The single most important part of your business’s online marketing plan is choosing the right domain name. The right domain name is simple, unique, and easy for your customers to navigate to. Falling short of any of these requirements can not only damage your business and lose you potentially valuable customers, but make it difficult for interested visitors to reach your website. So, when choosing your domain name, be sure to avoid these common pitfalls.
It’s Too Hard to Find
Customers want to find your business online with a minimum amount of searching and fuss. The simple fact is if they can’t easily find you, they’ll go somewhere else; and after building your website, you want to be available to anyone looking for you. The key is to keep your domain name relevant, simple, and easy to understand. Consider these best practices:
- If possible, make your domain name the same as your business with a “.com” extension. If it’s not available, consider purchasing it through a domain auction or using a “.net” or other extension.
- Don’t use numerical substitutions (“1” for “one”, “4ever” for “forever”) and don’t misspell words with the intent of being cute, trendy, or ironic. Poor spelling negatively reflects on your business.
- Keep your name as short as you can. Customers don’t want to have to type a long address into their title bar, so keep it under 7 characters if possible. The longer your name is, the more room there is for error, and errors keep customers from finding you easily.
It’s Too Hard to Remember
Having a short domain name free from numbers and errors is only part of the equation. You want your customers to be able to remember your domain name without having to search for it every time. If they can’t remember your web address, then they can’t promote you no matter how much they like you.
- Make sure your domain rolls off the tongue. A domain name that is difficult to say or understand when said out loud is not going to bring you traffic. Word-of-mouth marketing is an effective and free strategy for gaining new customers, so take advantage of an easily-pronounceable name.
- If you can’t use your business name as your domain, use relevant, branded keywords instead. Customers need to easily associate your domain name with your business. An irrelevant or poorly-worded domain will be easily forgettable or confused for something else.
It Creates Traffic… For Your Competitors
Your domain name needs to be unique to you and your business. You don’t want customers to go searching for you and end up on your competitors’ websites instead. You’ll end up giving your competitors free business and free traffic at your own expense.
- Don’t just pluralize or hyphenate an existing business name and make that your domain name. Customers will forget to add the extra character and end up on the original website instead.
- Check with the US Copyright website before committing to your domain name. If that name ends up being copyrighted, you could have your website shut down. If you’ve already branded and marketed that domain, this could cost you time, money, and traffic.
Your business’s online success is contingent on an easily recognizable, easy-to-use domain name – a long, poorly-worded, or irrelevant name can be the downfall of your online enterprise. Make sure that the name you choose has the potential to direct customers to your business quickly and easily.
Megan Webb-Morgan is a web content writer for B2B lead generation resource, ResourceNation. She writes about small business, focusing on topics such as business sales. Follow Resource Nation on Facebook and Twitter, too!