Struggling with picking a domain name for your business?
Choosing names is often complicated and deserves hours, if not days, of thought, generating a great deal of internal debate and soul-searching.
For a company it is no less so, especially when you want something short, sweet, catchy, memorable, extraordinarily brandable, easy to spell and pronounce, that can bring glory to your business and make it stand out.
While you may feel tempted to race off and focus on your website design and architecture, this is not the first step you need to take to ensure you start your business on the right foot.
Your domain name is more than just an address for your website, so you need to start by brainstorming domain name ideas and finding the right name that makes people eager to check out your website and share it.
In today’s digital landscape, business success starts with a memorable website, and a memorable website starts with a memorable domain name.
In this post, I’ll explain why your domain name matters and when your domain name should match your business name. I will also give you a quick rundown of seven tips for picking a surefire domain name, so bear with me for the next few minutes.
Table of contents:
- Why a domain name is important for your business
- 7 rules for choosing a winning domain name for your business
1. Why a Domain Name is Important for Your Business
From the way we work to the way we network, the COVID-19 pandemic drove life online. And shopping is no exception.
That’s why one of the most effective ways to attract new leads and convert them into paying customers is through a well-developed, captivating, easy to navigate website. And a domain name is the starting point of building a winning, vibrant online presence.
As a key element for your business identity, your website name must be powerful enough to break through the mountain of marketing messages bombarding consumers in an oversaturated digital space.
Although your domain name alone won’t make you become an overnight success, getting it wrong can have dire consequences and hurt your chances of making your website stand out.
So, if you’re looking to strike gold with your new business idea and turn it into an everlasting success story, you need to start by choosing a winning, SEO-friendly website address that matches your brand.
Here is why your domain name matters:
- Builds credibility and makes your business appear more trustworthy
- Makes your business stand out and separates you from boring domain names (or get-rich-quick scheme websites)
- Influences your SEO efforts by accelerating your search engine placement
- Increases brand visibility and reinforces brand identity
- Helps you get more website traffic
- Short and catchy names are easier to be shared
- Improves brand recognition
Now that you are clear on why you should consider all the background factors that make a domain name successful, let’s explore the essential rules for nailing a smart name that can do wonders for your SEO and brand awareness.
2. 7 Rules for Choosing a Winning Domain Name for Your Business
Before crafting the perfect name for your website, it’s important to know that your domain name doesn’t necessarily need to match your business name.
While a business name is used for identification and legal purposes, a domain name is first and foremost your website’s digital address that people type in the browser URL bar (think: Johnson & Johnson using https://www.jnj.com).
Put simply, your domain name is the neon sign above your virtual store.
As a general rule, your business name and domain name should match if:
- You’ve built strong brand recognition
- Your website is dedicated to your business as a whole, not just a specific service or product
- You’ve achieved a high level of popularity in your industry named your company after yourself.
On the other hand, your business name and domain name should not match if:
- Your business name is long and complicated or difficult to spell
- Your business name contains foreign words that your target market might not understand
- Your website is reflecting a brand that is different from your business registered name
- You’ve chosen a business name that’s similar to a competitor’s name
- You do not want to dedicate your website to your business as a whole, but to specific products or services
With that being said, let’s see the key factors to consider before picking a domain name for your business.
- Keep it short, simple, and easy to spell
Great domain names are short and simple – ideally, ten characters or fewer – and easy to type. Avoid using slang (e.g., u instead of you) or words with multiple spelling (e.g., doughnut and donut).
There will come a time when you’ll have to provide someone with your website address verbally, so make sure your domain name is easy to pronounce and spell.
Bonus tip: Look carefully at “hidden words” inside your domain name. Some of them can be inappropriate or even embarrassing. Bored Panda has published a list of wildly unfortunate website names you may want to check to make sure you avoid an unintended poorly-conceived domain name.
- Choose your domain extension carefully
Your domain extension is the combination of characters that comes after your site’s name. If you’re targeting a global audience, a top-level domain (TLD) such as .com may work just fine.
However, if you’re targeting a specific country, you may want to consider a country code top-level domain (ccTLD), such as .com.au and .net.au for Australia, .sg for Singapore, .co.nz for New Zealand, .ph for the Philippines, etc.
In Australia, most businesses use .com.au domains as they are more popular than .net.au.
Bonus tip: If you want to purchase a .com.au or .net.au web address, make sure you are a commercial entity and have either an Australian Company Number (ACN) or Australian Business Number (ABN) – as specifically mentioned on business.gov.au.
- Use keywords strategically
Google and other search engines use your domain name to understand what your website is about, so it is imperative to include keywords where possible. For example, if you provide laptop repair services, you may want to use a domain name such as laptoprepair.com.
However, note that keyword domains help only to some degree. This is because crazy long, exact match domain names (such as cheap-keyword-keyword-keyword-now.com) may be penalised by search engines, especially if the website doesn’t have high-quality content to support it.
To learn more about the exact match domain penalty added to the Google algorithm, click here.
- Avoid using doubled letters and hyphens
Domain names including doubled letters can lead to typos and, ultimately, reduced site traffic. This is because people may end up on someone else’s website. For example, a domain such as crossselling.com is more typo-prone, which may result in lost traffic.
It is good practice to also avoid hyphens, as they look spammy and are hard to express verbally. Typically, people tend to associate a domain name that includes hyphens with a scam website.
Pot simply, using a dash in your domain name increases the likelihood that your website comes off as unprofessional and tacky.
Bonus tip: In case you get analysis paralysis or lack inspiration, you may also want to use a domain name generator to get clever ideas.
For example, nameboy is one of the most popular domain name generator tools in the world that can help you identify catchy domain names available.
- Protect your brand
To protect your brand, a good rule of thumb is to get various domain extensions, including common misspellings of your domain name.
This will prevent competitors from registering similar domain names and poaching your business, which would lead to customer confusion and, ultimately, lost sales.
Owning multiple domains also helps you prevent user errors by setting up redirects.
Even if your domain name does not include words that are commonly misspelled (see rule no. 1), it’s good practice to purchase misspelled versions of your domain name that capture most errors.
- Test your domain name with consumers
Before you go public with your website name, it’s good practice to test it with your potential customers first.
A good rule of thumb is to apply something called “the radio test” and check if people can spell the name of your website when they hear it.
For example, if an advertisement tells you to visit “business services for you dot com”, how would you spell it? Would you spell it “businessservicesforyou.com”, “businessservices4u.com”, or “businessservices4you.com”?
Can this domain name pass the radio test? By no means.
Ask yourself, “If I heard this domain name, would I be able to spell it?”. Once the name passes your personal review, it’s time to test it with your friends. Ask them in person, via voice text or phone to spell the name of your website.
- Check if the domain name is available
Once you have picked a memorable, catchy name for your website, it is imperative to perform a trademark search and check if your domain name is available.
To do your domain name research, I encourage you to use the business name check tool available on the official website of the Australian Government for Businesses.
This is a critical step you need to take before registering your business website, as you risk facing legal action in case of trademark infringement.
To learn more on how to check if your web address doesn’t infringe upon a registered or pending trademark, click here.
Conclusion: Picking your domain name is one of the first major decisions you’ll make when launching a business and establishing your online presence.
Use the tips in this post to get your creative juices flowing and zone in on the most memorable name for your future business website.
A memorable, brandable, catchy domain name will help you get off to a good start and set the stage for business success.
If you’re looking to give your business a head start and ensure that your new website will have the success you deserve, let B2B HQ lend you a helping hand. We can get your new startup completely set up in under a week and provide it with a permanent business address, domain name, office space, and other essential tools you need to propel it to success. Get our New Business Creation package today and make the first step to achieve the success you’ve always dreamed of!