Choosing a Domain Name

A domain name is your website’s address on the internet- what people type to get to your site. A cleverly chosen domain name can help drive organic traffic to your website.  Domain names sell quickly, so register your favorite one fast. Luckily, they are pretty inexpensive. If you definitely love an available name, go ahead and register it. The best domain name is a unique and memorable domain that also tells people what the website is about. Strive for domain names that are short, easy to remember, easy to type, and easy to say.

A higher quality domain name speaks to a higher quality brand. It’s how people talk about your business, how they find you on the internet, and how they will remember you. More than anything, you want your domain name to tell the story of your business – one of trust, reliability and longevity.

Wired.com

For helping professionals, a common strategy can be to register your own name (in whatever form available) as your domain name initially. Many clients will find your website by typing your name into Google anyway. Then if you come up with something catchy in the future it can be added easily as a parked domain. Same webpage, new way to find it, and no reason to get “stuck” waiting for perfection. This strategy is not necessarily ideal for every type of business, but it’s definitely a good option for sole-proprietors and professionals where branding centers largely on you personally, and the professional services you offer.

Your website will be the first thing visitors see about your business.  If it is professional looking and eye-catching, this will leave a lasting impression. If your domain name sounds too silly or obnoxious, this may send readers running!  The right name can set you apart and even help your site show up higher in search engine results.  

What happens if a domain name you want is already taken? You can try to look up the owner of the domain name and buy it from them.  This can get costly. For a new business it is much more cost effective to try and come up with an alternative name. 

Choose a good domain name right from the start; it can be costly and time consuming to change your name later. You can also lose search engine traffic and appear wishy-washy to clients. 

Don’t be afraid to brainstorm lots of name ideas and try not to get your heart set on one particular name. Use a relevant keyword in your domain name , IF IT MAKES SENSE, but don’t sound too generic or spammy.  Combine keywords in different orders and experiment with different ideas.

Shorter is better.  People won’t want to type out long domain names and the potential for errors or misspellings become greater. Make your name easy to pronounce and spell- you will be telling it to people at networking and CEU events!

.”com” is the best choice, if available.  Most people will assume your website ends with .com and will type that in anyway.

If you already have a business name, use that for your domain name. Don’t confuse people.

Panabee is a tool for quickly checking whether a specific domain name is still available as a username on popular social media platforms.

Research other websites in your field to see what website names they are using. Avoid numbers or hyphens.  People may not know whether to use the number or type out the number.  Likewise, they may not remember whether to put in the hyphen and wind up on another site. Also, some social media sites don’t allow hyphens in their usernames. Try not to use words that have multiple spellings, or double letters.

Leave yourself room to expand.  It is smart to choose a name related to your specific niche, but try not to limit yourself in regards to future expansion.  For example, you may want to focus on selling tulips initially and name your site “TulipTalk.com” but this will be a mistake when you later want to expand to selling all sorts of flowers. 

Whenever you have a nice domain name idea and you’re just about to register it, don’t forget to check for trademarks. Simply google the name and look through all of the first and second-page results. What you’re looking for are businesses that already use this name and operate in a similar market or niche.  You can also use a trademark search site or look directly at the U.S. Patents and Trademark Office.

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