
Doing some keyword research can help you come up with an idea that accurately reflects your business or website. For example, if you’re a wedding planner, you might want to include keywords like “wedding” or “events” in your domain name. Other options might include adding your location, like “Oregon” to indicate that you operate your business in the state.
Be mindful of length
When buying a name for a business, shorter is usually better. If your domain name is too long, it might be difficult for people to remember or type correctly.
Choose a proper TLD
There are a lot of different domain name extensions (or TLDs) to choose from, such as .com, .net, .org, and .io. While .com is still the most popular choice, you might want to consider alternatives depending on your business or website. Non-profit organizations might want to use .org, while .shop might be interesting for an e-commerce store.
Be unique and on-brand
Your domain name should be reflective of your brand, so try to come up with something unique and on-brand. This can be a challenge if your desired domain name is already taken, but overall, choosing something that accurately represents you or your business is important.
Consider your website
Your domain name should be closely related to your website content. If your website is all about selling handmade jewelry, you wouldn’t want to use a site name like “www.ilovetrees.com”. Ultimately, your brand name should be your site name, or at least close to it so people can recognize where they’re heading. Professional names like “www.janedoejewelry.com” are clear, and memorable, and give visitors an idea of what to expect from your site.
Stay on the simple side
Too much creativity can actually work against you when choosing a brand name. While you want your name to be unique, you also want it to be easy to remember and pronounce.
While hyphens can help make a long name more readable, they can also be confusing and difficult to remember. If you do need to use hyphens, make sure to register the version with and without the hyphens (for example, yourname.com and your-name.com) so people can get redirected to the right place.
Don’t limit yourself
While it’s important to have a brand name that accurately reflects your brand, you don’t want to limit yourself too much. For example, if you’re a jewelry designer but you also sell other handmade items like soaps and candles, you might want a to use something like “www.christydesigns.com” instead of “www.christyjewelry.com”. This way, as your business grows, you can expand your website without having to start from scratch with a new brand name.
There isn’t a single formula for choosing the perfect site name, but following these tips can help you come up with something that is both accurate and memorable. Domain names have become an important part of branding and SEO, so don’t overlook their importance when creating or revamping your website.