Choose the right domain to suit your needs

As the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. That’s especially true for businesses. If you can’t quickly convey to your customers why you’re right for them, they can easily pass you by and move on to someone else.

Many things go into that first impression but one of the most important is your name. In just a couple of short words, your business can get over a powerful first impression about the products and services you offer – or can put someone off.

Your name is especially important when it comes to your online presence, with your domain name. Not only does it create that first impression – but it’s also a large part of how successful you will be online, ensuring that you’re easy to find in a highly competitive field.

So, how do you go about picking an address that will impress as opposed to a name that’s lame?

There’s lots to weigh up here, but it all boils down to three key considerations:

Make it easy to remember

Will your customers be able to remember your domain name? Will it stand out on your business cards and flyers – and be easy to type in (including on mobile where people are unlikely to want to type too much).

The UK Domain suggests four key questions that you should consider for this:

  • Is it easy to say aloud?
  • Is it easy to read, when written out in print?
  • Is it easy to spell?
  • Is it easy to understand?

If you’d find yourself forever clarifying what your address means or how it is spelled, it’s probably not the right choice. Numbers, hyphens and punctuation probably all get in the way. 

Avoid any confusion

Many legal battles have emerged over domain names – with big companies trying to wrestle their ideal domain name from someone who has nipped in ahead of them to have it registered. 

While it’s not possible to register the same domain name as someone else, it pays to do a little research to make sure that there’s no chance of running into an issue with another site. It certainly doesn’t pay to get too close to someone else’s address – you might find that customers of a different brand land on your site by mistake and leave very quickly, or that your customers end up on the wrong site by typing a slightly different address. Creating confusion isn’t a great idea – and certainly isn’t going to help with that all-important first impression you’re hoping to create. 

Make the right statement

As well as being memorable, unique and clear, your domain name needs to make the right ‘statement’ about your website. It might, for example, just be your brand name or it might sum up what your site is all about. It might even do both. If your business carries a family name, Taylor’s, Armstrong’s etc, then it might help to consider adding one or two words that sum up what you do, such as ‘insurance’, ‘engineering’ or ‘vets’. This added detail can be all that is needed for the clarity that you should be seeking.

You can also choose a ‘top level domain’ to make a statement. This is typically .com, .co.uk or .org, which will help you to look professional, but you can also pick something different. For example, a .earth domain would be great for a website that wants to stress its green credentials and eco-friendly outlook.

Bear these three principles in mind and then hold a brainstorm to think about domain names that would best embody these for your domain name. While you can change, it’s much better if you spend time at the start of your online journey getting this right first time.

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