As the need for small businesses to have an online presence increases, it’s essential that small business owners learn the best practice for building a website for their business. One of the first steps you have to decide on is choosing a domain name. This blog post will explain what a domain is, and guide you through the process of choosing one.
In its most basic sense, a domain name is the address of your website’s location on the internet. Before the internet, we’d look for products and services in the yellow pages and find the physical location of a business. Nowadays, we search for these businesses online.
The difference between an online address and a physical geography is that online locations are distinguished by keywords rather than street names. While the name of a physical address may not be relevant to the services offered, the domain name is chosen by the business owners and can include the business’s name and or functions.
There are 3 important technical elements that small business owners should understand about choosing domain names:
When you pay for a domain name, you are paying for the service of routing searches of the domain name to your actual website. Consequently, you’re technically not actually purchasing the domain name, but only renting out the routing services. This is why you have to continue renewing your ownership of the domain name.
Once you pay for a domain name, you don’t have to pay for every webpage that is added onto your website. The various webpages (“About Us,” “Contact Us,” Etc.) are different URLs, but they are all owned under the domain name you choose. As a result, each one shows up as an extension of your domain name. The domain name is the text that precedes the “.com,” while the extension is described by the text that follows the suffix. For example, Thrivehive’s contact page is not “thrivehivecontact.com” but rather “thrivehive.com/contact.”
The top level domain is the suffix at the end of a domain name (i.e. .com or .org). Each one means something different, and can help audiences distinguish what type of company owns the domain name. For example, while .gov indicates that the website is owned by a government agency, .org typically identifies non-profit organizations. You may also see abbreviations for countries as the top level domain, which indicates where the business is based. The most common top level domain, .com, is used for commercial businesses.
Since there are millions of small businesses on the internet, finding a domain name that is both appropriate and available can be challenging. The following tips will guide you through the process of choosing a domain name for your small business.
Domain names are most successful when they are easy to type. The usability of a domain name can depend on two things; how easy it is to spell the domain name, and how easy it is to pronounce it.
There are a few ways to ensure the usability of your domain name. First, avoid hyphens, underscores, and numbers (basically, avoid anything that isn’t letters). Visitors have an easier time guessing the possible domain name of a business when the website name consists solely of words.
When choosing the words for your domain name, you should avoid slang, and alternative spelling. For example, do not replace “you” with “u.” In avoiding these options, you increase the chances of creating a single possible spelling of the domain name. Try to generate a domain name that will cause the least confusion and doubt.
While different suffixes allow you the option of registering under various top level domains, your best bet is to stick with the “.com.” Many people have formed the habit of typing what they’re looking for, and simply adding a “.com” at the end. Small business owners who attract leads through this tactic generate “type-in traffic.”
Another benefit of registering your domain name under “.com” is the credibility boost that this option carries. This top level domain is the most widely accepted, and will help to establish your reputation.
To increase your website traffic, you can also purchase domain names that are similar to the one you choose. That way, if someone happens to misspell your domain name, you can redirect it to the correct address.
As previously mentioned, domain names are usually composed of key words that identify a website. Search engines like Google and Bing use the words from domain names to determine their location on search pages. For example, if I Google “Houston chiropractor” and these words are somewhere in your domain name, your chances of appearing on the first page of Google’s search results increase.
A technique that can help improve the SEO of your domain name is to include words related to your industry, or your area. As a small business, having these key words in your domain name can be highly beneficial.
Just like your logo or company name, your website identity also contributes to your small business’s branding efforts. If you choose a memorable domain name, people will type it into their search bars rather than discovering your competitors through search engines.
To make your domain name memorable, it is important that you keep the name as short as possible. While including key words in your domain name could help with SEO, the rule of thumb is to keep your domain name as short as you can.
When it comes to branding, simplicity is key. People will remember your domain name if you make it simple enough to remember; choose wisely.
With these tips in mind, you can now use the various online tools to help you brainstorm possible domain names. Here are some sites that ThriveHive developers recommend:
This website allows you to type in either your business’s name or key words you’d like to include in your domain, and it will generate a list of available options. For example, let’s say that I have a cupcake shop. When I type in “Laura cupcakes,” I can see that Lauracupcakes.com isn’t available, but the site showed me options like mylauracupcakes.com or lauracupcakesUSA.com.
Not only does this website generate possible domain names for your business using keywords, but it also categorizes your options. For people who know whether they want to focus on branding or SEO, this tool helps to separate the different strategies and possibilities. One of the categories is “synonyms,” and the site will find domain names that include synonyms of your keywords.