Choosing A Domain Name: Important Factors to Consider

October 26, 2015 Trish Leighton

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It’s no secret that businesses need a strong online presence to be successful. When you’re ready to go online, it all starts with the domain name. In this two-part series, the folks at SnapNames walk us through some of the most important factors to consider when choosing a domain name for your business, and why they matter.

Choosing a domain name is arguably one of the most important steps in starting any business. There are many reasons why choosing a great domain name will benefit you and your company for years to come. But with hundreds of millions of domain names already taken, and just as many options for new ones, how do you know a good one when you see it? We have a few tried-and-true tips to help you along the way, and advice on what to do if the perfect name is already taken.

Domain Name Length

You want to be sure that your domain name is easy to remember. Extremely long domain names or ones that contain several dashes along the way, can be frustrating for people to type into the address bar of their browser, and are subject to errors. Dot’s Bakery in Manhattan, for example, would be much better served by taking a domain name like www.DotsBakery.com rather than www.dots-cookies-cake-shop.com

Keywords

It’s safe to assume that you want your website to be found easily if people are searching for your services. Most searchers won’t go to pages 3 or 4 on Google when they are looking for something specific. One of the best ways to get your website to appear higher on the search results is to have a domain name that contains the keyword a searcher may be looking for. Going back to Dot’s Bakery, the work “bakery” in her domain name already puts her in a good position to rank well in search results, if someone in NYC types “bakery” into their search bar.

Geotargeting

This is important for local businesses that cater to a specific area, and those that have brick-and-mortar stores where customers can visit. Google can tell where a person is when they’re searching for something and will generally pull up local results automatically. But you can double down on the local search by also including a geographical location in your domain name. Although it’s better to have a shorter and more concise domain name, than to make sure you add a town name to it, it does come in handy for someone like Dot and her bakery in Manhattan. www.DotsBakeryNYC.com would most certainly outrank www.dots-cookies-cake-shop.com based on the domain name alone.

Protect Your Brand

Once you have established your business name and found a great domain name, it’s time to protect your real estate. Competition is fierce and the last thing you want is a competitor trying to leverage your success by purchasing a domain name that is close to yours. Although there are laws that protect a company’s trademarked business name when it comes to domain names, it’s easier to protect yourself from the beginning. Find variations of your domain name, like www.DotsBakeryManhattan.com or www.DotsNYCBakery.com and don’t forget about the “Not-Coms”! Different domain name extensions are becoming popular. You would be wise to buy both the .net and the .biz versions, and look into specific related extensions, as well. In Dot’s case, is there an extension “.bakery” yet? If not, make a mental note to keep checking. DotsBakery.nyc is a valuable domain name for Dot, both from a branding and local search perspective.

Now that you know what makes a great domain name, what do you do when the one you want is not available? Make sure you come back for part 2 of the series, when SnapNames talks about your options for securing a domain name that is already taken.

Author information

Trish Leighton

Trish Leighton

Trish Leighton is the Marketing Manager for SnapNames, a Web.com company. She lives in Jacksonville, FL, with her husband and their three cats. In her free time, she enjoys reading, making jewelry, and shouting out the answers during Jeopardy.

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