You just started a business and are looking to develop a website for your company. What do you do now? Pick a domain name.
Your domain name is the word or phrase that users type into the search bar to visit your website. You might call it the URL (although this is slightly different).
This is everything typed after the www. It does include the .com or .org but does not include anything after the slash like /about/ or /contact/.
For example, Techno Goober’s domain name is technogoober.com.
Domain Names are an Investment
Investing in domain names will help your company begin developing an online presence, which will contribute to your success down the road.
We call it an investment because you don’t buy your name outright. You purchase access to it for about one year like renting a parking space in a parking garage.
When should you invest in domain names? Make sure to purchase your domain names early in your business’s lifetime. Domain names get better with time, like aged fine wine.
What if you aren’t ready to focus on online shopping or marketing? Your business will benefit from having an online presence down the road when you want it.
If you wait too long to begin establishing your online presence, your business will be playing catch-up with other brands.
When buying domains, you are investing in your online presence for many years to come. Think ahead. Use this guide to pick and purchase the perfect domain name for your business.
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Picking a Domain Name
When picking your domain name, there are a number of things to consider.
- Sounds Like
Keep it Short and Descriptive
Your ideal domain name is short and easy to remember. Consider your business name. If your name is one or two words, use your business name. If you name is longer than 2 words, consider picking one word or shortening it.
Longer names are harder to remember, and users may be more likely to misspell them. Keep it short and memorable.
URLs should strive to never be longer than 100 characters. A URL includes everything after the .com part.
If your name is on the longer side, then it may be more difficult to keep your full URL shorter than 100 characters. That’s almost as long as the old tweet length.
For reference, this is what a 100 character URL would look like: https://www.technogoober.com/we-didnt-think-before-we-created-a-url-this-long-and-its-101-characters/
But remember, the URL includes everything. So a 100 character URL could also look like this: https://www.technogoober.com/blog/what-not-to-do/long-things/101-character-urls-are-bad-ideas-always/
Keep it Easy to Spell
When working with a domain name, the most important part is the ability of the user to spell it. Business names that are easy to misspell may require a little extra work on your part.
Consider for a moment that your business uses your last name, like Marriati’s Plumbing. Your domain name might then be marriatiplumbing.com.
For users that might not be able to remember how to spell your last name, you might need to consider purchasing additional domains. (Yes, you can have more than one!)
In this example, you might also purchase mariatiplumbing.com and marriatisplumbing.com. Your friendly pals at Techno Goober will ensure that all of the domain names redirect to one domain name.
Does Your Domain Name Sound Like Something Else?
Perhaps one of the more amusing (and annoying) problems you may have when choosing a domain name is its likeness to another word or domain.
Ensuring your domain name is as unique as possible contributes to brand recognition. Remember our plumber example?
What if Mr. Marriati were to go into business with Mr. Marshall. Would M&M Plumbing have strong brand recognition?
Not only should you double check your brand recognition, but you should also check for similar spellings that aren’t for sale.
Take this for example. We had a very sweet client come in for a quote on a website design. Their domain name was one letter off from an adult entertainment website.
Out loud, there was no noticeable difference between their name and the other website. A user would only know to add the extra letter if they saw the URL written down.
Finally, try saying the name aloud a few times. Write it down and ask others to read it aloud too. You might catch some slip of the tongue that you never heard before.
Add a Keyword
Your domain name is not as closely linked to SEO as you might think, but adding your primary keyword in will help with brand recognition and click-through rate on Google. (For more information on SEO, ask our experts at Techno Goober.)
When purchasing your domain name, consider adding an industry or location-based keyword. Mr. Marriati added the industry keyword “plumbing.” This helps users determine what exactly Mr. Marriati’s business is on the internet.
If Mr. Marriati wanted to become more competitive, he might consider buying delawareplumbing.com. That domain is already purchased though with a high price to turn it over (see more information under Keep the Competition at Bay).
Instead, Mr. Marriati chooses to purchase miltonplumbing.com. This might give him an advantage with searches for plumbing in Milton.
Keep in mind, some spam blockers will block websites with certain words in their domain names.
Suppose Mr. Marriati wanted to purchase sussexcountyplumbing.com. While “Sussex County” may seem harmless, spam blockers consistently flag the ending “sex” in “Sussex” as spam.
Make Sure the Price is Right
You pay for access to your domain name like a parking spot in a crowded parking garage. Most domains cost around $15-$25 annually. Sometimes you can receive discounts when purchasing more than one at the same time.
However, some names are more expensive. Like the first parking spot in the garage, these names are more competitive.
Your average marriatisplumbing.com may not cost much, but Mr. Marriati’s miltonplumbing.com might cost a little more each year because it is more competitive.
Purchasing Your Domain Name
When you think you have an idea about what you’d like to use, it’s time to head to GoDaddy.
GoDaddy is the parking attendant of the garage where all the domain names are stored. It will sell you access for a set period of time. We recommend purchasing your name for one year.
Start at GoDaddy.com. Search your desired domain name or names. You will very quickly determine if your name is available or not. Remember, we recommend purchasing several variants as well.
When you find the names you think will work best, you can add them to your cart. Next, you will need to register an account with GoDaddy in order to purchase the domain names and begin using them for your website. The process of assigning your website to the new URL may be slightly more complicated than this blog post is prepared to explain.
To skip this part of the process, Techno Goober can purchase and manage your domain names for you. We will handle renewing your domains annually, so you never lose access to your website.
Keep the Competition at Bay
When purchasing your domain names, you’ll want to consider your competition too. Start by researching your industry.
Mr. Marriati would search for plumbing and plumbers in his area. After determining what kind of competition he might have,
When doing your research, you can start by searching your industry, your business name, and variants on Google.
If you are in a competitive industry, or if your competitors are playing hardball, they might purchase common misspellings of your name, and direct those to their own site.
Don’t give them the chance. Ensure you purchase similar domain names to avoid competitive side-glances.
You might also choose to play hardball and purchase additional domain names to give yourself the competitive advantage.
Consider buying domains that include competitive keywords like Mr. Marriati’s miltonplumbing.com.
If a competitor buys a similar domain name, you can sometimes entice them to sell it to you. But it will cost you.
Remember, you don’t own domain names. You purchase the right to use them, and they can be priced outrageously depending on the competition.
Don’t Bother with Additional Extensions
When purchasing the .com version of your domain name, it may be tempting to also purchase the .org and .net version as well.
These can be sound investments to ward off any slimy competition. You might even find that they benefit your business when users accidentally type in the wrong version.
However, when Go Daddy offers you discounts on the .biz, .us or .xyz versions, DON’T BOTHER. Name the last time you ever visited a website with the ending .xyz? Probably never.
These extensions are pretty useless, and you’ll probably overpay considering there is no competition.
Sure they are available, and someone someday might use them. But for now, they aren’t mainstream.
Get a Goober
Does All of This Sound Like Too Much Work? If buying a domain name seems intimidating, trust Techno Goober to help. We can advise you on what names to purchase, what keywords to include, and even what your competition is doing.
Call 302-645-7177 for a free consultation today. You can also contact us online to schedule your free quote.