Domain name search tips for small business website success
A domain name is a key element of any website. But for a small business website, a domain that clearly announces to customers and search engines the brand's position within a market is especially crucial. Five important domain name search tips for competing with the big guys and building a brand that lasts.
Domain name selection key to small business website success
Finding the right domain name for your small business website is, among other things, a PR activity. A strong URL, your business's online identity, is a long-term promotional and brand building decision, not merely a functional one.
Registering a domain name requires careful consideration of what the domain is going to communicate about your small business. Domain name selection entails far more consideration than simply registering my online address (dot) whatever domain extension fits best.
Some of those additional considerations include:
- User perception
- Trademark infringement
- Brand building support
Before committing to a domain name, consider the following recommendations.
Trademark infringement will cost you
Microsoft vs. MikeRoweSoft. This is what happens when you don’t do a Google search before registering your domain name. Or perform due diligence to make sure you aren’t infringing on a registered trademark.
Canadian Belmont High School student Mike Rowe fell prey to a lawsuit because of simple phonics. Rowe was a young web developer who wanted to brand himself at mikerowesoft.com, as phonetically close as you can get to Microsoft.com. Without Bill Gates legal backing, Rowe lost the lawsuit which could have been avoided altogether with a simple Google search.
Domain name simplicity is paramount
A chicken-and-egg problem. Before you even begin to build your brand, you must decide on your URL.
Your domain name is your brand’s mirror image—one that your consumers see. Whatever place your brand occupies in the online market space, your domain name is how people will first become familiar with it. If you try to be cerebral or clever with your web address, you could confuse—or worse—alienate consumers.
Simple, straightforward communication will help you build a positive rapport with consumers. Remember: when performing a search, visitors will see your domain name before they click on your website. Make the right first impression.
Avoid smart wordplay in your domain
A domain name that is too clever for its own good can put users off. So can wordplay and using shortcuts.
A domain name is not the right place for that kind of experimentation. Using ‘6’ instead of ‘six’ is a silly decision because you will always have to explain it and few will likely care enough to remember it.
You want a URL that is unique, simple, memorable, and makes your small business's website stand out from the competition. So focus on important keywords and keep whatever message you’re communicating with your domain name simple.
Search domain name options with brand messaging in mind
The perfect hack for a domain name that is simple, short, and stands out is to brand it with a relevant domain extension. And there is certainly no shortage of those – more than 1,200 new domain extensions are now available. A simple domain name search will show what all of your options are.
For example, .TECH is an obvious choice for tech businesses. For eCommerce businesses and retail store owners, .STORE. Want something more versatile? Go with .ONLINE, .SITE, .WEBSITE, or maybe .SPACE.
In other words, there’s really no end to the domain extensions at your disposal. From industry specific to those which are more general, you should have no problem finding an extension that’s right for your brand.
Missed domain renewal will damage your brand
Protecting your brand requires safeguarding every little aspect that builds it - including your domain name. You've spent all that time searching for the right domain name, then building up it's online presence - don't lose it because of an oversight!
Stay on top of your domain renewal dates. An expired domain name can cause serious damage to a small business's brand reputation. We strongly recommend you register your domain for an extended period – up to 10 years. And hit the auto-renew button. One missed renewal could make you the victim of cybercriminals who are always on the lookout for expired domains that they can hold ransom.
Beyond cybercriminal interference, keeping your domain registration up to date also ensures that your SEO efforts don’t suffer. Imagine losing your domain name and all the hard work that you put in getting your website to rank. One missed renewal is all it takes for you to lose your search engine ranking.
Small business website success can be yours!
Registering a domain name for your small business is not rocket science. But it does require smart decision making. Keep the bigger picture in mind – don’t lose sight of what you are trying to communicate with your brand. If your objectives are clear, the right domain name will only add value to your business goals.
Alisha Shibli Alisha is a Content Marketing Specialist at Radix, the registry behind some of the most successful new domain extensions, including .STORE and .TECH. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.