While choosing a business name is important for any small business startup, online businesses also need to choose a domain name to correspond with a business name. Before thinking about your actual domain name, it’s important to choose an effective business name. A high-quality business name will be:
A. Marketable and able to adapt to various branding efforts easily.
B. Easy to remember, at least with your target market.
C. The representative of the image you want your online business to portray.
D. Not infringing on the trademark of any other company or website.
Here are a few basic considerations when choosing a domain name for your website:
1. What domain name extension do you prefer when choosing a domain name? (.com?, .net?, your country code?)
2. How long do you want your domain name to be? Shorter domain names tend to be easier to remember, but that might not be an issue if you plan to exclusively drive traffic through clicks online, rather than needing people to always remember and type in your domain name (such as if you planned to use radio advertising to promote your website).
3. Do you prefer the domain name to be your company name, or something heavily related to your company name, or do you prefer a domain name that is keyword-rich for search engine optimization, even if that means using a less memorable or more unattractive domain name?
4. When choosing a domain name, do you want to avoid using hyphens in your domain, or is that not an issue for your particular online business?
5. Do you want to buy a previously-registered domain name that has a history (especially if its previous use was related to your new online business), or would you prefer a domain name that’s entirely new and that has never been used before?
6. Do you mind having numbers in the domain name you choose, or would you prefer that everything is spelled out? If you do want numbers, will they be confusing to site visitors?
Once you’ve answered those questions about choosing a domain name, and you have a basic business name (or keywords) in mind, there are a few tools that can help you choose a domain name for your online business:
- Domain Name Registrar: When you visit the site of a domain name registrar, you conduct a search for your domain name idea(s) to see if the domain names are available. Many registrars have a built-in tool that will suggest similar domain names, if your first choice isn’t available. If you’re targeting a general keyword, and not worried about prefix and suffix options, run a search for keyword.com, even if you know it’s not available. The registrar’s tools may suggest a substitute domain name that will meet your needs.
- Domain Name Generators: These are often free tools found online that can help you in choosing a domain name by either adding random suffixes and prefixes to your primary keyword or by combining multiple keywords that you provide, all while searching for available domain names.