Having a website is very important for your business. It establishes your presence online and opens your business up to many profitable opportunities. However, what many business owners don’t know is that the success of their business website is to a very large extent tied to their domain name. As a business owner, your domain name is the difference between how easily your website can be found online and how easy it can be lost in obscurity.
Whether you are starting out a new project, or rebranding an existing business, make sure you avoid making any of these 7 mistakes when choosing your domain name.
Mistake No 1 – Choosing the wrong TLD
Top level domain name (TLD) is that part of the domain that comes after your preferred name. Dot COM is the most popular TLD available and is used by more than half of the websites on the Internet. Choosing the wrong TLD for your website can have far reaching consequences. For example, if your business is based in Spain but your offer products and services to a global market, it is better to opt for a generic TLD such as .COM, .NET or .ORG rather than a ccTLD like .ES. If you use a ccTLD, search engines assume that you only provide products and services to the country of your TLD. This means that it may be difficult for your website to appear on search results for global queries. However, it will appear in search results for local queries if you have content on your website that answers the search query.
It can also be a mistake to opt for some of the new weird sounding generic TLDs in a bid to save a few bucks. But while there is really no ‘bad’ TLD, it is good you choose one that is appropriate for your business. If for instance, you have a website for an educational institution; .EDU will be the most appropriate.
Mistake No 2 – Not paying attention to spellings
Try to avoid using domain names that people will find difficult to spell. This can make you lose a lot of potential customers. These customers can spell your domain name incorrectly and land on a wrong website or on an error page.
Pay particular attention to words that have different spellings in different cultures. For example, ‘FLAVOR’ (American English) and ‘FLAVOUR’ (British English). Instead use words that are easy to remember and spell. You should also stay away from words with spellings that can be shortened. For example ‘PHONE’ shortened to ‘FONE’. Your domain name should be something that can be mentioned over the phone and the visitor can spell it without making a mistake.
Mistake No 3 – Choosing a domain name similar to another
This is the result of not doing adequate research before buying your domain name. When you opt for a domain name that is similar to another one, you stand the risk of losing your customers to that business. Unless you have a strong brand identify, avoid nondescript domain names for your website and look for something unique that defines your business and what your offer.
Even of you use a different TLD, as long as your domain name is similar to another domain name. The chances of your customers landing on that other website are very high.
Mistake No 4 – Forcing your domain name to match your business
Many people start a new business without considering if a matching domain name will be available. They are later stuck with a domain name that has no relationship with their business and have to find ways to make it work. It is better to consider and search for a domain name and a business name at the same time so that you can have a match fit. This way, you can include your domain name in all your marketing materials from the start.
Mistake No 5 – Choosing a long domain name
While your business name can be long and contain as many characters as you want, it is not a good idea to have a lengthy domain name. You want something that is easy for your visitors to remember. Keep it short, otherwise people might forget or misspell it. If you have a long business name and want a domain name that matches your business name, you can try abbreviating the words to reduce the number of characters. Borrow a leaf from international successes like Hewlett Packard (HP.com) and International Business Machine (IBM.com).
Mistake No 6 – Paying too much for a domain name
Gone are the days when people looking for a book will type book.com in their address browser. Thanks to websites like eBay and Amazon, generic domain names are no longer the fad. While you can still opt for a generic domain name that specifically spells out the nature of your service, it is not a good idea to pay a fortune for it when you can channel the money into marketing your website and building a brand with your unique domain name.
Mistake No 7 – Not researching potential domain name trademark conflicts
If you do not do your research properly and choose a domain name that is associated with a trademark, you may face major issues and can legally lose the domain name through a UDRP process. And if you are unlucky, you can get sued and face serious damages. It is important that you check your domain name for potential trademark conflicts before buying it.
The Internet has made it very easy for businesses to enjoy a wider reach; and with the many discount domain names available, it is no longer as expensive as it used to be.
If you already own a domain name and discover some problems with it, all is not lost. You can simply register a new one and take measures to ensure that you don’t lose your existing visitors. And if you are starting a new website, avoid the mistakes discussed above and give your website a domain name that would build your brand and grow your business.