Creating a new website for your small business starts with deciding on a domain name. This process isn't exactly simple, but it's not difficult either.
The creative process starts now.
These are some things you should consider when picking a domain name:
- Your domain name is the first impression you're putting out to your online customer base. Make it memorable by keeping it short and easy to spell.
- Avoid using numbers, hyphens and underscores. Also avoid using slang or derogatory terms in your domain name.
- If you're planning on future growth, pick a broad domain name. If you pick something like "BallShirts.com" and then decide to sell pants, the domain name wouldn't quite fit.
- Research your choices. Check the United States Patent and Trademark Office website to see if there are any trademarks associated with the name. Also check to see if there are any other domains very similar to your chosen domain. "MarkApples.com" and "MarksApples.com" are very similar and your potential customer base could get confused.
- Check to see if the domain is available. With so many sites on the web, many "preferred" names are already taken. You may have to buy it from a registered owner...which can potentially be much more expensive than an unregistered domain.
Is that extra cost worth it to you to have the specific domain you set your eyes on?
- The one thing most small businesses overlook is the idea behind picking an "SEO-Friendly" domain name. If at all possible, you should include your keyword in your domain name. If you're tied to a specific
location, also consider including that in your domain name. It is a lot easier to boost your search rankings for a local plumbing business if your domain is something like "WilliamsburgPlumbing.com" instead of something like "MrPlumber.com".
One of my clients has a successful custom gift/letter photography company. She owns two domains: www.swixpix.com and www.letter-photography.com. It should be no surprise that it was much easier and quicker for me to boost her search ranking for the latter because it included her keywords. Potential customers who have never shopped with her before would never think to add "Swix Pix" to the search terms.
- Secure hosting for your domain name. I will go more into this topic on another post, but just remember, a domain name is of no use unless it is available 24/7 to your client base.