By Jerry Spears
You’ve just started your business, you’ve ticked off all the boxes on the list of things to do, and you have your federal, state, and city licensing. You have your office space or a brick and mortar storefront. You have inventory cataloged and ready to be sold. You also realize that your store will need to have a presence on the internet as well.
Now, you have to buy a domain to pull it all together to sell both online and offline.
Your excitement deflates as you open your web browser and domain names. There are millions of them; probably more than that. Now you’re in the depths of despair; how will you be able to choose the right domain? In this current tech-savvy environment your SEO ranking is partially dependent on having the right domain name.
Now, before you go and close up shop, here are seven steps to help you choose the right domain name for your business. If you take these steps, you’ll be more likely to gain that excitement back and start your business off on the right track.
Review Your Business Plan
This may sound counterintuitive to start here, but truthfully, you must understand your business and your goals completely. Thoroughly review the whole plan, then focus on your mission and vision statements.
These are your why’s. You should completely understand who you are as a business, as a brand. Then you should know what you have to offer customers. What products or services are you going to offer? How will they help your customers or clients? Make a list of keywords you want your customers to remember about your business.
Search With Your Keywords
Now that you’ve got the important words that you think will be what resonates with your customers, go out and search for each one. Then search for phrases that include your keywords. Make a note of what websites are on the first and second pages.
The key is to see what other companies have called their domains. In essence, these would be your competitors. Then go look at a few of their websites to see if the domain matches what they are selling. You do NOT want to have a domain name that doesn’t match with what you’re selling.
Put It All Together
Now that you’ve found the important words you like, searched using iterations of those words and found how other competitors are naming their domains, it’s time to put together some domain names that resonate with you. If you sell widgets and the name of your company is Widget World, you might consider something like worldwidewidgets or widgets4u. Make a list of at least five or six names because this is critical for the last step. The more on your list, the better off you are.
Find the Right Domain Host
Before you go further, you’ll need to find the right domain hosting service. The service must be affordable to you and offer things that you value. There are many different hosting and domain registrar sites that will give you great value and even help you set up your website.
Make a List of Possible Iterations
Now, you’re ready to put that list of domain names to the test. All domain hosting services keep a list of current domains across the internet and will flag the one you want as being currently used or bought. That’s why you made that long list of possible domain names.
This is where many businesses end up with names like widgets48576 as a domain name because they didn’t make a list of possible iterations. Also, your domain host service will make suggestions for you, but be very careful about choosing those unless they are already on your list. They are trying to be helpful, but you have done the homework to make sure it matches what you’re selling.
Set Up Your Privacy
Some other decisions you’ll want to make are whether or not you want your personal information made public. If you’d rather just have your business name out on the internet and not your personal information, you may want to consider paying for them to be private.
Having an address on your site is important, however, it puts customers at ease knowing they have a way of finding your business, even though it is all digital. You can establish physical addresses for your online store with your post office; this is what you will want to include on your website instead of your personal information. Either way, if you do not have an address listed on your site, customers will be hesitant to trust you. They will be more likely to go somewhere else they perceive as reputable.
Determine Renewal Interval for your Domain
The final decision is how many years do you want to pay for your domain name before it’s renewed. You’ll be able to decide between one, two, and three years, usually.
Obviously, the longer you pay to host your domain with that service, the cheaper the price. You may be uncertain about your business acumen and opt for only one year of hosting. If you intend for your online store to be the primary source of income, then you will probably want to go with a longer period of hosting, giving you time to build your business and retain your chosen domain.
These seven simple steps will help you find the right domain for your business. It may seem time intensive, but in the long run, it will reap plenty of benefits. The most important of which being that your customers will be able to find you easily.