Choosing the right domain name for your business

Your choice of domain name can have a huge effect on your website's visibility to your intended audience. As a result it makes a lot of sense to devote some time and thought to your selection.

How to choose the right domain for your businessThe first thing you need to think about is how your customers will search for your product or service. It could be that you are a popular local business that just wants an online presence. In this case your customers may well be looking for you by name. You still might want to add some keywords that will help boost your ranking in searches for the type of business you own in the area in which you operate.

Here in Orkney, it's entirely possible that your business is well known and totally dominates its market sector. In that case it's possible to have a domain name that is your business name followed by an extension – preferably .com or .co.uk. People still tend to expect .com as a default, but if the name you feel is most effective is already taken with a .com or .co.uk extension, you might want to consider purchasing it with a .net extension. You want to avoid hyphens, numbers and other characters to make the address as memorable as possible. For example dawnrae.com rather than dawn-ray.com.

However, it could be that your business is not well known and has not achieved market dominance. In that case it makes sense to brainstorm those keywords for which people would most likely search to find your business. You want to incorporate what you do and (if your service offering is location or area specific) where you are. Some examples might be doggroomingorkney.com, orkneydoggrooming.com, kirkwalldoggrooming.com or doggroomingkirkwallorkney.com. Keywords in your domain name are not as effective as they used to be as a search engine optimisation tactic, but they still help. If you're starting a new business you are in a great position to give your business a web friendly name that will work as well online as on your premises, vehicles and business cards.

It might make sense to try to fit your company name, service offering and location in your domain name. In this case dawnraydoggroomingorkney.com or dawnraydoggroomingkirkwall.com might work well. However, the longer you make a domain name the less memorable it becomes, and it's important for your domain name to be both memorable and easy to type.

Wish fulfillment can also be an important consideration in choosing a domain name. For example, hotmail.com, moneysupermarket.com and webuyanycar.com were chosen to give you a good feeling about the product or service offered. You could choose bestdoggroomingorkney.com, ultimatepetgroomingkirkwall.com or happydoggroomingkirkwall.com.

You can always make specific websites for individual product ranges with their own product or range-specific domain names. Likewise you can have country-specific extensions for each country in which you operate. Amazon is a prime example of this with amazon.com, amazon.co.uk, amazon.de etc.

Whatever happens you need to avoid copyright infringement, so you need to research whether the word combination you use is already in use, for example as a company or product name. In some instances it can also help to buy up other versions of the domain name; for example miss-spellings and correct spellings with different extensions, to stop competitors from buying and using them.

Once you have found your name, it's important not to fall into the trap of registering it with a company that offers to reserve a name that isn't immediately available. All they are doing is having you pay them to buy the domain name in the event that it becomes available in the future. That might never happen. Some of the domain registration websites out there are unclear on exactly what is offered to the point of being outright deceptive. Please ensure that the domain name you're purchasing is actually available to buy or choose another one.

You might also find this guide on how to choose the right domain name useful on firstsiteguide.com.

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