There are over 105 million domain names in the world today with a 20% increase every year. Building a website is now easier and quicker than it has ever been. So easy that some of the basic requisites are sometimes overlooked, especially when it comes to choosing a domain name. Here is some advice to help you find the best possible domain name for your business.
Unique & easily memorable
You will need to find a business and domain name that people will easily memorise. It does not necessarily need to contain keywords related to your activity but it needs to be catchy and unique.
Think about big brands like Coca Cola, would they have been as successful if they had named themselves The Soft Drink Company for example? Probably not. In addition a name like The Soft Drink Company would have made them vulnerable to new competitors who could have named themselves The Cola Drink Company or Coca Drink for example.
This is why it is so important to take your time and settle for a name that will make your company stand out in your sector of activity. And in this internet age business name and domain name come hand in hand so they both need to be unique and appealing from the start. Because no matter how great your product or idea is, a middle of the road name will always slow you down on your path to success.
It is sometimes difficult to find an available domain name without using hyphens. The main reason why hyphens in a domain name are not a good idea is that you will often have to verbally give your website’s address to people and it will just make it very difficult for them to get it right. That is why a domain name like ukmarketing.co.uk will always be better than uk-marketing.co.uk. In addition when typing the name in the address bar people may forget the hyphens and end up on an unrelated website or even worse, on your competitor’s.
.co.uk, .com, .org, .net or else??
If your business is based in the UK, you should have a .co.uk domain name. .com names are often associated with American businesses that sometimes show up in UK search engines. You should probably still buy your .com domain name but only use it if you are expanding to the USA or if you are dealing with visitors and customers all over the world.
Extensions like .org or .net are not necessarily bad but you need to remember people are more used to .com or .co.uk extensions and if they only memorised your domain name they may end up on the wrong website. In general if you are doing business in the UK it is always better to opt for a .co.uk extension and use other country specific extensions when your business is expanding (.fr, .de, .es, etc).
Keywords or not?
Businesses with generic domain names are flourishing these days. Most of the time these names are selected to get a better chance of being listed higher in the search engines. But ultimately they do not really help you stand out from your competitors.
Take one website named cctvinstall and another named cctvinstallers (this example sounds rather extreme but that is the sort of domain names you can find in search engines these days), do you really think your prospects will correctly memorise your domain name?
Once again they may end up on your competitor’s website. So do not think too much about SEO when you choose your domain or company name, think about your potential customers and try to make sure they will find your website easily.
Make your domain name as short and catchy as possible. Once again this is for memorisation reasons. You will have a much better chance to generate direct traffic with a short domain name than with a long and complicated one. However if you already have a long company name like The London Marketing Consultancy for example don’t abbreviate it to TLMC just to make it shorter as acronyms are very difficult to memorise and once again you may lose a lot of traffic.
Business name & domain name
It may sound obvious but make sure your domain name is the same as your company name. You would be surprised at how many businesses do not follow this basic rule. They would for example find out their business name is not available to buy as a domain and go for something completely different (cctv-installers-uk.co.uk for a company named Johnston Installers for example). Now just imagine the number of business opportunities they’re missing out when potential clients try to find them online.
So what should you do if your business name is no longer available as a domain? If you are starting a new business you should probably go back to the drawing board and find a business name that is available as a domain. If you have an existing business with a big portfolio of clients and want to launch your website you should be prepared to pay more money to buy the domain from the current owner.
Or you can also try to find the closest match possible to your business name and make sure your real company name is regularly mentioned in your web content so that you get listed when people type it in search engines. Alternatively this could also be a good opportunity to rename and rebrand your business.
In conclusion if you are thinking of starting your business it is probably more important these days to look out for a domain name first that will eventually become your company name too. Take all the time you need, do not rush it, do some research, test around you, think it over and over again.
Your domain and company name are the foundation of your business and if there is just one thing you need to get right, that is the one. In addition, a carefully chosen company name and domain name should provide you with a good angle for future marketing activities.