Pondering Point #1: Why Is My Domain Name So Important To My Online Marketing?
One of the most crucial steps if you are starting a business these days is the selection of your domain name. It determines what your website address will be and therefore what URL you will plaster all over your marketing collateral.
Most people pick a domain name that is the same as their business name if not similar, so if you are just starting up, it’s important to consider the decision for both simultaneously. Unless you are an aspiring fashion designer, or a budding celebrity, gone are the days when you name your business after your family name. I mean, imagine if Mark Zuckerberg named Facebook after his family name instead of using keywords linked to the purpose of the product. Right! Facebook probably wouldn’t have become as successful as it is today because before Facebook (I’m coining it Bfb) the name Zuckerberg didn’t mean anything to anyone.
Anyway, back to the point. A website address is not just about perception, or how prospects associate your business name to your product. The reason it’s vital to have keywords in your business name (and therefore your domain name) is because this is how Google matches indexed websites against the search terms people type into Search Engines. Even though Google does index the entire content of a website, the domain name of a site is still the clearest indication of relevance to what people are searching for.
Example: As a marketing business, it was essential that the word “marketing” is in my domain name.
Takeaway Tip: To enhance your Internet marketing results and improve your visibility online overtime, register a business name and domain name with keywords relevant to your business.
Pondering Point #2: .com or Not?
The next question to ask yourself is, ‘What is the final part of my website address (a.k.a. Top-Level Domain) going to be? Will it be .com, .org, .co.uk, or .com.au, or something else?’
This decision depends on two factors – 1) the availability of the last part of your URL as well as 2) the intended market of your business. For an international market, .com is usually more suitable. For an Australian market, people tend to opt for .com.au, and for non-profit organisations, you often have the option of selecting .org.
If the exact web address you are after is already taken by another business, you can contact the owner of the web address to see if you can purchase it from them. Alternatively, you can consider different verbs or nouns if you have the flexibility to change your business name, or even add a hyphen or underscore into the URL, but with the latter option you run the chance that users might end up on a competitor’s site.
Example: For instance, if you are in the business of interior design – www.interiordesign.com is probably taken, but trying to market yourself as www.interior-design.com or www.interiordesign.net may not be the best decision because people are either less likely to remember the ‘hyphen’ or the ‘.net’ ending of your web address and end up on your competitor’s .com website. Choosing a .com as a top-level domain was a no-brainer for me, but I had to do a lot of brainstorming and go back to the drawing board several times before selecting ‘givememarketing’ as my business name. Now I get regular requests from people who want to buy the domain from me.
Takeaway Tip: If you have an international market, stick to .com, or for country-specific businesses pick a top-level domain such as .com.au or .com.uk or .co.jp. If these (in combination with your business name) are taken, then consider a different business name that still integrates a keyword relevant to your business.
Pondering Point #3: Does the Business Name and Domain Name I Want Infringe a Trademark?
Whether a domain name is available or not, ensure the business name isn’t already taken and doesn’t infringe an existing trademark. If it does, and you market yourself in that name, you could face legal action.
Once you’ve checked on the availability of the business name and domain name as well as top-level domain, you are ready to register the domain. In terms of cost – registering a domain name is cheap. Some domain name registrars charge around $10 per domain name or less if you register multiple at a time.
Example: I was diligent with my research and background checks. I ensured Give Me Marketing was available as a business name, and a domain, didn’t infringe any copyrights, and then registered both.
Takeaway Tip: If you are a start-up business, check the availability of domain names before registering your business name and check copyrights.