In today’s world, domain name availability is a key driver in business naming. Why? With consumers increasingly using smart devices to search for what they need, search engine optimization (SEO) has become more important than the logo.
Just how picky should you be about your domain name? Do you really need to develop your brand around a URL? The short answer is very picky and yes!
Whether you’re a new small business, building an online business, or creating a website for an offline company, you need to consider the domain name an integral part of your branding efforts. After all, you’d never start a company with a logo owned by someone else. So why would you try to build a brand without first securing the domain name?
Why Does The Domain Name Matter?
Domain names matter because they are the first thing your visitors see and we all know first impressions matter. In addition, in today’s world, search engines drive customers to businesses and the domain name is the first step in your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy.
While exact match domains (EMDs) are pretty much non-existent, having your keywords in your domain name can still help your SEO ranking.
Why? Search engines continue to improve their algorithms, but two key factors in searches have always been keyword density, the number of times a keyword is used on a site, and keyword relevancy, which is determined by bounce rate for a given keyword.
When your business purpose, business name, and URL or domain name are aligned, you win high marks for keyword relevancy and density, which means the SEO gods will reward you with more traffic. And traffic equals customers.
What’s In A Domain Name?
Do you need to actually choose a company name based on the availability of a domain name? Can you get creative with the URL? Should you include your geographic location?
The answer to these questions depends on your business type. If the bulk of your business is or will be done offline, then you have far more flexibility.
Restaurants and service based businesses can get away with adding the initials or full city name to the end of the domain name. This not only identifies the location, it gives a nice SEO bump for that keyword as well.
Service-based businesses that have an established brand can also consider adding “my” or “go” to the beginning of their domain if they can’t get the one they want.
The goal is short and memorable. That said, if you can’t find something short, make it FUN.
How Long Should the Domain Name Be?
At Host Huski we believe that your domain name should be short and memorable. In fact, we suggest keeping it to 6-14 characters that highlight your brand. With literally millions of domains already owned, this is not an easy task.
Which Domain Name Extension Is Best?
Once upon a time choosing the domain name extension was simple. .com was for businesses. .net was for internet network providers. .edu was for schools. And .org was for organizations like churches and nonprofits.
Today all bets are off and a variety of domain extensions have emerged. While this is great for allowing broader access to domain names, it’s important to be deliberate with this. Grabbing the .mobi may seem easy but when you run a commercial, as much as 90% of your potential customers may key in the .com simply because they’ve been conditioned to do so.
According to Domain Name Stat, approximately 43% of all domains utilize the “.com” extension. That’s part of the reason why we advocate that you go with the .com if it’s available. If that’s taken, you can try .net or .org. But if those are gone, we suggest you get back to brainstorming.
Final Thoughts on Domain Names
Your domain name should say everything about your brand in under 15 characters. That’s just part of why it will never be a quick activity.
Domain naming is a long-term game because your domain will define your business and brand for years to come. That’s why it’s important to do a bit of research before you choose your domain. You’ll want to make sure you can secure social media assets that line up with the URL and make sure there aren’t any trademarks already registered to the name. And once you find the perfect domain name make sure you lock it up tight!
Now that you’ve settled on your name, it’s time to move on to the fun part of building your business!