If you have a business, you need a website. To have a website, you need a domain name.
What’s a domain name? It’s the top-level web address for your website. Here’s an example: blackraven.digital. And here are a few pointers to keep in mind as you go about choosing one for your business:
Try to Align It With Your Company Name
The closer the better for the purposes of consistency. That said, name-for-name domains are not always possible. If your company name is unavailable, consider using a catchy, shortened version of your name. Saint Louis Magazine, for instance, uses “stlmag.com.” Extending the name is also an option. Avatara, a cloud provider in St. Louis, uses “avataracloud.com” because “Avatara” is taken.
A word of caution, though: Avoid hyphens, numbers, slang and anything overly creative (like using 3 in place of E). Hyphens make it too easy to type the wrong domain in, while numbers and crazy names are too easy to forget or misspell.
Check for Trademarks
If your domain name happens to be a registered trademark, you could get sued, which isn’t ideal. So make sure you check the U.S. trademark database before committing to anything.
Keep It Pithy but Memorable
The same rule of thumb applies to creating a business name. But when it comes to your domain name, you want something that can be easily branded. Meaning, you want it to be easy to pronounce and concise, but not so generic that isn’t memorable.
Again: no hyphens, special characters or numbers (unless the numbers are part of your name, i.e., “Studio906.”)
Choose the Right Domain Extension
You can’t go wrong with .com if you’re a for-profit business, and .org if you a nonprofit organization. Rand Fishkin – founder of Moz and trailblazer in the digital marketing community – explained that “.com” offers cognitive fluency. This is fancy speak for “it’s really intuitive” because .com is such a common suffix. It’s like how you know the word that comes after “Rock, paper, scissor.” People expect a .com after a site name.
But that doesn’t mean it’s always the best choice. Case in point: Blackraven.com was taken by a company that crafts augurs. Instead of changing our name or settling for something less interesting, we selected the suffix “.digital.” We are a digital marketing company, after all.
Factor in Location
If you’re a local business, you can use a local domain extension like “.stlouis” or “.chicago.” This could work if, say, you only serve that specific market.
But if you have multiple locations, you may be better off going with a more universal domain extension like “.com” and creating sub-domains or web pages for your specific locations.
Once you have the right domain name picked out, you have to buy it. GoDaddy, Domain.com, Hostgator, Bluehost and Namecheap all sell them. Also consider buying similiar or typo versions of your domain name. For instance, Tesla owns Tsla.com, and it reroutes to its homepage.
Build Your Site
Buying a domain is the easy part. Now the real work begins: creating your website.
That’s a much more involved process – one that we’d be happy to talk through for you, or just answer any specific questions you might have.