Like a lot of things to do with websites, when it comes to choosing a domain name there are many differing opinions about the best approach. This results in the average business person getting confused about what should be a relatively easy decision. So, if you want some simple, basic advice on choosing a domain, check out what I believe are the six most important factors to consider.
The domain type (e.g. .com, .com.au and .co.uk) is one factor to consider. For the average company doing business in one country, choose the domain type for your country. In Australia, choose .com.au; in England, .co.uk; in the United States, .com. If you think you might go international one day, the .com domain type is definitely a good choice as it’s considered the international domain type.
What if the domain name you want isn’t available in the domain type you want? There are numerous other choices such as .net, .biz and .org but I would advise to consider carefully before choosing these alternatives. Many people assume website addresses will end in .com (or .com.au or .co.uk, etc.) so they may have trouble finding your web address or, worse still, if your competitor has the .com address and you choose the .net address you could be giving your competitor a helping hand.
Keep it simple
In my opinion, simple is definitely best when it comes to domain names. That is, shorter domain names are better than longer, easy to spell names are better than harder to spell ones and easier to remember domain names are better than names that test the memory.
Use your business name
Perhaps an obvious statement but it’s worth highlighting: Use your business name as your domain name. Of course you might want to reconsider this if your business name contains 40 characters but in general if you use your business name people will easily be able to remember your domain name.
Use a keyword
At the risk of getting a bit technical, if you can slip a keyword into your domain name this can be an excellent tactic for getting higher rankings in search engines. For example, if you sell red widgets and you know people will use the keyword phrase ‘red widgets’ to search for a business such as yours in Google or another search engine, having a domain name such as red-widgets.com makes good sense.
Undecided? Register more
The cost to register domain names is relatively inexpensive, so if you are unsure about your domain name register more than one. You may, for instance, want to get your domain name in a variety of different domain types (e.g. mycompany.com.au, mycompany.com and mycompany.co.nz). This is particularly good advice if you think your business may trade in other countries in the future.
Do it now!
Once you’ve come up with a few potential domain names, you need to find out if they are available and many domain name registrars have a facility that can tell you instantly (Google ‘domain name registrar’). Once you know your chosen domain name is available, register it straight away or otherwise you could risk someone else coming along and beating you to it.