You’re starting a business and running through your checklist. Everything’s looking good — except you still don’t have a domain name. That’s part and parcel of running an online enterprise, so you have to have one, and it has to be good. Here’s how to get a domain name for your small business.
What’s the Purpose of Domain Names Anyway?
Well, domain names ID computers, networks and other Internet resources with a label that’s easier to remember than the numerical addresses used in Web protocols. In more practical terms, a domain name is the address of your website that folks can punch in to get to said site.
Your domain name is unique to you and can consist of any combo of numbers and letters and is used with an extension such as .com, .org or .net.
Picking a Domain Name
Selecting the best domain name for your site is vital to your business’s success. For one thing, it’s expensive – both to your wallet and your brand – to shift course once you’re already out there. So do try to get it right the first time.
Here are some tips to help you do just that:
- Keep the name short. Under 15 characters is recommended. The longer the name the harder it will be for your customers to remember. Long names also open you up to typos.
- Choose a name that’s easy to spell and pronounce. The spelling part is obvious, but you will have opportunities to share your domain name in the presence of others. They’ll have to guess at the spelling if they go to use it, so make sure they guess correctly.
- Make sure the name is brand worthy. You need to stand out, so make the name memorable and catchy. After all, isn’t Amazon.com better than PurchaseBooksOnline.com?
- Do not use hyphens. Too many people may forget to include them, and you’ll potentially lose business.
- Avoid names with doubled letters. You don’t want to lose traffic to typos.
- Move fast once you come up with “it” before someone else nabs it. Scores of domain names are registered daily.
- Stick with .com if you can since those domains are the most memorable. This is not the place to be cute or clever. Extensions such as .photography can also make you seem like a scam.
- Employ domain name generators. These are free tools that can help you find clever or witty name ideas.
- Use keywords. Doing so informs search engines of the nature of your business.
Drat, Your Domain Name is Taken
We feel you. But after you’re done quietly weeping, pick a new name or tweak your first choice. You can also use a different extension if you just must have that name. Oh, and there’s always the possibility that the owner of the desired name will sell it to you; everyone has a price, they say, right? You can use www.whois.net to contact the owner and find out.
After you get a domain name you still have to register it, and that’ll cost you up to $25 annually. Go with an established provider such as Yahoo Small Business, and that’s that. Or you can buy one in conjunction with web hosting, which you’ll also need.
Now you know how to get a domain name for your small business. Hyped yet? You should be. Once you pick and register a domain name, you’re truly in business! Have fun with the process as you take these tips to heart.