One of the biggest decisions you’ll make in terms of your online business is choosing the domain name. You may want to call yourself “Todd’s Widgets,” but if that name is already taken, you’ll have to get creative and choose something else. For instance, your website may have to be “Todd’s Widgets NC” or some other derivative to distinguish it from the other Todd’s Widgets floating around.
There’s also the question of which domain level extension to use: .com, .org, .net? While it’s true .com is still the most ubiquitous (and most desirable) domain name, you’re not doomed to fail if your domain level extension is something less familiar, like .io or .studio. Having a lesser-known extension typically means you’ll have to spend more on marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) so that people remember your website and are able to find you. Take heart though: It can be done! There are other things you should know about picking a domain name, like . . .
After you’ve decided whether you’re a .com, .org., .net, etc., it’s time to get creative. If you’re a local business, using regional or descriptive keywords will help you, like in our Todd’s Widgets example. For us, if we didn’t already love the name Web Symphonies, we’d take advantage of location when describing ourselves and could use something like “Central Charlotte Web Design Company.” It has a nice ring to it, no?
The descriptive keyword doesn’t always have to be in the beginning, it could also be tacked on the end: “Web Designer Uptown Charlotte.” And if you have a big budget, you could buy similar variations of your domain name and redirect them to the domain of your choice. Several of our clients do that so even if someone doesn’t quite know your website address, they’ll find it anyway. And it would stifle competition, so there’s that.
Keep it Simple
I know it’s all the rage to misspell known words for your business, but that creates an uphill battle for potential clients or customers to find you. How much time do you want to spend telling people, “No, no, it’s with a ‘y,’ not an ‘i'”? You can, and it works for some businesses, but those businesses also spend a truckload on advertising. Wouldn’t you rather spend that money on something else? Like a Charlotte web design company that will build you a snazzy website?
I know it’s hard to come up with a short domain name these days because it feels like all the short ones are taken, especially if they’re not spelled weird, but if you can tighten your domain name, do. Incredibly long domain names like the-best-web-designer-in-all-of-charlotte-nc.com are hard to remember and hard to type. If your clients and customers have to write a novella to find you, chances are they’ll go to your competition. In other words, the shorter the domain name, the better.
Just Use Letters
If your domain has numbers or hyphens, that’s just asking for trouble. It’s so easy to put them in the wrong order, or leave them out entirely. Think about your passwords, which likely are a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters. How often do you mistype your password? Even though you know it? Even though it’s something you use frequently, unlike a random web URL? I’d wager you mistype it a lot. If it happens with passwords, it will happen with web domains, so when in doubt, leave it out.
After reading through the tips above, it’s time to brainstorm. List 25 domain names and then look them up on a domain search tool. We like this one from Dreamhost. Is your name taken? Drat. Scratch it off your list. However, if when you visit the website you see a message like “under construction,” or the website is a blank page, reach out to the owner of the domain about a potential sale. They might sell it to you! It happens. But if they’re not willing to part ways with their domain name, then solicit help from your friends. Two brains are better than one when it comes to brainstorming.
To Sum Up
The reality is the number of domain names, especially those ending with .com, is dwindling. As more and more people shift their business online, there are fewer domain possibilities available, which is why negotiating a sale of an existing name is a good option.
It’s also important to snap up a good domain name when it comes to you because if you wait too long, it might be out of commission. If you want to bounce ideas off your favorite Charlotte web design company, aka us, reach out. We’ve been in business for a long time so we know a good domain name when we see one.