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How to choose a domain name for your business

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You’re getting your business online for the first time – maybe you’ve started building a website, or you’ve found yourself a developer to build one for you. You’re going to need an online address for your business once that website is built, so you’re going to have to decide what domain name to choose. We’re here to help, with some tips on how to choose a domain name, and how to make sure you keep it protected.

Use keywords and location when you choose a domain name

The first thing to remember is that your domain name doesn’t have to be an exact match for your business name. Let’s say your business is called Ray’s Pizza. Your first instinct might be to register the domain name rayspizza.com or rayspizza.info. That’s fine, but it doesn’t really distinguish your business from all the other pizzerias out there.

In a previous article, we talked about the importance of local SEO; so why not start your local SEO efforts right at the beginning, and put your location in your domain name? You could include the name of the metro area you service – rayspizzaboston.com – or go for something even more granular, depending on how much of your business is local – rayspizzabrooklyn.com, for example.

Alternatively, and again, depending on whether you get most of your business locally or online, you could add some keywords to your domain name. In our example, we already have one – ‘pizza’ – but that’s a pretty broad keyword. How about raysdeepdishpizza.com or raysitalianpizza.com?
This will both help people find your business online more easily, and it will clearly and effectively communicate to them what your product or service is.

For tips on ‘building’ a domain name, beyond just your business name combined with keywords or location, see here.

Buy a few different domain names

While the names above are fine, they’re slightly cumbersome. A simple rayspizza.com is neater than raysdeepdishpizza.com, especially for things like letterheads and business cards. You want your domain name to be short, and easy to type. If you want to get the SEO juice but you also want to have a short, neat domain name, then buying a few different keyword or location-based domains and setting up redirects to the short domain is the way to do it. Your keyword or location-based domain will be noted by Google and other search engines, so you’ll still get any SEO benefits; but when people click on the link in the search results they’ll be redirected to the short domain.

Buying a few different domain names that cover different aspects of your business will also protect you from domain squatters – it’s worth considering different versions of ‘your’ domain name too, if they are likely to be targeted by competitors.

Protect your domain name

Your domain name is your business premises online, and you need to keep it as secure as you keep your physical premises. If you’re using a designer or web developer to build your website, and they purchase a domain name on your behalf, make sure you get all the necessary credentials from them to get access to your account with the domain registrar. That means usernames and passwords, which you should change once your developer or designer is finished the project.

If you don’t do this, you’re stuck if your developer or designer goes AWOL, or changes their phone number, or otherwise becomes uncontactable. You wouldn’t give somebody else the only set of keys for your physical business premises – so why would you give someone else the keys to your premises online?

Use the right extension for your business

It’s the one that everyone turns to by default, but .COM isn’t the only domain extension out there! There are thousands, in fact. You should choose a domain extension that’s relevant to your business – for example, if you sell organic food, why not get .ORGANIC domain? And then there’s the trusted .NET, .INFO, and .ORG extensions that should be considered too.

If your first choice of .COM domain has already been claimed, you should have a look at the other domain extensions available before you even consider trying to buy your .COM choice from whoever has claimed it.

Now that you’re armed with all of this information, get to work, and buy your perfect domain name today!

Main image: Beatnik Photos