How to Choose a Website Name

Tips to Getting the Right Domain Name for Your Home Business

Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Having a website for your home business is an absolute must. With all the free and easy website tools available, it is simple to get a website up and running.Ideally, you want your website to have the same name as your business, which is why you should check domain availability before officially naming your business

Here are tips to determining the best domain name to buy for your home business. 

Which Domain Extension Is Best?

First things first, it doesn't matter what name you decide upon for your website if the domain extension you want is unavailable. The most popular domain extension is .com, but there are many more options to choose from, including: .net, .biz, .edu, .org, .hotel and more. Some of the extensions have restricted use, such as .org is for non-profits and .edu is for educational institutions.

With hundreds of millions of existing websites out there, options for .com domains are dwindling. Further, some enterprising individuals are buying up domains for the purpose of selling them at a higher price. It's a disappointment to discover that your business name has been bought and being sold for way more than if you'd bought directly from a domain registrar. 

When a domain is already taken, or being sold for more than that you want to pay, you may start thinking about choosing a less often used extension, such as .net.

However, .com is the most well-known and used extension. If you choose a different extension and someone gets confused about your domain name, they'll end up at the .com site, instead of yours. It's recommended that you buy a .com domain for several reasons, including:

  1. It tends to do better in Google search engine rankings. If you plan to have a competitive SEO strategy or even just a mild one, this is definitely the suggested route.
  1. It is more common and recognizable.
  2. It is the assumed extension. We have all been programmed to use .com (it is even a standard iPhone button). An extension other than a .com can result in lost traffic.

If a .com is not available for the name you are set upon or if you have already registered your business name and aren't flexible in modifying it, the typical business domain extension alternatives are .net, .biz or .co. It may even make sense to consider one of the more niche extensions like .hotel if it fits with your business model.

What Makes A Good Website Name?

A website domain consists of a string of letters or numbers with a domain extension on the end (i.e. .com, .biz…etc). Your website name should be a reflection of either your business name (i.e. hallmark.com) or what your organization does (i.e. lawncare.com).

If you're determined to have a .com extension, the likelihood of your first, second or even third website name choice being available is slim. With this in mind, it is important to get creative with names. 

Here is a list of things to consider:

  • Choose shorter names if possible. Domain names can be any length up to 67 characters, but longer names are more prone to entry mistakes, which results in lost traffic.
  • Don’t use long obscure strings of numbers and letters. Website names should make sense and be easy to remember by your customers and clients.
  • Numbers, in particular, can be difficult, If you say your domain out loud, the listener won't know if you're talking about the digit or spelling of the number. For example, 4stuff.com vs fourstuff.com. 
  • Avoid hyphenating (i.e. www.cool-website.com). People tend to forget and leave off the hyphen.
  • Try and avoid choosing a word that is uncommon or difficult to spell. (i.e. crepuscular)
  • If in order to come up with an available .com website name you are compromising your business name or creating something too long or complicated, consider going a different direction or choosing a different business name altogether.

 

Is One Domain Enough?

Depending on how serious your business plans to be, it isn’t a bad idea to own several domain extensions under your business name, i.e. crafts.com / crafts.biz / crafts.co.

You won’t know what your little business will grow into, and it is better to snatch up these domains now rather than wish you had when it is too late. Many registrars give discounts for buying multiple extensions of a domain name.

If your business is a sole proprietorship, it is also probably a good idea to register your own given name too. Domains are inexpensive and registering multiple extensions shouldn't be cost prohibitive. Multiple domains could result in marketing flexibility down the road.

How to Get a Domain:

Step #1: Check Domain Availability

Get online and find a domain registration provider like:

 

Step #2: Locate the search box on the providers home page and type in your business name. It will generate the domain results for what is available. Please note that you can search for free on these sites to see what domains are available. These sites all have access to the same information. For example, if your domain isn’t available on Godaddy.com it won’t be available on Domain.com.

Step #3: Buy it now. Domains go quickly, so if your domain choice is available, don't delay, buy it. The registrar will walk you through the process. Considering setting automatic renewal so you don't lose the domain by failing to renew the next year. Or you can buy multiple years, usually at a discount.

Image (c) Salvatore Vuono/FreeDigitalPhotos.net