How to choose a domain name for your small business

SMEs must work harder to stand out among the Internet giants, to announce to customers their unique ability to provide simpler and more personalised alternatives. Finding a domain name which speaks to your small business's relevance and specialisation is one way to establish the strong presence you need to thrive.

by Daniel - 22.12.2016

Assert your unique identity with a geographic TLD

Geographic top level domains (TLDs) help small businesses establish their local presence and connect with visitors seeking a shopping experience that is a bit more unique, an alternative to the same-old same-old one-size-fits all corporate approach to business. 

Savvy small businesses understand that many shoppers prefer to “shop local” because they prefer the individualised and authentic experience that only a local small business can deliver.

The small business owner who, for instance, registers .NYC practically shouts, “Get outa hea! I’m from toidy-toid street!” while businesses who register .LONDON or .PARIS capitalise on their own unique and recognisable locations. In other words, geographic TLDs offer small businesses an important branding tool, one which enables them to strategically affiliate themselves with a particular location, a location with its own distinct identity.  

And, perhaps, best of all, they can move your site to the top of your customers' search results as demonstrated in this 2015 study of .BERLIN and .HAMBURG.  

Establish your expertise with a generic TLD

Successful small businesses communicate what they do, how they do it, and why they should be trusted more than anyone else. They understand that customers want to know, right from the start, what value they will deliver.

A carefully selected generic TLD will emphasise one or all of these concerns, enabling you to establish your credibility and expertise within a particular niche market.  And while some are more restricted and costly that others, many like .BIKE, .SURF, and .YOGA, for example, won’t break the bank and are open to anyone. 

With the right generic TLD, you can accurately represent the authoritative identity you want your business to portray. You will be able to convey a clear, unambiguous message to the world: we are the go-to business for all things related to a specific field or area of interest. 

Generic TLDs like .ART, .SHOES, and .PHOTOGRAPHY will enable potential customers to develop an intuitive understanding of your site’s purpose and authority, with the domain name acting as a kind of promise, guaranteeing how you will be different and what customers can expect when they click on your site. 

Target specific customer groups with a community-based TLD 

No matter what your product or service, speaking directly to unique markets is a smart way to establish your online presence. If you can make clear from the start that you understand the specific needs, wants, and concerns of a respective community, you are more likely to generate interest and trust from that community. 

And trust is an important and marketable commodity. 

If a small business registers a specific community-based extension like .LGBT, .EDUCATION, or .HIPHOP, they assure potential customers that they not only understand but also share the values and interests of the targeted community. And, even if there isn’t a dedicated domain for the community your business wishes to reach, other domains like .COMMUNITY, .GROUP and .CLUB are flexible enough that they can be repurposed to target any consumer group. 

Customers are increasingly savvy about which businesses do and do not have their best interests in mind. Show them that you understand them and they will pay attention to you. Respect them and there is a good chance they will hold you in high regard.    

Give your small business a big presence with the right TLD

For many small businesses, the process of designing and developing a strong online identity might seem complicated, time consuming and, even, expensive. But, in reality, choosing the right TLD, a small but important component of a successful online identity, is one of the smartest investments of time, money, and resources your business will ever make.

Your website is your hub, your primary place of business. This means that it must be designed to maximise your exposure.

Of course, it takes more than just choosing the right domain name for a site to be successful. But choosing a domain name for your small business which conveys a clear message to people, making it easier for them to understand how you're different and what value you'll deliver, is a good place to start.

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