Whether you’re starting a new company, building a new website, creating a new brand or just trying to establish an existing brand online – you will need a domain name. Domain names are crucial to your digital presence as they represent your brand online. Choosing the right web address for your website is important, for both your target audience and search engines.
Because it’s so central to your online identity, we would recommend purchasing a domain name in the initial stages of naming your business. That way, you can check its availability BEFORE you settle on a business name. With that in mind, here’s 5 things to consider before you buy your new domain.
1. Keep It Simple
You want your domain to be both memorable and easy to type. When you tell people your web address, they should know how to type it without explanation. This means you should try to avoid odd spellings and characters, multiple hyphens and numbers. Additionally, using words with multiple spellings could also confuse visitors – in this case you could purchase both spellings and have a website redirect.
Shorter domain names are preferable as they are easier to remember and quicker to type. Although you should try not to include something cryptic or slang that not everyone would understand or could go out of fashion – as you want it to be relevant in 10 years-time. Also, even if you do not intend to do business internationally, your web address should be readable around the world – this will make it easier for your local audience to understand too.
Another thing to consider is the wording of your domain name, think about it as a sequence of words and letters in a sequence, rather than as separate words. You don’t want to be embarrassed when people see your web address on a business card or email address (such as Pen Island).
2. Be Original
You want to set your brand out from your competitors, so make sure you don’t buy a domain name that’s too similar to an existing site. Even if terms are not trademarked it is not recommended as this could lead to the potential loss of customers. This includes:
- Plurals of words if the singular is taken
- Hyphenating a phrase
- Adding prepositions such as ‘my’ or ‘the’
Alternatively, you may consider purchasing some of these variations and setting them up to redirect to your own website.
3. Shop Around
Your domain is the most important part of your online presence and it’s your responsibility to choose the best one for your business. Though, whatever web address you choose, make sure to pick a trustworthy domain registrar.
Most domain registrars offer lower prices for the first term – some packages even offer you the address free for the first year. Do not focus only on the first year’s registration discount offer, check what is the renewal price after the first year. More often than not, domain renewal prices are much higher than the initial registration price. If you’re planning to keep the same website for long time, a cheap renewal price can save you hundreds in the long run.
4. Pick a Top-Level Domain (TLD)
Most people believe that all website address’ end in .com. If you decide to buy one with another extensions (.net, .info, .org, etc.), you may be giving yourself extra work getting your customers to remember your site. Hence, it’s advisable to choose the .com extension if it’s available.
If you are opposed to using .com, many websites use other extensions with success. Additionally, if your website will primarily cater to a local audience, you could consider going for a local TLD. For instance, if the majority of your target audience reside in the UK, how about getting a .co.uk address?
5. Don’t Forget About Social Media
Once you’ve picked your domain, check to see if the word or phrase you’ve chosen is available on social media channels. Even if you’re not ready to branch out onto social media, it’s good to know you have the option. The easiest route would be to use the same phrase on each network.
Remember, word of mouth is a very powerful marketing tool. When considering a domain, you want to make it as easy as possible for your customers to tell their friends about your website.