Starting a web presence for your business is a daunting task, especially if you’re just starting your venture and aren’t as techy as you want to believe you are. With countless options for hosting companies out there vying for your choice, it can be easy to be overwhelmed or worse, create a mistake that can lead to crippling your business.
In this article, we’ll consider some do’s and don’ts taken from small-business owners and experts to help secure your company’s domain name so you can get started with your online business!
It’s true. Entrepreneurs today have it hard. There are more than 220 million domain names that are already registered, and you’d be lucky if your chosen domain name is available during your first try. If you have one in mind right now, you can check it out using this domain name search tool.
What should your priority be then? Do you need to choose a company name based on whether you can get an exact-match domain name? Or do you start to get creative with the URL so that you can fit the business name you’ve been dreaming of?
Business models that revolve around the Web or those types that require a lot of capital for online marketing will require an exact-match domain name as atop priority. Think Yelp, Spotify, Netflix, or, yes, Google. People will instantly default to your company name as your URL as well, and if the URL happens to link them to someone else’s site, you will lose valuable business prospects. Also, an exact-match domain name will assist you in getting found by search engines quicker, instead of someone else.
Furthermore, if your customers are regular consumers, an exact-match URL will work better and will be more crucial than if you’re in the business-to-business industry because B2B companies typically sell to niche categories. Their target customers are usually smaller, which means lesser presence online. With B2C companies, consumers will generally have less time to spend finding you, and this means more opportunity for your competition to get their attention.
If you will start a business that is done offline, then you have more flexibility if an exact-match domain name isn’t available. Physical stores like restaurants include their physical location in their URLs. For instance, think about companynameSG.com if you live in Singapore, or companynameAsia if you have multiple businesses in Asia. This can help boost search engine visibility since many people search for retail outlets, hotels, eateries, boutiques, etc. via location.
When talking about domain name extensions, the best advice is, of course, is choosing a dot-com. However, if that’s not available, a dot-net or even dot-com.location are viable options as well.
Finally, ensure whether matching social media handles (names) are available. They should ideally all be the same as your domain name. If it’s already taken, a tiny change to the brand name or adding a location- or industry-specific modifier that’s constant across all your social media networks is also okay.
Choosing a name for your new business needs to be a strategic decision – never rushed, and not something entirely based on creative inspiration. After deciding, embrace it, because it’s going to be a part of your business as well as everything you do! Good luck!