There are well over 1 billion websites in the world, so how are you going to make yours stand out from the crowd?
Well, the best place to start is by getting the right domain name for your business. And as a web design studio we know a thing or two about domain names, so let us take you through our top tips to picking the right domain name for your business before then taking you through some easy steps to procuring your domain name.
What is a domain name?
In simple terms, your domain name is your website’s internet address. It is what you type into your internet search bar to locate a brand’s website.
For instance, getplantd.org is our domain name. Other popular domain names are google.com and netflix.com.
The domain name can be split into two parts. First, you have what is called ‘Second-Level Domains’ (SLDs) which refers to the unique name that comes first. In our example, it is ‘getplantd’. Then you have ‘Top-Level Domains’ (TLDs) which refers to the domain extension. Examples include .com, .org, and .co.uk.
So how do we make sure that we pick the right domain name for our business?
How to pick the right domain name
Getting the right domain name for your business is vital for anyone who expects to have a strong online presence. It is after all the address for your brand, so you will want it to be easy to remember and type.
This can be quite a challenge though due to the large amount of websites that exist on the internet. You may well find that the simplest and best domain name for your business is already taken, so you may need to get imaginative. For example, our brand name web address was taken (plantd), so we added a ‘get’ in front of our brand name.
Just ensure you follow these top tips to picking the right domain name and you’ll be on the right track to finding your perfect online address.
Putting your brand name into your domain name will make it much easier to remember. On the flipside, generic domain names will require your users and customers to remember a domain name that is separate from your brand name.
So make sure to decrease the opportunities of your users getting lost when trying to find your brand online by branding your domain name!
Make it short
Shorter domain names are preferable for a few reasons. They are easier to remember, they look cleaner, and they take up less space when you advertise them on social media and on other marketing media.
Obviously, this can then make finding a suitable domain name harder. But the more unique your brand name the easier it will be.
If you have a really long brand name think of ways you can shorten it. Or if your brand name is really short and the domain name is already taken think of ways in which you can add to your name. For instance, you can add an action word in front (just like our own domain – ‘get’ plantd). A good example for food-based websites is to add ‘eat’ before the brand name.
Pick the best domain ending
There is a lot in domain endings (AKA the TLDs or domain extensions).
The most popular of these is .com, but because of this, you may well find that it is near impossible to get your brand name as a .com.
You may want to consider instead a .org or .net. Alternatively, if your business is location-based (and will always be so), you can try out a domain ending for your country. For the UK there is .co.uk and .uk (a newer extension which is gaining popularity). If you want to go even more location-specific you can find city-based extensions, but do be wary that if your business expands out of this city you may find it difficult to attract users to a domain extension from another city.
Gaining in popularity are the more unique domain endings like .recipes, .kitchen, .studio, etc. These can be more expensive and may only be relevant to a certain few businesses, so be careful in choosing these.
Avoid numbers and dashes
You will want your domain name to be easy to type into the search bar and there is nothing more irritating than having to type out an array of dashes and numbers. Not only are they easy to forget, but they are also quite messy.
Let’s say you want to print out your domain name onto a physical entity, like a van or your office window, things like dashes and numbers will make it harder for people to memorise.
So make sure to keep those dashes and numbers to your passwords and keep that domain name clean and easy to type out.
Keep it relevant
When you first pick out your domain name you may have an idea or vision of what your business will become. But this may or may not happen. For example, you may have considered delivering your products in the past but have decided later on down the line that it isn’t feasible. Now imagine you had included ‘delivery’, or ‘delivered’, in your domain name. You’ll end up with many confused customers.
So keep the future in mind when picking a domain name for your business.
How to buy a domain name
So you’ve got some ideas for your domain name, now it is time to shop! Follow these steps to get your domain name found and bought.
1. Locate a reliable domain registrar
There are many reliable domain registrars that you can use online but some of the most popular include 123Reg or Google domains.
123Reg is very affordable, with many domain names costing just £1.99 for the first year (perfect for anyone just testing out their business for the first year). Then the price will go up slightly from the second year onwards. Google Domains start at £10, but the prices don’t often change each year.
2. Browse available domain names
Utilise your chosen domain registrar’s domain search function to take a look at all of the domain name ideas you have listed.
They will tell you what is available. If your preferred domain name isn’t available they will suggest alternatives either using different domain extensions or variations. This can be useful if you are still unsure of what your domain name should be.
3. Purchase your preferred domain name
Purchase your preferred domain name on the domain registrar’s website. You’ll be given an online account login which you will need to save so you can access your domain at any time. This will be useful for when you are setting up your website hosting.
Now you have your domain name you are ready to set up your website. Here are the next steps:
Set up hosting
You will need to pay for website hosting. We recommend choosing an eco-friendly website hosting service like GreenGeeks so that you can keep your website as green as possible.
Follow our website hosting guide to help you set up your hosting.
After you have your website hosting set up you will want to install WordPress.