The domain name is one of the most important decisions to make when planning your new website. Sometimes the domain name you really want is already taken, or is on the resale market for thousands of dollars. So how should you choose a domain name? What's at stake? How much does it really matter?
Your 'domain name' is simply the name of your website, as typed into the address bar of the browser. Candyweb.us is our domain name. Since this is the primary way that web users will interact with you, a well-chosen domain name can make a huge impact in marketing.
Keep these 5 things in mind...
1. Make it memorable.
Think short and sweet. The most famous websites out there: amazon.com, google.com, facebook.com, youtube.com, yahoo.com are all very easy to remember and very easy to type in. The most successful websites don't have long names! Wikipedia.org is the LONGEST domain name among the 50 most famous websites worldwide.1 People are lazy and busy. If users have to google your website to find it, they're less likely to return frequently. A short website name will make it much easier for users to come back again and again.
2. Reflect your brand.
If you have already established a company and have been advertising locally, you need to carry that momentum through to your website. Existing customers will likely remember the name of your company (if it's relatively simple) and search for this name when trying to find your website.
The examples above are all web-based companies, who named their websites and their companies at the same time. If this is you, go ahead and follow their lead by choosing an attractive, unique name. But if you already exist, you want your website to reflect who you already are. Let your business identity shine through on the web by choosing a domain name that describes you. Example: JLV Computer Repair could market their services by rolling out jlvcomputers.com.
3. Use the appropriate extension for your organization.
- Businesses: website.com, website.biz, website.net
- Non-profits: website.org
- Governmental: website.gov
- Educational: website.edu
- Personal: website.me
4. Be unique.
Some people think that if they can think of a domain name that is similar to their competitors, they might snag some of the market traffic. But trying to cash in on someone else's success is unlikely to help you in the long run, because your real goal is to stand out of the crowd as a company with unique, unrivaled value. Being 'as good as the other guy' is not a winning marketing strategy.
Instead, choose a name for your website that people will like, and take the time to present web users with information that builds your unique brand, product and image.
5. Businesses: Go for .com first.
Since .com is the most widely used extension, it is also the easiest to remember. This is very helpful for consumers, and will give you the advantage with word-of-mouth and print advertising, where you need potential clients to remember your web name long enough to be able to type it in later.
However, if the .com name you need is already purchased, consider another extension. Now this is where it gets tricky. If the .com extension for your desired domain belongs to another company that is already branding the business name, then we don't recommend trying to make your name with another extension. But if it is simply owned by some domain seller or directory, then you may be able to still make it using the .us, .tv .org or .biz extension.
Candyweb.us would like to be candyweb.com. But candyweb.com belongs to a domain seller who purchased it long ago, and last I heard was selling for $10,000. However, the existing candyweb.com is not a competing website, owned by a competitor. It is simply a placeholder site, until the owner can sell to the domain, and poses no real threat to our brand.
Once you've come up with some ideas for domain names, check to see if they're available. You can try typing the domain name into the address bar of your web browser. If you get an error message instead of a website, then it's probably available. Domain names can be purchased through any web hosting provider. We use Siteground for web hosting and domain registrations.
If you need additional help choosing and purchasing a domain name, get in touch with our specialists.