After planning your business and thinking about the website you’d like to have, one of your next major steps will be to choose a domain name. Here are some tips on how to choose a domain name that represents your business well and will easily be remembered by potential and existing customers.
Keep it short
For a domain to be memorable it needs to be as short as possible. Think about all the biggest websites around the world – Google, Facebook, Twitter etc. – they are all single words that have since become household names. Of course you don’t need to wrack your brain trying to think of the next buzz word like that but the concept remains. If your business name is Merida Bicycles and Accessories (pty) Ltd then try to get Merida.com instead of Meridabicyclesandaccessories.com.
.Com .Net or .Co.Za?
This is obviously a big question. The most used and well known TLD (top level domain) is obviously .com. But because of that, most words and phrases have already been thought of and are registered as .com domains. So, don’t worry if you cannot get the .com or .net of your preferred domain name. If your business’ primary target market is within South Africa then a .co.za domain will work just fine (or a .co.uk if you’re in the UK or whatever your local TLD is). In fact, if you are trying to rank for specific search terms in Google then a more geographically targeted domain name will get you ranking higher faster!
Keep it relevant
Of course, the first tip is somewhat obvious, but what if your specific name is taken? Well, then you will either need to look at a different TLD – as mentioned above – or look at adding to your name. To use the same example if Merida.com and .co.za were already registered, the company could choose Meridabikes.com – again, trying to keep it short. This way the domain name is relevant to what you are selling but also short enough to be memorable.
Is it easy to remember?
This is especially important. If your name is taken and a number of variations as well then don’t get too creative and carried away with spellings and hyphens etc. You need to keep the domain easy to spell and remember. If you saw M3rida-bikes.com on a bumper sticker, would you remember it? If Meridabikes.com was already taken and the variations you are looking at are getting too long, then perhaps try simplifying it even more. Could you use Mbikes.com or MeridaCapeTown.com? The simpler the better.
Tools to use to look for domains
So how do you research and register available domains? There are literally thousands of registrar companies around the world that can register domains for you – think of them as different courier companies registering “addresses” for you with the various major “apartment complexes”. Here are some that we like to use:
- http://www.afrihost.com/site/page/domain_check – searches .co.za and other TLD’s
- http://www.domaintools.com/buy/domain-search/ – searches .com, .net .org and .biz and provides suggestions if your search is taken
Of course once you have searched for the domain name, you will also be able to register it on the same site.
Overall, the biggest thing is to keep it simple and memorable. If you’re going to be putting it on your business cards, car, advertisements etc, you don’t want to make people read and type a whole sentence to find your company online!