Domain name tips for your business website
I advise for you to buy your own domain name for your business or personal site, as it will be how people find your business online, and it’s kind of a big deal. Your domain name could be looked at as your online phone number. Through this unique string of characters people can easily and quickly find you on the internet and not have to rely on Google or other search engines to search for you. Not having a domain name is like not having a direct line to reach you, and that could be a bit of a problem if you’re looking to grow your business. The easier you make it for people to find you, the better results you will see.
Buying a domain name is one of the very first steps for starting a website or blog, and I get a lot of questions about them, so I hope to cover most of the basics here. As an example my domain name for this site is aidarojas.com which is my first and last name, but I also own isocialdesign.com which is my company site.
Personal and Company based domain names
Your domain name plays a crucial role in your branding, it is important to select a proper domain name depending on what your business goals are and the main goal of your site. A good tip is to double check that your chosen domain name is available as a twitter handle and Facebook page. This keeps your personal or business brand consistent across all networks and makes it easy for people to identify who you are.
A lot of clients ask me if it is better to register a domain under a business name or under their own personal name if they are currently a solopreneur. I usually recommend to run your business under a business name that is not your personal name. This sets you up for future growth if you want to hire other people and want to allow them to represent your company down the road.
If you also want to register your own name and it is available I would highly recommend buying it when possible. A good practice is to own your first and last name as a domain and point it back to your company website to start out. This gives you flexibility in case five years down the road you change your mind about your profession. In which case you could easily sell your company site and start a personal site under your new venture.
Don’t make people think, … they won’t do it!
Domain names should be short, easy to spell, and easy to remember. I highly recommend .com’s or .nets and if neither is available .co can be a good option. Personally when I see a website with dashes in the name like social-media-today.com I think that looks tacky and unprofessional. This could be just a personal pet peeve, but I do believe that having a domain like that loses the website’s credibility in most people’s perspective.
If the domain you want is already taken you can try to add words like : my, online, the, guide, or blog. If you are wanting a domain like simplewidget.com, and it is not available you can also try to look for plural alternatives like simplewidgets.com. I prefer domain names that are clear and don’t need an explanation. It’s best to keep it simple, and don’t make people think too much.
I have seen cre8tive in a lot of domain names for web designers. While this may seem fun and different, it can cause confusion if you find yourself explaining over the phone “creative agency but creative is spelled with an 8” that can potentially start you off in the wrong foot with a prospect. Simplicity pays off in the long run, so keep this in mind when you register a new domain name.
Insider tips for finding a good one …
If you are just starting your business and you can’t find a domain name that you want, I have great news for you. Some domains may not seem to be available because someone else has registered them, but there is still hope . Sometimes people register domains but are not using them and they may be thinking about letting it expire, or open to selling it.
Godaddy has an awesome database of domain names that have recently expired and are available for you to purchase.The good news is that this creates new opportunities, the bad news is that sometimes the domains are considered “premium domains” so the price range to buy just the domain can range from $20 to $5000. Another thing to consider is how soon you need a domain, sometimes the ones that are for sale are on auction and the auction may run for another 30 days . If you are interested in these domains check out Godaddy auctions, and you will see a wide selection.
There are some benefits of buying expired domain names that most people don’t know about. One of them is that Google looks at the age of your domain for ranking purposes. For example if 2 websites are competing for the #1 spot and all else being equal, one has been registered for a year and the other one for 9 years, the 9 year old domain will be deemed as more credible. As a result the domain with the most age will outrank newer more recently purchased names.
Over time a domain name becomes an asset and gains authority, if someone else already did this for you, it is a nice added bonus. Another plus is that it is possible that the website had previous content as well as traffic that you can benefit from. If the domain name on auction that you are looking at is lifecoachdallas.com and it was active for 7 years, chances are the owner accidentally let it expire. It is possible they have worked hard to build links and traffic and it could mean a good amount of traffic that can now be directed to your site.
Register your domain for 3 -5 years
Either way if you register a brand new domain name or an aged domain I would recommend that you register your new domain for at least 3 – 5 years. There are a lot of fly-by-night businesses that register a domain name for only a year and commit fraud or have a bad reputation online and just decide to change their name.
Google tends to favor sites who are registered for a long period of time, even if they were just purchased yesterday. Another thing to keep in mind is if you want a private registration or a public one. Going with a public one means that your name, address, and e-mail can be published for people to find out who the domain name belongs to. If you are concerned about privacy I would recommend going with a private registration.
When you register a brand new domain never pay the full price! Recently I was sitting with a client who was ready to register her domain name and was about to pay the $12.99 price for it, and it got me to wonder how many other people may be doing the same exact thing! I would recommend for you to Google “ ( current month ) Godaddy promo code “ and you will find promo codes where you can get a domain for $2.49 if not less. As a closing statement always have your own domain, and absolutely never pay full price. Look at it as a small business investment that will grow over time and gain authority and help grow your business.