Will Your New Domain Name Grow With You? These 7 Tips Can Help

Business.com / Marketing Strategy / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Choosing a domain name starts with choosing the name of your business. Take time to pick a great domain name.

The Small Business Administration advises new business owners to make sure the domain name for their business is available when choosing a new business name.

Josh Spiro, a contributor at Inc.com, advises business owners to avoid giving the company their own name and Moz contributing author Rand Fishkin says you should make your domain name intuitive.

Choosing a domain name starts with choosing the name of your business. Taking the time to pick a great domain name can mean more effective marketing and increased traffic to your website. Read below for ways to make deciding on a great domain name easier.

Here are seven tips that will help you choose a domain name that will grow with you in the future.

Related Article: The Essential Checklist: Must Do's When Starting an E-commerce Website

1. Keep it Short

Shorter domain names almost always outperform longer ones. They are easier to remember, spell, and type with fewer errors. Another thing to consider is the fact that each year more and more web users use smart devices to access websites, therefore using a smaller screen. Long, wordy URLs can get cut off and become confusing. So a short, but memorable, domain is the way to go.

Carlton Smith, of Flagstone Search Marketing, says:

There are other pragmatic reasons for a short domain, even if it’s not a direct cause of popularity.

  • Short names fit onto printed material more easily
  • In the age of mobile, the fewer letters there are to type in, the better
  • Short tends to be easier to remember

2012 Data Genetics study says the most common length for dot-com URLs is 12 characters while the most common length for dot-net URLs is 10 characters.

Chart: Distribution of .com domain name

2. Don’t Be Too Clever

Quirky or clever names may play well into your brand, but they can spell disaster for your online traffic. If a name is too confusing, contains too many words, or words with multiple spellings. people will have a hard time finding your website, which is the last thing you want when trying to run a business. The easiest way to ensure people get to your site is choosing a word or phrase with only one possible spelling.

Related Article: The Name Game: Strategies for Naming a Company and Picking a Website

3. Eliminate Numbers and Hyphens

Your domain should be a single word or one set of words free of numbers and hyphens. Domains with numbers and hyphens not only appear to lack Internet credibility, it is also difficult to verbally communicate those types of names.This can severely limit word-of-mouth marketing. When people hear these types of URLs it is unclear if there are hyphens present and if the numbers are written out or numeric.

4. Extensions Matter

A June 2016 ICANN report that measured consumer attitudes toward the domain name system states "consumers were most aware of .COM (95 percent), .NET (88 percent) and .ORG (83 percent)."  Since dot-com still reigns supreme as the most credible and widely used extension, it is a good place to start; however, it can be a lot harder to capture your desired dot-com domain than it was 10 years ago.

If someone else owns the dot-com of your domain, you can expect many of your customers to end up there first before realizing it is not the right website. If you’re lucky enough to snag a dot-com, it is a good idea to purchase the rights to the .org, .net, and, .uk versions to avoid future management issues.

5. Consider How Your Domain Looks

According to a recent Pew Research report, "87 percent of adults use the Internet across 11 advanced economies."  Keep in mind that customers are accessing your site on varying screen sizes. Long URLs can get cut off, look messy and can be hard to read on smaller screens. Another thing to avoid is doubling up on letters, two of the same letters back to back can be confusing to read and comprehend. Immediate comprehension is crucial in the world of online commerce.

6. Make It Brandable

A brand is one of the most important aspects of a company. Your brand name will most likely be on everything you produce. It’s how customers recognize you and what you stand for as a company. So if you are lucky enough to snag a domain with your brand name with a dot-com extension, it would be best to purchase it quickly.

Doing this can help attract more customers to your website because typing your brand’s name into a search engine is the first logical step your customers would make when looking for your website. Branding your domain builds credibility for your website, it helps your website appear more professional, and it makes your website easier to remember.

Related Article:Who Are You? Powerful Brand Building Tips for New Businesses

7. Leave Room for Growth

When picking a domain name, you need to look to the future. It’s important not to pigeonhole your company into something so specific that it would become a nightmare to change if your company’s services or goods expand. For example, it is best to leave specific state or city names out of your domain unless it will always be vital to your brand. It’s best to find a happy medium between too generic and too specific; strike a compromise that helps your business in the now, but leaves space for change in the future.

Conclusion

Choosing a great domain name may seem like a daunting task, but taking the time in the beginning to consider an easy-to-spell domain with branding potential, and enough room to grow, will pay off in the long run.

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