Much like naming a child, choosing a domain name for your business website can be a long and arduous journey. Its a decision that could have a huge effect on your whole online marketing strategy going forward. The instinct is to choose the domain that’s the same as your business name, but that’s not always possible. Sometimes your business name is too long or awkward, more often though, it’s already been taken by someone else. So what do you do when you can’t get your first choice? Here are a few suggestions.
Don’t go for one of the alternate top level domains like a .net or .biz. These may be temping, especially because you can usually get your exact desired phrasing, but they are usually a poor choice. Think about it this way, if your business name is fairly common, people will 100% of the time try yourbusinessname.com before they try any of the variants. As a result, you’re driving traffic to whoever owns the .com site, and that person is, more often than not, a direct competitor.
On a similar note, try to avoid hyphenating your domain name. People will often times forget the hyphen when typing or sharing, again directing traffic to a similar, competing site.
Instead of taking a different top level domain, try appending a keyword to your domain name. For instance, if you sell dog toys, dogtoys.com is surely taken. Your next step is to come up with a list of keywords that would accompany a search for dog toys.
If you’re selling a generic product, words like “world”, “all”, and even “cheap” can go a long way. If you’re in a niche market, then take advantage of that fact. Definitely include words such as “handmade” and “organic”. Finally, if you’re a local business like a car dealership, try including the nearest commercial center. “ChevyDealerMassachusetts” is too broad, and “ChevyDealerAvon” is too specific, but “ChevyDealerBoston” is just right. This style of targeted keyword domain naming will really help out with your small business SEO down the road.
Something else you should note, is that it’s important to always purchase your domain name before you do any kind of advertising. In fact, you should purchase it the second you decide on the one you want. There are people, and indeed entire businesses, who work solely on the idea of buying domains other people want and then selling them at ridiculously inflated rates. Don’t let this happen to you!