The first thing about your business website that people see is your domain name; the actual website address (called a URL in the industry) people type in, or click on, to reach your website.
Choosing the perfect domain name can be very tricky, especially as most of the more memorable ones are already in use (and many more are held to ransom by shady businesses). Here is 77 Rockets’ list of what to think about when choosing the right domain name for your business website.
It should be memorable
A good domain name should be easy to remember, so if someone sees it on an advert or sign they will be able to remember it until they can access the internet. A domain name that is too long, is made up of too many words, or uses numbers instead of words, may make it tricky to remember without searching for it again online.
Customers need to be able to type it correctly
Just as important as being able to remember your new domain name is being able to type it easily. Avoid words that people regularly struggle to spell otherwise you run the risk of people mistyping your domain and ending up somewhere other than your website. If you can’t easily type it, the chances are no one else will be able to either.
Avoid dashes as part of your domain
There are a couple of reasons that people think using dashes in their domain names is a good idea, either they think it makes it easier to read (think leicestershire-web-design.co.uk instead of leicestershirewebdesign.co.uk) or they couldn’t get the name they wanted so compromised by adding dashes to get something close. Sadly, it also makes the domain much harder to read out loud and there’s a lot of evidence that domains using dashes are often thought of as being ‘spam by search engines.
Your choice of domain name doesn’t NEED to be your company name
For most businesses the obvious choice is for your domain name to match the name you trade under, however sometimes it makes sense to use an alternative that is shorter, easier to remember, or better describes what your business does or where you’re located.
Don’t make it too generic
We’ve already suggested that you want your new domain name to be memorable, but you need to make sure you don’t go too far and find yourself something so generic that your site could get easily confused with other businesses. It’s probably best to avoid domains that are just a description of what you do (for example something like leicestershire-web-design.co.uk) unless you’re using them in addition to your main branded domain.
Avoid anything too similar to a famous brand
Unless you want to risk being prosecuted or having your domain taken away, it’s sensible to avoid choosing a domain name that is the same or very similar to an existing brand name. Not only will it look like you are trying to use the reputation of the existing brand but it can also lead to your website being taken down or removed from Google. When you’ve chosen your domain name it’s worth searching for it on a search engine to see if anything too similar is already in use by a large brand.
Check it doesn’t have hidden unintended words
You think you’ve found the perfect domain name, it’s easy to remember, isn’t hard to spell and fits your business name perfectly but are you sure your chosen domain doesn’t have an unintended meaning? It’s always best to be doubly sure your choice of domain doesn’t have an alternative meaning that will have your customers heading elsewhere.
Stick to popular domain endings
Until fairly recently there were only a small selection of domain endings (.com, .co.uk, .org etc) to choose from, but over the last couple of years more alternatives have come onto the market and so it’s now possible to pick one of over 1,000 different domain endings. While this new choice means you are much more likely to be able to get a domain you want, most members of the public still expect domains to end in .com or .co.uk and find some of the newer endings hard to remember, so if you can stick to something like these you probably should.
At the end of the day there are no truly hard and fast rules about what the best domain name for your business could be, and once a brand becomes established even the most hard-to-remember, generic, or hard-to-spell domains can become very successful businesses. After all, 20 years ago who knew what Google.com was going to become?
Building a website for your business isn’t rocket science, but unless you know what you’re doing it can certainly feel like it. That’s where 77 Rockets can help – we work with small and medium-sized businesses to build the websites their businesses deserve. Why not talk to us and see what we can do for you.