A domain name (also known as a universal resource locator or URL) is more than just the Internet address where people can find your website—it’s the online identity of your small business. Choosing the right domain name for your brand requires careful consideration. With the right URL, your business looks more professional and gains credibility with your audience.
Finding your domain name
To start the process of searching for and buying a domain, you’ll need to use a domain registrar. Two of the most popular ones are Google Domains and GoDaddy. They both offer search tools where you can search for, review and ultimately purchase the URL. You also may be able to purchase a domain through your website builder, like WordPress or Square Space.
When you’re choosing your domain, keep these guidelines in mind:
1. Make sure it’s easy to remember.
Memorability should be a high priority when choosing your URL. Studies have shown that the human brain can hold an average of seven items, whether they be a string of words or the number of letters or numbers in a name.
By keeping your domain short, potential customers will be better able to remember it, even if they’ve only seen it once. If your brand name is taken, try adding a short word before it, like “get,” “try,” “join,” or “the.”
2. Consider how your domain might be pronounced.
Word of mouth is a great form of free advertising. You want your customers to be comfortable telling their friends and family about your site, which they won’t be if they don’t know how to say it. This is why you should pick a domain name that is easy to pronounce.
Before officially registering for a domain, ask someone not intimately familiar with your business how they would pronounce it based on how it is written. This is especially important if you have multiple words with no clear spaces in your URL.
3. Try to get .com if you can.
When it comes to choosing a domain extension (the suffix at the end of a web address), there’s some debate about which one will get your website more traffic. The .com extension is the most popular and easiest to remember, but it might not be the best fit for your brand.
Here are some other domain extensions to consider:
- .org: If you run a non-profit, this will help distinguish you from a for-profit company
- .info: Try this extension if you’re only using your site to share information
- .biz: Got an e-commerce site? This is a good alternative to .com
- .io: A good option if you’re in the tech industry
4. See if you can use your domain name for your social handles.
Make sure your URL is also available for your social media handles. Maintaining consistency across channels helps improve brand recognition, so your social media handles should be as similar to your domain name as possible. To quickly check if your domain name is available across different social media platforms, try the tool www.knowem.com.
While it may be tempting to purchase the first domain name that comes to mind, choosing a URL for your small business requires careful thought and research. Domain names should be intuitive, memorable, build trust and speak to your target markets.