Your domain name can make or break your new business and once you have one established, changing it means reprinting all of your marketing materials and redirecting existing customers to your new home. That could be costly, so it’s important to choose the right domain name from the beginning.
Because choosing the right domain name is so critical, here are some things to keep in mind as you consider your options.
Brand or Description?
Some businesses choose a domain that matches their brand, while others choose something that describes what they’re all about and what they do, or where they’re located in order to give them a bit of a boost in search engine rankings. Your choice will depend on your message. Of course, if your business name is descriptive, you can do both, but that isn’t the case for many businesses.
Google has made several adjustments to their algorithms in recent years, and the algorithms no longer place as much emphasis on URLs as they once did. However, you may still want to choose a domain name that makes it clear exactly what your business does and where you are located. While it may not help your search engine rankings as much, you can still use your domain to help you communicate your message to potential customers.
If you want to create a strong brand and have it be easily recognised, you may want to choose a domain that matches your brand. It will make it easier for potential customers who want to learn about you to find your internet presence.
Help! The Domain I Want is Already Taken!
It happens to a lot of businesses. You finally settle on the perfect domain name, only to find it’s already in use. If this happens, you don’t have to start over. Take a look at your domain and decide whether you can make a minor change. Maybe you can settle for a different ending, such as .net or .com in place of .co.uk, or add your location. If your domain has more than one word you can add a hyphen. Maybe you can substitute a number, such as 2 for to, or 4 instead of for, if your chosen domain has any words like this. Whatever you do, keep it short and easy to remember. You will also want to be careful that you don’t choose a domain that is too close to a popular company, especially one that is in the same business as you.
.com? .co.uk? Something Else?
Choosing between .com and .co.uk makes little difference. If you are strictly a local company and you don’t intend to do international business, .co.uk can accentuate your local nature. .com is a more neutral choice and may be better if you operate internationally or intend to do so at some point in the future. You could even buy both, if they are available, and have your web developers redirect from the secondary domain to your main site.
When you first begin establishing the online presence for your business, you have a lot of options. Spend a little time considering them and be sure to keep things as easy for your customers as possible. This will help them to remember you and make it easier to find you.
Photo: Image courtesy of The Booklight on Flickr