Sometimes, choosing a domain name for your business is a no-brainer. Your business name may be short, sweet and to-the-point, with a ready-made domain name free and clear and ready to go. Other times, however, you may have a longer business name or a business that doesn’t necessarily translate well to a great domain name. Here are 10 tips for choosing the perfect domain.
1. Check to see what’s available and what’s already being used
If your business is called AA Auto, there is a good chance you are not going to be able to secure aaauto.com as a domain as it will most likely already be in use. You may be able to choose a different domain name extension such as aaauto.biz, but you want to be sure that the business using the aauato.com domain is not a direct competitor. Since .com is still the most commonly used extension, you will simply be driving traffic their way by not coming up with a unique and original domain name of your own.
2. Not too long, not too short
The length of your domain name is very important. Many people will simply find you via search engines, but many may also have to type the domain name into a browser bar. For that reason, you want to keep it somewhat short & sweet. Conversely, you want a domain name that is long enough to be distinctive, due to the millions and millions of online listings available today.
3. Read it all together
Sometimes the combining of words or letters into a single domain can result in unfortunate new words being created. You may be so used to seeing your business or company name that you don’t even realize what the new combination of letters may spell. A good rule on this one is to have a few strangers that are not familiar with your business read your domain name out loud. If they read it properly, you should be in the clear.
4. If you can’t use your name, use something that defines your brand
If your business has a somewhat common name, you may have to go in a different direction entirely with your domain name. You can use a domain that identifies the type of service you offer rather than your business name.
5. Make it easy to read
While your business name may use an ampersand, such as J & M appliances, you can’t use ampersands in domain names, which means your domain would be jnmappliances. Think of your domain as an actual name and choose one that is easy to read. In this case, jandmappliances would be a better choice.
6. Avoid numbers and hyphens
While numbers and hyphens are acceptable to use in domain names, they aren’t advisable. Many times people will skip search engines and just try and type your business name into their browser bar. When you have a number in your domain name, people often don’t know whether to type the number itself or spell it out. Hyphens also make your domain more difficult to access without a search engine.
7. Use the right extension
There are a growing number of domain extensions that can further help you define your business, product or service, such as .photography, .guru or .biz.
8. Don’t forget to check social media
In addition to your domain name, you will most likely want to have the same branding on social media. Before you register your domain name, make sure that the same handles, names and extensions are available on all the social media platforms you plan on using.
9. Check for existing trademarked brands
While the name of your business might be slightly different than a previously trademarked brand, you want to steer clear of them anyway. This is particularly true if they are a major business or corporation. They will most likely have the money and the clout for a costly legal battle, while you may not.
10. Sit with it a while
Take some time to play with some different domain names and sit with them a while before registering one. Remember, you will most likely be saddled with your domain name for years to come, so take the time to get it right the first time around and make sure it’s something you can live with long term.