Since a solid website is the cornerstone of any successful business, we are often contacted by potential business owners before a business plan is even started. Being brought on as early-stage business consultants is an honor we’ve grown to appreciate, and it’s a responsibility we take very seriously.
One of the most frequent questions we get is, “How do I get a domain name?” Getting a domain name (URL) is a very simple process, but the hidden question is usually, “How do I pick the right URL for my business?”
During the early days of the internet, choosing the right URL was a fairly simple task. You took your business name, added a “.com” after it, and you were set. But as time passed many people started to realize that although their business may be unique, their name may not be.
In order to help people pick the right URL, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Try your business name first.
If your business name is available, then get it! If you’re still deciding on a name for your business this is also a good way to test the waters to see if anybody else is using your name idea.
Keep in mind that a URL doesn’t have to end with “.com”. Even though .com is the most popular extension by far, .org and .net are still very popular. Also, “.pro” and “.co” are two of the fastest growing extensions.
If none of these work for you, there are literally hundreds of other choices including some fun ones like “.expert”, “.ninja”, and “.wtf”.
Wikipedia has the most complete list I’ve seen right here.
Make it local.
If your business name is already in use by somebody else in another city, you may want to consider adding your town’s name to make your URL unique to you. This may not be the best idea if you’re planning to expand outside your immediate area, but if you’re looking to keep your business close to home this could be a simple solution.
Describe your business.
Describe your business rather than use your business name. Do you make the best pizza in the world? Why not “WorldsBestPizza”? Are you a family counselor in Urbana? You could try “HelpingUrbanaRelationships”. Many well known businesses like Netflix and WebMD got their start doing this.
Be pronounceable and use real words.
If you have to spell your domain name when saying it, don’t expect people to remember it. Using common words, free from alternative spellings and numbers, are your best bet.
“That’s fones4u.com: phones with an f, the number 4, and the letter u.” Ugh.
On a related note, numbers and words that sound alike should be avoided as well.
“Is that ‘4brothers.com, fourbrothers.com, or forbrothers.com’?” If you have to use a number, it’s best to reserve the numeric version and the written word version if you can.
Keep it short.
When possible, keep your URL to ten or fewer characters (plus the extension). You don’t want people to mess it up when they try to type in on their phones.
Get it now!
Most importantly, if your URL is available, don’t hesitate. The last thing you want is for somebody else get your perfect URL. If you can, get more than one. The wholesale price for a URL is around $10. If you’re getting it for less than that, you may be locking yourself into a hosting contract or other services. (We register URLs at no charge when we build sites for new clients.)
There are many things to consider when deciding on a URL. These are just some of them. If you need assistance picking one or registering one, just let us know. We’ll be happy to help.