How to Choose an Effective Domain Name for Your Small Business Website

Karen Ulvestad
August 07, 2019 - 11:09 am

It’s important to pick the right business name and equally important to choose a great domain name for your business’s website. Your domain name can help your business stay competitive, appeal to long-term customers and target the right audience. This name becomes the hallmark of your business’s identity, influences your customers’ view of your company and attracts potential new clients. There are many guidelines to picking the perfect domain name.

Keep it simple
It’s best to keep your domain name simple and easy for clients to remember. The spelling of words should be common knowledge to your customer base. Avoid using “text-ease” in the domain name. For example, instead of “u”, it is better to spell out the word “you.” The same is true for numbers. It may be catchy to use a numeral like “4” for the word “for” or “four,” but it can make it more difficult for customers to find your website. Search queries are most effective when websites use appropriate SEO (Search Engine Optimization) naming conventions that reflect a business. A well-named website has the ability to attract new customers, and a simple name allows the domain to be easily remembered and found.

Relevant to the business
It is best to use a domain name relevant to your business. If possible, include insight to what your business offers. For example, a plumbing business should include the word “plumbing” somewhere in their domain name. A local business can provide their location by including their city, county, or state in their domain name, such as denverplumbing.com.

Research the name
It is important for business owners to research a domain name to avoid any future legal issues with infringement. Be absolutely sure your business name and domain name have not already been copyrighted or trademarked by another entity. Early understanding and research of available domain names can help prevent many costly and timely issues with branding and marketing down the road.

Target audience and branding
A business's domain name is an aspect of a company's branding and a savvy way to connect to clients. Once your customer base has been determined, tap into your target audience with a name, language and domain extension that reflects your brand and customers. It is good to make your domain name catchy and easy to remember for current and future customers, however, keep in mind simplicity and the use of proper words. A good domain name is consistent with other areas of the business marketing and branding platform.

Choose a relevant domain extension
With all the different domain extensions available, it is important to choose the one that best represents your business. In general, a dot-com is for a profit-company or commercial business, a dot-net is for a network and a dot-org is for a non-profit organization. These are the high-level domain extensions. In addition to these high-level extensions, there are a number of other extensions that can be used, such as dot-dance or dot-ca. Each of these represents a specific group or area of expertise.

A high-level domain extension is not more powerful than a specific extension. The choice depends on your business’s branding, audience and business plan. It is best to choose one that reflects the needs of your company’s marketing strategy.