Are you starting a new online project?
Have you put any thought into the name of your website?
The cornerstone of your entire online marketing equation lies in the choices you make for the selection of a domain name for your new website.
Selecting a powerful domain name can help you capitalize on your unique piece of real estate online.
It also provides you with a chance to say a lot about your business at an initial glance.
In this post, we take a deeper look at some of the considerations that any business should take to help choose a strategically relevant domain name for a business online.
In the 21st Century, there is more competition online than ever before.
Instead of grabbing the first website name that comes to mind for your next online venture, take a moment to explore some of the critical factors that can help your business choose a powerful starting point for your entire web presence.
The Name of your Business/Brand
At first glance, this option seems like an obvious choice. Yet, oftentimes this idea is overlooked as businesses try to shorten, change or add to a business name for purposes of a website domain.
Brand recognition online starts with the power of your domain name. One way to create brand recognition for a business of any type is to simply name your domain the same thing as your official business name.
Choosing this option allows a business to create a consistent presentation of your company’s message at a root level with every visit, email or mention of your business website.
Having your brand or business name as the domain of your website provides a few great opportunities.
First, every visitor to your website creates a small bit of brand recognition from the moment your domain is typed into a web browser. Having each page of your company website start with your business name followed by .com sets the stage for an understanding of your business by both visitors and search engines alike.
Next, having your business name in your domain provides an opportunity for consistent brand recognition of your business via the use of company branded email accounts.
Being able to use email addresses like email@example.com, along with personalized versions like Robert@yourcompany.com, ensures that every outgoing email cultivates a consistent message of who you are as a business.
But, there are a few pitfalls to watch out for when selecting your business or brand name as your domain extension.
Notably, it’s critical to keep an eye on the length of your domain. For example, if your name is “Smith Industrial Manufacturing Services of America”, you may want to think about a different domain name than smithindustrialmanufacturingservicesofamerica.com.
Keep in mind that often times your domain will be typed into web address bars, or worse, told over telephones on business calls.
Ask yourself, would you take the time to type that address into a web browser?
Can you easily spell or relate the domain name in passing to someone without a notepad?
If the answer is no, then you can be sure that the length of your fully branded business name domain is simply too long.
Think about popular branded domain names. Businesses like Banana Republic (bananarepublic.com), GAP (gap.com), BestBuy (bestbuy.com), & Barnes and Noble (barnesandnoble.com) use straight forward domains that clearly identify their websites. They provide a brand consistency that is clear at first glance while providing recognition that is necessary for a brand to thrive.
The other challenge that a branded domain name can present relates specifically to the availability of domains. With everyone in our digital society connected to the internet, domains that are competitive are in most cases already purchased.
Add further competition to the equation if your business name is more generic. For example, if you run a local accounting service and your last name is Smith, don’t expect “SmithAccounting.com” to be available for sale.
As more and more domains are registered every day, competition forces businesses to think further outside the box in terms of domain name registrations.
Keywords for Organic Optimization Strategies
Thinking ahead to potential search engine optimization campaigns for your business?
You’re not alone! Choosing a domain that is built around specific, targeted keywords can help any owner/operator get a leg up on local and niche-specific competition online.
Remember us saying that a domain name is the cornerstone of any business online?
Choosing the right keywords for your domain name starts with keyword research.
This is particularly true if you’re targeting specific keywords at the root level of your website.
One of the multitudes of factors for SEO includes the structure of URL’s on your company website. Choosing the right link structure that is laden with valuable keyword targeting can be an effective hack for businesses in a multitude of industries.
It all starts with keyword research
If you’re planning on heading in the direction of utilizing keywords in your domain name, the first step is conducting thorough research on potential keywords to expose potential opportunities for use in your final domain choice.
Free tools like Google’s Keyword Planner can help owners/operators determine powerful choices for targeted keywords.
While researching, keep an eye out for two types of keywords in particular.
First, look out for keywords that further explain or detail your top services and solutions. If you’re a sports store, you may want to research the keyword variants that include “sports”, “sport”, “athletics”, “sport store” etc, to determine the best opportunities in your targeted demographic.
Next, if you’re a local service, be on the lookout to add location-based keywords to give your domain an extra dose of local SEO juice in the root of your web presence.
Keep in mind that choosing to include a city in your domain can pigeon-hole your business to that specific target demographic as you grow into new locations and service areas.
Finding a good balance between effective long-tail keywords for use in your domain name and a domain looking overly keyword-stuffed can be a fine line.
Use caution to confirm any potential option with your inner circles to make sure that the website domain name options don’t look too unnatural with targeted keywords included.
Using keywords in your domains can help future SEO campaigns.
But, any business must use good judgment to discern whether the keywords you had to use, don’t sabotage the entire strategy of your website.
.com? .net? .us? Top-level domains and Taking advantage of other extensions
Are you committed to a .com for your project?
As a business owner, are you aware of other domain extensions available that may be more valuable to the long-term strategy of your business online?
While most people think “.com” when they talk about domain names, there are a multitude of other options available to business owners worldwide that may be a better fit for a new business model.
Choosing the right domain name extension can be critical.
Thinking outside the .com norm
With so many domain extensions, it’s easy to explore a variety of possible options for a domain that doesn’t end in .com.
These other extensions have much more domain availability and can often explain your unique business and services more accurately.
A quick look at other domain extensions offers good insight into why a business owner would want to take advantage of other popular extensions.
- .net – Perfect for a Network or start-up.
- .org – For organizations that aren’t corporations, or maybe even some that are
- .club – Perfect for clubs or private groups
- .us – Perfect for American based companies
Considering newer extensions
In recent years new domain extensions have been released as an alternative to traditional extensions.
As more demand for alternative domains becomes the norm, domain registrars have released new and exciting extensions targeted at specific industries, keywords and niches.
Some of these extensions can provide a great, fresh perspective for businesses looking for the perfect domain choice. Some of these extensions include:
- and many more!
You can find a full list of new and exciting domains at your favorite registrar. Here’s Godaddy’s list.
Email address length
Always remember to consider your email addresses when choosing your domain name. We all write emails. Other than texting or internal company chats, it’s still business’s official method of written communication.
What’s the one thing that every email address includes?
A domain name!
Whether you use Hotmail, Gmail or yourcompany.com, your email address utilizes a domain name to serve and route mail to you.
When starting new web projects, business owners can overlook that every company email account will, in most cases, use their domain as an address.
This is a critical component of choosing any domain for a potential web build. Since you and your employees will inevitably need to use email addresses on company branding (including business cards) and in conversation, it’s important to consider these implications when first choosing your company’s domain.
Your email address shouldn’t necessarily be your first consideration when choosing a domain name.
But, a comprehensive approach to the planning of your digital marketing blueprint should include a discussion to highlight this important consideration.
The next important consideration for any business to consider for inclusion in their domain name relates to service areas and geographical location.
In some cases, especially those where a local city or service area is the primary focus of a business, including geographical keywords for inclusion in a company domain name can be a winning strategy.
Geographical Considerations on DomainsAs discussed above, targeting a specific service area in your domain can have a positive impact on Local SEO considerations.
Utilizing a city-specific targeting strategy in your domain requires an in-depth look at keyword research to determine what variants provide the most optimal opportunities for your specific industry.
It’s also possible to utilize location-based keywords as a part of sub-domain strategies, but that’s another story altogether!
Industry-Specific Domain Considerations
The industry that your business is in probably says a lot about your business. Especially at first glance.
Whether you are in car sales or web design, your unique industry provides a unique perspective of categorization in terms of businesses online.
Like any other keywords, determining what industry-related keywords would be the best fit for use in your primary domain name requires some research to identify powerful opportunities.
Combining keywords from your industry into your primary domain can have a few advantages if done correctly.
First and foremost, for future SEO purposes, you can help to identify the primary mission of your unique business.
Including an identifying term like “mechanic” or “car care” along with an identifying portion of your company name can provide valuable context for visitors and powerful relevance for search engines.
Like most other keyword first domain names, be cautious with what you choose to include in your domain from your industry. Being too niche-specific can create headaches for your business if you offer a variety of associated services.
Choosing a domain like “bocaratoncarsales.com” when your business also provides mechanic, repair and custom car build services can restrict how visitors view you while limiting your potential local reach.
Before committing to a domain that focuses on an industry-specific keyword, be sure that you’ve looked at all the potential implications of the long term strategy of your business.
Make it Memorable
Want to make a powerful first impression?
In today’s competitive online climate, picking a quirky or smart domain can be the difference between success and failure as an online start up.
This is especially true if your new website promotes new technology, app, or digital product.
Think about some of the popular websites you visit with absolutely unique domain names.
From Ebay to Paypal, Facebook to Google, big internet businesses broke the mold for creating buzz from the power of a good domain name.
As a small business owner in today’s digital landscape, the sky is the limit in terms of what’s possible in domain names.
Think outside of the box and create yourself a piece of digital real estate that will make a solid impression on your visitors, fans and potential customers.
Buying a premium domain name
Premium Domain Registrations are not for the faint of heart or businesses short on budget.
Sometimes having the right domain name can make all the difference.
Often times when that’s the case, a premium domain name may be necessary to accomplish your business’ long term online goals.
A premium domain is a domain that is owned or previously registered. These domains typically cost much more than the usual domain registration, with many being sold at auction.
For the typical small businesses, most times a premium domain is totally out of the question. Why pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for a domain for a local service?
But for the national brand or start-up looking to make a splash in a competitive market, a premium domain strategy may be the perfect course of action to make a difference.
One word of caution for any start-up is to keep in mind that the purchasing of a domain is only the first step on a long road of online marketing. Don’t overspend to get that perfect domain.
With all the options available to websites for domain names today, be sure that the money you spend for your premium domain matches a refined strategy and business plan for long term success online.
Beware of unintended meanings
Are you sure that the domain name you’re considering is giving off the right impression to visitors?
One final tip for any prospective domain name buyer is to take a second look at your domain before pushing that “purchase” button.
Sometimes in the heat and excitement of picking out your new piece of digital real estate, it can be easy to overlook unintended, or hidden meanings in your domains.
This can be especially true if you choose to work with abbreviations or shortenings within the structure of your domains.
For your own peace of mind be sure to take that second look at your final domain choice to rule out any potential errors.
Purchasing your primary domain name for a new online venture can be an exciting endeavor.
As the cornerstone of your digital presence, your domain name does more at first glance than any other factor of your website.
With a solid domain strategy, your business can capitalize on brand awareness, meaning and potential keyword strategy all in one fell swoop.
As with any new digital marketing strategy, there are things to consider and look out for when choosing your domain name.
By following this guide and asking yourself some critical questions before you commit to your domain strategy, your new web presence can get started on the right foot.
Bought a domain recently? Let us know some of the other ideas that you used to filter options down to your final choice!