A domain name has the power to support your brand’s success when chosen intentionally. Unfortunately, a majority of desirable domain names are already taken. Many good domain names are for sale but come with hefty price tags.
The following strategies will help you obtain a domain name that supports both your business and your budget.1. Make sure your domain name is decipherable in ads
It’s essential to have a short domain name, but not at the expense of indecipherability. Using a shortened version of your business’ name as a domain name can create confusion for customers when seen in ads.
For example, J&I Power Equipment is a popular national brand, but their website address – jnipe.com – isn’t decipherable when displayed on billboards or electronic signs. It’s naturally read as “J Nipe,” which takes a minute to figure out.
On the other hand, John Deere’s website – deere.com – is easy to decipher, and it’s obviously associated with the brand. The difference between these two companies is that J&I began with a complicated name, while John Deere is simple and easier to shorten in a domain name. That brings up the next point…
2. Search for available domain names before naming your business
Searching for available domain names before naming your business might sound backward. However, your domain name and business name will become inextricably combined. If there’s any chance at all to get the name of your business to match your domain name, it will be easier for your customers to remember.
If you haven’t named your business yet, don’t settle on a name until you find a matching available domain name. This is an opportunity to create a simple and short name for your business that translates well to a domain name.
3. Buy a premium domain name if it’s going to support your business
While not everyone will benefit from buying a premium domain name, there are advantages.
The most significant advantage of owning a premium domain name is how it will affect search engine rankings and clicks. For instance, when a domain name that pops up in search results matches the keywords being searched for, and the content is relevant to those keywords, that site will rank really well. A matching domain name tells the user your content is probably more relevant than other results, and that relevance will get you more clicks.
It’s also known that domains using recognizable extensions like .com and .net bring in more reliable traffic. No matter how many new extensions get released, nothing will ever beat having a .com. If you have a budget to buy a premium .com domain name, it’s worth every penny.
4. Make sure the domain you’re buying isn’t blacklisted
If you’ve found a good domain name and can’t figure out why it’s available, it might be because it’s been blacklisted from the search engines. Spammers routinely abuse Google’s terms of service to rank their sites. The rankings don’t usually last long, and Google often bans those domain names.
Find out if your potential domain name has been blacklisted before buying it. Run a quick domain name health check on MX Toolbox to find out if there are any potential issues with owning that domain. If it’s clear, run a site search inside of Google to see if there’s any indexed history left associated with that domain name. Finally, head over to the Wayback Machine to view the domain’s content history.
Not everyone will be forgiving if your domain name has a sketchy past. At the very least, make sure search results aren’t filled with negative comments about your domain name. People who find those results may not understand the domain has a new owner. Don’t put yourself in a position to do reputation management just to get a clean start.
5. Avoid ambiguous and clever spelling
Ambiguous spelling doesn’t matter where hyperlinks are concerned, but ambiguity can make or break your business when you need to verbally direct people to your website.
When spoken, the words “for” and “four” sound the same. If you’re a guest on a podcast and you tell everyone to visit you at “coffee 4 life dot com,” it’s anyone’s guess as to what the audience will think you’ve said. Most people will try the other spelling if the first one doesn’t work, but if someone else owns the mistaken spelling of your domain name, you could send people to a competitor.
You could clarify the spelling of your domain name, but after a few times, it will get cumbersome.
If you must use ambiguous words like “for” or “to” in your domain name, buy all possible misspellings of your domain name and forward them to your main website.
The best solution is simply to avoid ambiguity altogether, and choose a short domain name that is immediately understood when verbally stated, and is spelled correctly. Don’t mix numbers with words, and avoid hyphens, homonyms, and abbreviations.
Don’t be too picky
If you’re struggling to find a solid domain name, talk to other people and ask them for ideas. Pick up your local white pages and browse through the names of businesses for inspiration. Don’t be too picky, or your indecision will postpone your ability to launch and run your business.
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