Choosing a domain name for a small business requires careful consideration, as it is often the first thing people see about your business. The domain name of a business is often considered a piece of real estate on the internet, or your business home on the web. It is core to the digital presence of your business.

Here are eight tips to help select a domain name that is right for your business and can serve you for years.

1. Keep it simple

The first rule of choosing a website name is to keep it simple. If your name has an unusual spelling or is difficult to type, chances are people could mis-spell your domain name and not find you on the internet. Use proper spellings for words, instead for example of using ‘u’ for ‘you’ or ‘c’ for ‘see’.  If you have to explain how to spell your name, then it might be too confusing.

2. Shorter is better

Consider aiming for six to fourteen characters to the left of the dot. The fewer characters your domain name has, the easier it will be to type, say and share. There is also less risk of losing visitors who might mistype or misspell it.

This also allows more of the URL address to show up in search engine list results, which can help customer quickly find your website.

3. Add keywords to your domain name

Using keywords that describe your business and the products or services you offer can make it easier to recognize the nature of your business.

For example, if you run a specialized cake business, you might want to register a domain name with the words “specialized” and “cakes” in it, depending on your business name. Try to Include keywords that people might enter when searching for your product or service can help improve your search engine results.

4. Mention your location

You may want to consider including your location in your domain name, by choosing a domain name extension for your location, like a domain name, shows customers that you are a business located in the country.  This can be important for customers who would like to do business with companies located in their country.

Whether you add your location before or after the dot, customers will be able to find you geographically more easily. They will know quickly they are dealing with someone based locally and supporting a local business.

5. Avoid numbers and hyphens

Numbers and hyphens can easily confuse. People who heard your domain spoken might not immediately know if you are using a number, or whether the number is spelt out as a word.

Likewise, if you used a hyphen, customers could forget the hyphen and mistype your URL. Or they would remember the hyphen but put it in the wrong place. Either way, the result is the same, a potential customer lost because they could not find your website.

6. Make it unforgettable

With so many businesses online, there is a lot of competition out there. So having a catchy and memorable domain name is essential. An easy-to-remember custom domain name will help to encourage word-of-mouth advertising and help spread your brand faster. If you cannot get your domain name down to one memorable word, you might want to think about joining two words together.

7. Consider all your domain name options

The internet’s been around for decades, but there’s still a strong bias towards choosing a .com domain name extension. So, if you can, you can try and register a .com address.

But if the .com domain name you want isn’t available, a variety of industry-specific domain extensions are available, such as .co, .net, and .news. Some extensions can clearly show the nature of the business such as .photography, .shop, .coffee and .club.

8. Safeguard your brand

To help further protect your brand, consider registering your name with various extensions, as well as misspelt versions of your name, if you think that might be helpful. This can help to prevent competitors from registering different versions of your name, and then using them to pull traffic away from your website.

Once you have found the perfect name(s) for your business, it is important to check that the name is not trademarked or copyrighted by another company. It can also help to check that the name you want is available on social media sites, by checking social media networks to make sure the name is not already taken, and helpful to have the same name across your website and social platforms for consistency.

Musa Suleiman
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