Choosing the right Domain Name for your company website
When planning to create a website for your business, one of the things that should be uppermost in your mind is the domain name that will be registered for the website. This is because the name of your company website depicts your brand.
One thing I always like to say is that your website is like your virtual real estate, and the insignia put on that virtual estate is very important, and should be chosen carefully, because changing a company website’s name in the future would be very difficult, except you are changing the name of the entire company itself.
Choosing a domain name is similar to choosing a company name – it requires a lot of thought and consideration. So when choosing a domain name for your business, what factors should you consider? In this article, we cover all the important factors you need to keep in mind while choosing the name your company website would bear.
- It represents your brand.
This is about the most important thing to think about when choosing a domain name for a business. That domain name you’re thinking about, when someone pronounces it, can it sound like it is that of a website belonging to a company/brand? Probably not? Then you need to re-think.
It could be you’re starting a new brand. It could be that you have an existing brand and you’re trying to take it online. It might be that you’re working with clients who are taking their brand online. It could be that you’re starting a new company entirely. Whatever category you fall into, if the name is not brandable or doesn’t sound like a brand, do NOT choose it.
- Easy to Pronounce.
If your domain name is long and complex, you risk customers mis-typing or mispelling it. Some statistics have shown that the top 100,000 websites, on average, have nine characters in their domain names. And majority of those top websites belonging to brands and companies, so you might want to keep it short and simple.
When choosing a domain name for your business, make sure it is BOTH easy to pronounce AND easy to spell/type. That is an advantage in two ways. Internet users who want to visit your website don’t have to stress themselves or wear their keyboards out trying to type your domain name, and people find it easier to TELL other people of your website by mouth if it’s not too hard to pronounce. That, of course means more people knowing about your website, and subsequently, your company.
A good test is to tell twenty people the domain name you have chosen by mouth and ask them to spell it. Then write the domain name down and show it to another twenty people, telling them to pronounce it. If more than a few people struggle with either, it is better you change it.
- Go for .COM first.
You might be thinking, what’s so special with the .com Top Level Domain (TLD) extension? Am I not creating a website for a brand; can’t I go for .biz?
Yes, you are a right, the internet is old enough and there has been an explosion of a lot of TLDs different from .com, and even country-specific domain extensions, it’s always safer to go with something that most people are familiar and comfortable with.
The .com domain extension is the most recognized and most easily accessible brand for people who aren’t tech geeks. If you want to build up a very brandable domain that can do well, you probably want that .com extension.
You should only go with other TLDs if the .com version of it is not available, and even at that, go for .net and .co next.
However, if your business is a local one or the things you produce are for the local population alone, and you have no intentions of going international, you can choose a country-specific domain extension (.ca for Canada, .ng for Nigeria, .uk for United Kingdom, and so on).
- Research to avoid trouble
After choosing a brandable domain name that satisfies the points above, the next thing to do is to find out whether it infringes on another company or another organization’s existing trademark, or could be confused with that trademark, or not.
Don’t make guesses here in order to avoid getting into trouble, because legal action can be taken against your company in case of any infringement on rights. Consult with your lawyer or attorney if you have the means.
Also, you don’t want to choose a domain name that can be easily confused with other existing domain names, or other existing brands. That would do very well to hurt your brand name, especially if a legal tussle is involved and you eventually lose out, and the domain name is taken away from you. Try to avoid it.
You should also search with domain name registrars to see if the domain name you have in mind is available an hasn’t been chosen by another brand, or hasn’t been parked by an ambitious forward thinker. You don’t want to start building your plans on an unavailable domain name.
- Include Keywords if possible.
This is of the least importance when choosing a domain name for a business, but if it is possible at all to include keywords in your niche in the domain name, do not hesitate to do so.
When this is done, your website gets the added benefit of SEO, and would easily rank well in search engines for product searches in your niche. Caution has to be applied however. When including keywords in your company domain name, try to use something unique and catchy, and avoid what would be called keyword rich or keyword targeted domains.
For instance, I would not advice you to go for www.buypoloshirts.com or www.pastaseller.ng. No, it’s not appropriate for a domain name in 2016. I would rather advice you to go for www.pshirts.com or www.pasta.com.ng. Think of Amazon and Google, does what they do tally with their domain names? No, right? But it’s catchy and highly brandable, isn’t it?
If including a keyword in your company website’s domain name would cause it to sound keyword-targeted, just drop it altogether.