When I moved to Lewis County, it was easy to fall in love with the sense of community, the outdoor activities, even the drastic change in seasons. It was harder to get used to how people sometimes give directions to new places. Friends would be overly descriptive about the hills, turns, trees, and other landmarks. A bonus challenge? Sometimes the landmarks would be buildings that had since been torn down or remodeled.
When I’m going to a new place, I want an address and clear directions from Google Maps. Not an adventure.
A website domain – the unique address for your company’s website – should provide the same adventure-free experience as driving to a friend’s house. Be welcoming. Easy to find. A place that encourages people to visit, again and again. As one of the most defining elements of your brand, there can be a lot of pressure when choosing a domain.
If it makes sense to do so, use the company name as the domain. You can also consider keywords or geographic identifiers to clearly showcase who you are. Just remember: SEO matters, but people matter more. Make it easy to spell, and avoid made up words or slang. You want people to remember your website when they’re searching for it later.
It would be fun to have a website called www.themostdeliciousfrenchfriesinnorthernnewyork.com, but jebsrestaurant.com is much easier to type ;)
Words matter, especially when the real estate of a website domain is so precious. People forget about hyphens and don’t know if they should type out numbers or spell them. Search engines forget about stop words – small words like the, a, of, to, up… Your domain should be easy to include on printed materials, share on social media, and slip into a conversation with a potential customer. Shine the spotlight on a few important words.
IMHO, acronyms can be confusing and hard to remember, UNLESS you are a part of that company or organization and use it all the time. OAN, acronyms get even more confusing when you notice that some organizations add the stop words and others do not. TBH, IRL using entire words is more memorable. MTFBWY.
There are a lot of websites out there! Look up possible domain names to make sure your top choices are still available. It is also valuable to check common typos and alternative spellings. If the perfect URL is already taken, it may be possible to purchase it from the current owner, but expect to pay a high premium. If the business name is not available, consider some descriptive words that might promote what you do.
Before you register a domain, check to make sure that same name is available on any social media platforms you intend to use. Choose something that works consistently. You want to avoid having www.coolwebsite.com and then someone searches that same phrase on Facebook, only to find… someone else's company! NOT cool. Research all the places you might use your domain, and be consistent on all of the platforms.
Your business name plus a good ol’ .com may suffice. But it may be beneficial to have multiple domains, all pointing to the same website. Maybe your established (and unchangeable) business name is frequently misspelled. Maybe you want to use www.pineapple.pizza (a real option!) on marketing materials, but know that customers will end up looking for a more common top-level domain (TLD). This is the end of the domain name. You’ve seen .com, .org, .gov, and others.
The nonprofit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (also a real thing!) manages an extensive list of other options. So, if you want pineapple.pizza, you should also buy pineapplepizza.com.
You might think candystore.biz is a good name because it is not taken. However, if someone else has candystore.com, you are probably just going to drive traffic to them. AVOID competing with your domain name by researching other variations.