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Choosing a Good Domain Name for your Business

Is your current website being hosted for free?  OK, so you don’t pay any money but what price do you pay in terms of professionalism, brand value and customer trust?

Perhaps it’s time to buy a domain name and a hosting plan for your company and move up the ladder to compete with other like-minded businesses.

Having a relevant domain name can help your business and compliment your brand.

Business domain names can be useful for the following reasons:

  1. They sell your products and services e.g. comparethemarket.com
  2. They promote your business brand and identity e.g. google.com
  3. They help customers find your website through search engines e.g. bluewidgetspecialists.co.uk
  4. They give customers a sense of trust e.g. mycompany.co.uk versus freewebsites.com/mycompany
  5. You control your website content i.e. no advertisement banners

A Domain Name should be your Business Name or your Main Trade

Try to make it easy for customers to find your website.  If you are pushing your company name as part of a brand then obtain a domain name as close to your company name as you can.

If this is not an option then try to find a domain name that reflects the products you sell or services you provide.  People are more likely to remember a name when there is an association or relevance to what they are looking for when searching the web.

What if you can’t get the domain name you were after?

If somebody else owns the domain name that happens to be the exact same name of your company then you may have to enter negotiations with the domain owner and try to buy it from them if this is a really important part of your brand value.  This can be very costly so prepare yourself!

Does Size Matter?

Domain names can be up to 67 characters in length which should allow for pretty much any descent description of your products or services or your company name.

The decision perhaps lies in relevancy versus people’s laziness to type long web addresses.

If your company is based in Edinburgh, Scotland and you happened to breed and sell meerkats, what are the advantages and disadvantages of having a short or long domain name?

For example let’s look at the domain name choice “meerkats.co.uk”.

Advantages are:

  • It’s short and easy to remember
  • It’s associated with the word meerkats which are your primary business

Disadvantages are:

  • It not really specific enough to determine what it is about meerkats that the website is associated with; information only? Name of a rock-band?
  • It’s likely the domain name is already takes as the name is too generic
  • Search engines won’t be able to determine anything other than somehow the website is associated with meerkats.

Let’s now look at the domain name choice “meerkatsforsaleandbreedinginedinburgh.co.uk”

Advantages are:

  • It does what it says.  If you came across the web address then there should be no surprise as to what you are going to find inside.
  • Search engines will love the domain name and will be able to place your website in specific categories associated with selling meerkats in Edinburgh.
  • Chances are, unless you have many competitors in the same geographical area, you will be able to purchase the domain name because it is so specific.

Disadvantages are:

  • It’s very long.  Too long for people to remember and way off the scale for anybody to attempt to type it out.
  • Try fitting it onto your business card or spelling your email address over the phone

Perhaps a nice compromise would be “meerkatbreaderedinburgh.co.uk”.  Not too long and specific enough for search engines to pick up and categorise the website.

Using Hyphens in the Name?

This is not an easy call.  There are advantages and disadvantages to this. E.g. lets look at “meerkat-breeder-edinburgh.co.uk”

Advantages are:

  • Search engines can pick up the individual keywords in the domain name and properly categorise your website
  • If the non-hyphenated domain name is taken, this will give you all your required keywords in the name

Disadvantages are:

  • It’s way longer to type in and verbally communicate to people
  • Hyphens can sometimes be forgotten when remembering a website name so there is a good chance people will type in the name without the hyphens

.com, .co.uk or .biz

Which TLD (Top Level Domain) do you choose for your business?  There is after all a bucket-load of them out there.

If you have a public organisation or charity then the .org TLD is for you or if you are looking at cornering an international market perhaps .com is a good option.

Where county of origin is important you should choose the TLD for that particular country e.g. Australia .au or the United Kingdom .co.uk.  You may also want to take a hosting plan with a company in the same country as your target market.

All these choices can make a significant difference in your websites search engine rankings.

If you are serious about setting up a professional on-line business or presence then try to avoid TLD’s such as .net, .biz or .info as these have become associated with spam sites and do not have good credibility.  Check out a wiki for more information about country top level domains.

In Summary

Perhaps the best option is to purchase your domain name before you start up your business or website.

Spend some time on researching keywords that people may use to search for your products and services with a view to using one or two in a domain name.

Use our domain name tool to see if your choice is available or give us a call.  We can help you choose the most relevant domain name available for your business.

Good luck!

Keep In Touch

Wil

Wil is a dad, consultant, developer, conference organiser, speaker and business mentor. He co-organizes the WordPress Sydney meetup group and has been on the orgnising committee for WordCamp Sydney since 2014. He speaks at many technical events and contributes to the WordPress open source project. His likes are chillies, craft beer and electrogravitics.
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