Your domain name says a lot about you as a business; as well as ensuring that people “get to your door” effectively. In fact, choosing a domain name – and therefore your website address – could be one of the most important sales and marketing decisions you ever make.
What is a domain name?
You will have typed these every day, but what are they all about? The system of Domain names was invented because addresses on the World Wide Web are actually a series of cold, hard numbers – Internet protocol (IP) codes that aid navigation.
Apart from the fact these numbers are not very “sexy”, remembering which one to use would be a total head-scratcher. So, computer scientists developed a way to assign a specific name to each numeric IP code.
However, having multiple sites with the same name would be confusing too. So each domain name/website address can only have one owner. However, the extensions can vary (more on this later).
You can also register for multiple “names” that all lead to the same website.
Many domains are available to “buy” for a year or two for less than £1. Some of the most evocative and potent ones go on sale for astronomical prices. For example, in 2012 the domain privatejet.com cost someone $30.1 million.
The above illustration shows just how important domain names are, and here are four of the reasons to choose your domain name with care.
1. To set you apart as a business
There are over a billion websites in existence. Making sure customers find yours can hinge on having an easy to remember and relevant domain name. Muddle this, and it can have the opposite effect.
For example, if your website address is similar to a rival company, could you accidentally send business their way when customers type your domain name incorrectly?
www.dartmoorgifts.co.uk is too similar to www.dartmouthgifts.co.uk for example.
Choose a domain name that is clear and unequivocally “you”, to make sure that your website and email address are distinct.
Having a strong and appropriate domain name also adds credibility to your business, particularly as it will be used as part of your email address. For example, which of these two email addresses looks most business-like, and easy to share and recall?
When registering for a domain name, there’s no room for frivolous flights of fancy either. If you buy www.beachviewcottage.co.uk for your holiday home a mile from the coast, be prepared for some very disappointed punters! It should be an authentic part of your brand identity – true to your name and what you truly sell.
3. Directing traffic to your website
Attracting attention from potential customers becomes simpler if the name of your business is easy to remember and find. The same applies to your registered domain or domains. It is tempting to “think outside the box” and get creative, particularly if your chosen one has already gone.
So, if you have a gift shop named “Dartmouth Gifts”, making your website and therefore email address www.somethingyoufancy.com might seem fun, but will it help customers to find you?
Instead, if www.dartmouthgifts.com is taken, try using a different extension such as .co.uk or .net or .info.
If the company that holds your first choice domain is likely to cause confusion, for example, a gift shop in Dartmouth USA, then add something that distinguishes your business such as www.dartmouthgiftsuk.com
The basic rule of thumb is to play around and find a domain name that internet users can rely on to “pin you down”.
5. Improved SEO
Having a strong domain name can also be easier for Google algorithms to find and value too! Which in turn helps your Search Engine Optimisation.
What you really want, is lots of people hitting on your website when they were searching online for something relevant. Going back to an earlier example, high rollers looking for a private jet to hire are likely to happen across www.privatejet.com, which is why it was worth that sky-high cash!
This can be where you can be ingenious, choosing a domain and therefore website address that shows your business, and what it sells. For example, looking for present ideas in a certain part of Devon you could well stumble across www.dartmouthgifts.co.uk in your search.
Your domain is an important digital signpost to attract website traffic and position you as a credible business.
Choose something quirky or vague, and your potential customers could be lost in cyberspace or distinctly ‘underwhelmed’ by your level of professionalism.
For help in choosing and registering for a domain name that’s potently effective – or a group of domains to clean up on the competition – give us a shout.