Eight rules for choosing the right domain name

If you’re going to invest time, energy and money in building a website, it’s vital that you take a little extra time to find a domain name that impacts positively on your brand image, customer engagement and bottom line. Follow these tips to find the perfect domain name for your business.

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Consider your business name first

First prize is to have your business name as a domain name and URL. It helps people find you online, entrenches your name and helps to avoid confusion (for instance, if the company is called Shoes for Africa and the domain is africashoes.com). Who knows, your business could grow into an empire and your name could become a household name – if that happens, it would be nice to own the domain from the start.

If you’re looking for some help in choosing a company name to begin with, check out our article, four ways to choose a great limited company name.

Keep it short and simple

If your domain name is too long and complex, it could easily be misspelled or mistyped. Don’t use slang, hyphens, numbers or irregular spelling. Consider having to say the name over the phone – juicebox.com is pretty easy to remember, type and spell, whereas Joos-boxx.com is a nightmare.

Use keywords

Another option is to use keywords that describe the services or products offered by your business. If you own a shoe repair shop called Bunty’s, you may want to register shoerepairs.com or meandmyshoe.com. Consider including the keywords people enter when searching for your products or services. Search, search, search! Keywords in your domain name will improve your search rankings on Google, Bing and other search engines.

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Target your area

If your business is local, consider including the town or city in your name. For instance, if you own a glass factory in Barnet, London, called Epstein’s Fine Glassware – and Epsteins and all other variations are taken – you may want to register londonglass.com or barnetglass.com.

Make sure there’s room to grow

If your business is designing logos, watch out for choosing a domain name like logosforall.com, because you could end up expanding into all sorts of design work and then your domain name isn’t relevant anymore.

Make sure the name is available on social media sites

It only takes a few minutes to check social media sites like Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and Facebook to make sure your domain name is available there too. It solidifies your name in the market, helps to avoid confusion and makes it much more difficult for anyone else to piggyback off your good name.

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Ensure you have rights to the name

Once you have whittled your list down to a few fantastic contenders, it’s important to check that the name you selected isn’t trademarked, copyrighted or being used by another business. It could end up costing you much more than just a domain name.

For more info on trademarking, see our recent article on how to trademark your company name.

Aim for .com

Yes, there are many great websites that end in .org, .co.uk or .net. But whether or not you register those, you should always have the .com too. That way nobody ends up on a competitor’s website when looking for you. .com is still the most popular extension and many people will automatically assume your domain ends in .com.

Once you have a few names you are confident will work, it’s time to register your new home on the web. It’s important to do so with a reputable company that has been in business for a good few years. This way, you avoid any hassles down the line if the fly-by-night goes bust.

If you need any assistance setting up your limited company, please visit 1st Contact Accounting.