Choosing a domain name for your small business is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. It’s also an investment that you can’t afford to make incorrectly. If you want to find out how to choose a good domain name, then keep reading. We’ve put together 15 tips on choosing the best domain name for your business.
When you choose your domain name, keep in mind that people will type it into their browsers. This means you want to choose a name that has the right meaning and is easy to remember.
Choosing the right domain name for your business can be a difficult challenge. There are many factors to consider. This article will help you choose the best domain name for your business.
Before you choose your domain name, consider the following:
- Does it reflect your business?
- Is it unique?
- Does it include an adjective or two that’s relevant to what you do?
- Is it a short phrase that people will remember easily?
The 15 tips will contain more information about what you should consider before choosing your domain. First, you should know why your domain is super important.
Why Your Domain Is Super Important
Domain names are the first piece of information available to search engine crawlers. These computers crawl the Internet and index all the web pages on a site, allowing users to find specific content based on keywords. Domains are also your first opportunity to provide search engines with valuable keywords about what your business does.
It’s essential that when you choose your domain, you choose it for the long-term. The only reason you should ever change your business domain is if you rebrand to a new business name. If you change your domain every few years, then you will lose authority and never build up the chance to rank well in search engines.
Long-Term Business Authority Online
Each time your domain is changed, your business authority online is completely reset unless you properly forward from your old domain to the new. Even with a forward in place, you will still take a hit in authority.
Your business’s long-term authority online is completely dependent on keeping your domain the same for many years. The authority in your domain comes from many places, but here are a few.
Other pages link to your domain (these are called backlinks) which creates authority. This could be a vendor site, a directory site, or even a local news site. If you are an HVAC contractor, for example, you likely work on or are a vendor for a specific brand.
That means if you’re listed on their website your website could also be linked to. All those links you acquire over the years are impossible to find and get changed. Therefore, keeping your domain is the most efficient way to keep your authority and build it up over time with even more links.
Search engines find and index your website the second your website is created. That means they know exactly how long your website has existed. Google and other search engines give preference and authority to older domains as long as they’re consistent and are also not left dormant with no updates.
Domain age is a small factor in ranking because older domains tend to have more links and more authority. However, if your website has been dormant for too long, it won’t rank as well when you do decide to update it. That can be fixed easily by making some updates and publishing new content with an older domain.
Keep Your Domain Forever – It’s Not Like A Phone Number
Domain names are the most important part of your website. It’s not like a phone number, because if you lose or change it, you’re starting over from scratch and losing all your hard work. Keeping your phone number is important, so old customers can find you, but other than that it doesn’t matter if you keep your same phone number.
That’s not true with a domain. With a domain, you can sometimes re-rank your website for your business name, so customers can find you, but it becomes difficult, especially if your old website is still out there. Duplicate content harms you.
When you change or lose your domain, you lose your domain authority, backlinks, and trust by Google.
So, when you choose your domain, stick to it and keep ownership of it no matter what.
What To Be Cautious Of When Buying a Domain
Not all domain registrars (that’s where you buy/register your domain) are created equal. In fact, many of them are scammy and have hidden costs or are overpriced and charge you for things that should be standard.
Here are the items you should watch for when buying a domain. Make sure they are included or that the registrar isn’t playing games.
In the olden days, every time you registered a domain, you had to make your address public. That meant you got oceans of junk mail every time you registered a domain and forever afterwards.
That’s not the case anymore.
Any reputable registrar offers free domain privacy. This is an essential feature and will keep all your private information private. These registrars use a single address, phone number, and email address, so you can keep your information private.
This shouldn’t be an extra charge!
Google Domains, Namecheap, and others include it for absolute free. GoDaddy will charge you an arm and a leg for it.
Choose a registrar that is honest and includes necessary features that every other registrar includes. Domain privacy is standard and should never be an option.
Many registrars are somewhat shady in their pricing practices. They advertise that you can get a domain for only $.99, but then that price goes up the next year. Sometimes it can go up to $15-$20! No domain should be that expensive to begin with or after the first year.
My favorite registrar to this day is Google Domains because their pricing is stable and predictable. You don’t get a promotional rate for the first year, but you always know how much a domain will cost. It’s stable with no magical changing prices.
I’ve removed nearly every domain from Namecheap and would never even consider GoDaddy because of their magical changing prices.
So, be cautious of promotional rates. These are a scam, and you will get ripped off for being a loyal customer.
The 15 Tips To Choosing The Best Business Domain Name
These tips will help you choose the perfect domain for your small business website, so you can stick with your domain and build long-term authority to rank better online.
Your domain name is the key to your business. It’s also one of the first things that potential customers will see on Google, so it can make or break your company’s online presence.
These tips will help you choose the best domain name for your business.
1) Your domain should fit your business and what you do.
Your domain should be a reflection of your business name and what your business does. It’s not about the most popular or trendy domain; it’s about finding the perfect match for your business.
That could be as simple as your business name + your industry. Joe’s Plumbing wouldn’t have the domain joesbusiness.com or joes.com. Those don’t fit the business at all. Something like joesplumbing.com would be even better.
The more your domain explains what your business does, the better fit it is.
2) Use keywords.
This was covered a bit above, but it’s important to emphasize the importance of keywords for a small business that serves a specific industry and location. When people search for what you do, they’re probably typing into Google something like industry + location. Even if they’re not specifically typing in the location, Google understands where the user is, so they’re adding in the location even if it remains unseen.
So, it’s important for your business name to be in the domain (which makes procuring your domain much cheaper) plus the industry and preferably the location too. As a fictitious example, Highline Auto is a body shop in Burbank, California. A good domain would be something like highlineautobody.com which, unfortunately, is already taken.
That’s unfortunate, but there’s a very easy solution to that while still making the domain use even more keywords. Just add Burbank to the end of the domain, and you’re all set! Now the domain can be highlineautobodyburbank.com, and it contains some descriptive, useful keywords, and you don’t have to pay $4,995 to purchase the domain!
There’s no way domain opportunists could purchase every domain out there if you just keep getting more specific without adding too much length onto the URL.
3) The domain should be easy to remember.
The domain name should be easy for any potential customer to remember. It is your job to make it as simple and memorable as possible.
Make sure you choose a domain name that is easy to remember; for example, if your business sells children’s clothing, the best choice would be “kidsclothing” or some variation with that term in it. If you’re purchasing a domain name, it should be easy for someone to remember. It’s your job to make it as simple and memorable as possible.
The examples above, even the longer one, is still easy to remember if the customer can remember your business name.
4) Make it easy to spell and pronounce.
If your domain is difficult to spell or pronounce, it’s going to be forgotten easily. If your business name contains your name and your name is hard to spell, try using something else.
As an example, K. Hovnanian is pretty difficult to spell. I had to look it up to make sure I spelled it properly. They know people can’t spell it, so they chose to vary the name of their business for the purpose of their website. It’s khov.com instead of khovnanian.com which isn’t likely to be remembered and is fairly difficult to pronounce too.
If you have a difficult to spell or pronounce business name, change it up a bit so you end up with something different. Perhaps don’t even use your business name and go with something else entirely for the website domain name. You could use a combination of just the industry and location.
5) Choose a unique domain that is not too similar to others.
The most important thing to consider when choosing a domain name is that it has to be unique. In order for the site to gain traffic, you need something catchy and relevant. You also want your domain name to have some sort of meaning or relevance to your business or industry.
You don’t want to choose a domain that’s too similar to someone else’s domain. If people forget to spell the word correct (or incorrect), then it can cause confusion. Choosing a domain like googol.com (if it was available!) isn’t a good idea because it’s simply too close to google.com.
The domain name needs to be unique to your business. Sticking with something descriptive for your business name and industry is a safe bet.
6) Shorter isn’t necessarily better.
Shorter is better but if that means making the domain harder to remember then shorter isn’t useful. Sometimes it’s easier to give someone a long domain name that has common words and just tell the person it’s all one word.
It can become difficult when you have to actually spell out the domain or alert people of awkward spelling. For instance, our domain can be awkward when telling people it’s spelled with a missing a (loclweb not localweb).
While we didn’t have a lot of options for expanding our domain while still making it work, you likely do. We don’t serve a highly localized audience, so we couldn’t add that on to make our domain unique. Plus, Loclweb works for us for other reasons rather than simply having a common domain name.
7) The domain name needs to be available.
There can only be one domain on the internet. No two people or businesses can have the domain google.com. It belongs to Google and will remain so if they keep paying the bill for the domain.
So, you need to check if your domain is available and, if not, choose something else. Keep playing with different ideas until you find the right domain.
To see if the domain you want is available, just head over to Google Domains and type what you want in the domain box. They’ll tell you if the domain is available and if not, how much it will cost you to purchase.
Do you really want to pay $3,000 to purchase a domain in addition to what it should cost?
I don’t think so. So, be sure to check if your domain is available before you get too attached to it.
8) Your business domain should be descriptive.
It’s nice if your domain name not only has your business name but also some descriptive text about what you do. It could even include some descriptive text about what location you serve.
If your business is a hotel, for example, then it would make sense that your website’s domain would be “hotels.com” rather than “travel.com” or something else entirely.
Of course, hotels.com is already taken and an extremely expensive domain if you even want to try to get it. That means it’s necessary to get creative. Even relatively specific domains can be taken, such as city+industry.com, which are often bought up by domain opportunists. They know what domain you could be looking for, so they purchase the most useful.
But, you can get creative with a unique domain that’s also helpful for your customers. Go a bit above the generic city+industry.com and just tack on your specific name. So, If you’re Joe’s HVAC service, and you do business in Jacksonville, FL then the domain you choose could be joeshvacjacksonville.com. That covers all your basis because it covers your business name, industry, and also location, which is great for ranking.
9) Don’t use other companies copyrights in your domain.
This one is easy to overlook because sometimes businesses work with other brand names. For instance, our domain and company name can’t be anything with the word WordPress in it. Even though we do use WordPress and love WordPress, that copyright belongs to someone else.
So, wordpresswebsitebuilder.com would be a big no-no. Though WordPress allows the community to use WP, wpwebsitebuilder would be okay. The same thing goes with an HVAC contractor who sells and works on Bryant systems. They can’t purchase the domain bryanthvacrepairsanjose.com. That would be in direct violation of the Bryant copyright, and you’d likely get a legal notice saying you can’t use the domain.
That would be a travesty investing time and money into your domain, getting a legal notice, then having to abandon it entirely.
So, come up with something unique to your business that doesn’t use anybody else’s copyrights.
10) Use .com unless another domain makes more sense.
Your best bet is to always stick with the .com Top Level Domain (TLD). It’s the most common, most memorable, and most popular. Everybody knows what .com is and that’s going to be the default for most customers.
In fact, your customer may not even try to remember what TLD you used and then get the wrong URL. If you tell them your domain is plumbersofsantonio.info (yes, that’s a valid TLD) then there’s a good chance they’ll never make it to your website.
Your customer could end up going to a competitor website, and then you lose the business. They’re most likely to remember .com, so they’ll type in plumbersofsanantonio.com which isn’t even your domain!
So, if at all possible it’s best to stick with .com even though tons of other TLDs are available. Only under very specific circumstances should you use anything else.
11) Try using the exact name of your business.
The closer the match is to the name of your business, the better. That won’t always be good advice but in general it is. for K. Hovnanian it was a good choice that they didn’t make their domain exact to their business name.
Having just a domain based on search keywords but not related to your business name isn’t ideal, either. If your business name is Electricians Prime, even if you’re an electrician in Buffalo, NY then buffalonyelectrician.com probably isn’t the best domain possible.
Something with your exact business name is better. So, electriciansprimebuffalo.com would be a better choice. If your business name doesn’t contain your keywords at all then you likely will want to add that on too.
So, an electrician in Buffalo, NY with the name Zappy shouldn’t just be zappybuffalo.com. Ideally, it would have the exact name, industry, and location. So, it would be zappyelectricianbuffalo.com.
12) Do not use numbers.
Don’t use numbers in your domain unless your business name contains numbers. That’s the only circumstance you’d want to use numbers. It wouldn’t look good to have the domain number1electrician.com or something equally silly.
Stick with regular words that are easy to remember, including your business name. Something like call4electrician.com doesn’t really look professional even though it’s easy to remember.
It doesn’t look professional, and it can be confusing too.
13) The first word(s) should be the name of your business.
Notice in the examples of using the exact name of your business, the business name is first? That’s by design because you want people to recognize your business name and see something unique first.
The industry you’re in and location you serve isn’t unique but your business name is. Whatever is unique and makes your domain stand out, it is best to put it up front.
14) Avoid hyphens.
While hyphens can break-up-your-domain-name visually, they aren’t easy to remember for people. It’s difficult for people to remember where and if hyphens are in your domain name. Under every circumstance, you should avoid using hyphens in your domain.
Always stick to running the words together but be careful the entire phrase can’t be confused for something else, though.
15) Avoid jargon and confusing terms.
You know your industry and you know the jargon. Be sure not to use jargon keywords that will easily confuse customers. I know HVAC and a lot of people do, but those who know absolutely nothing about how heat and cold is generated in the home may have no idea (yes, really).
So, keep the terms simple and understandable. HVAC is one that is jargon for many but at the same time, it’s the most commonly searched term in Google so using it is fine. But, for other industries where there may be less known jargon, don’t use it.
Tools To Help You Choose An Awesome Domain
To help you choose an awesome domain name, there are several tools and resources to consider. Below are some helpful tools that can help you find the perfect domain for your business. You don’t necessarily need to run out there and purchase your domain with any of these tools.
These tools are meant for research. Many places will give you a free domain name with their service. Keep in mind that also means that, in the end, the service that gave you the free domain often owns that domain and can withhold it if you cancel your service.
Loclweb is a different type of company, though. We never withhold your domain even if you cancel your service. We will even transfer ownership of your domain if you aren’t satisfied with our service. That’s part of our 100% satisfaction guarantee. Of course, we do require that you reimburse us for the cost of the domain since you are essentially purchasing it, but that’s it.
One of the most helpful tools I’ve found for choosing an awesome domain is Google Domains. You can (and should) buy your domain from them, but the search is also extremely powerful at making many recommendations for alternative domains based on keywords.
There’s a search for the fake Plungies the plumber and Google has suggested a lot of domains. Of course, you have to scour through extensions that you’re not interested in and look for the .com endings. But, that’s not too hard, and you can see there are two good options. You can even type more keywords and Google will show you more options with those keywords.
Domain Name Soup is another good option for brainstorming different domains for those hard to choose business domains. When everything seems to be taken for your business name, this is a good tool to give you some good ideas.
Here’s the same search from Domain Name Soup.
As you can see it’s not quite as attractive, but it gets the job done. Just type in your keywords and it’ll make lots of suggestions.
Domain Wheel is a well put together search that’s also visually pleasing. That makes it a lot easier to use. Not only that, it lets you turn off domain extensions, so you can only search for .com extensions if you’d like.
That’s super handy. Take a look at how our search for capital plumbing turned out.
As you can see, the results are easy to browse. It also gives you some odd random suggestions and sounds like suggestions, not sure why anybody would use those but hey, why not?
I’ve used many tools myself just to find a business name with an available domain name, and they really do work. They’re great for finding good domain names and even brainstorming.
Choosing a business name is an important step in the growth of your business. It’s the first thing that people will see, and it sets you apart from others.
Using a keyword rich domain name is the next most important thing for your business. And it’s extremely important that you stick with your domain for good. Don’t change domains every time you update your website, switch hosts, or whatever. Choose it and stick with it until you rebrand your business, if you ever do.
A well-chosen domain can help you get more traffic to your website and increase sales of your products or services. So, choose wisely and make sure all of these points are taken into consideration before making a final decision on your business domain name.