How to choose the best domain name for your small business

There is no way you can match the marketing budgets of a corporation. Banners on Time Square, Super Bowl TV ads and high advertising budgets are just out for you. But you know what the good news is? You don’t need it.

As a small company you have flexibility - you can experiment and take risks. You can build your brand by betting on your uniqueness and originality. And your domain name is a big part of that.

Your domain name is the calling card of your business, appearing on a variety of marketing materials and serving as a key piece of your brand. It’s often the very first message you send to your visitors. You want it to make an impact!

Choosing the right domain name can be one of the most challenging steps in building your online brand, but by keeping a few key points in mind, you can make it work for you.

 

Give it the radio test

It’s no secret a short domain is better than a long one.

With the rise of mobile, consumers prefer shorter domains, as they’re easier to type on a phone or tablet, and easier to remember. A short domain also saves characters on Twitter, fits on your business card and spreads rapidly via word of mouth, but there’s something more to consider: the radio test.

Would you be able to spell the potential domain name if you heard it on the radio or from a friend? Would someone remember it if you told them in a busy conference hall? If not, it’s not ideal. Avoid intentional misspellings, hyphens or quirks that make it difficult for your fans to share your domain name, and your brand, with others.

 

Make it memorable

When you are small and don’t have a big name to fall back on, you have to find other ways to grab attention. One way to achieve it is with a catchy and memorable domain name. The more memorable it is, the more chances it will be re-visited.

Ideally, your domain name will be an exact match to your business name. Consistency breeds memorability when it comes to marketing.

If the name of your business isn’t an option for your domain, consider relevant keywords instead. The full name of your Boston law office may not work as a domain name, but www.BeantownLaw.com leaves no doubt to what your business is about. Be careful you don’t go overboard. Too many generic keywords can make your site look spammy (i.e. www.local-boston-business-attorney.com) and don’t actually help your SEO ranking.

You can also try to incorporate a call-to-action into your domain names, like Counsel.Me or BostonLawyerFor.Me. With all the new domain extensions available, the possibilities are limitless.

 

Don’t forget the extension

Because it was the first on the market, .com is often seen as the default domain extension for businesses. However, with over 335 million domain names currently registered, odds are that your perfect URL is already taken. This leaves you with a few options: go with your second (or third) choice, pay the current owner their asking price for the domain or choose a different extension.

Recently, ICANN, the organization that oversees domain names, has opened up access to a variety of different extensions, including everything from .shop to .blog to .accountant. This gives you a host of new options for your domain name and allows you to flex your creativity. For example, if you’re a bike repair shop, repairmy.bike is a catchy option.

Above all, try to add a touch of creativity and personality in your domain name. A good domain name can play an important role in your overall marketing strategy – use it as a key piece in your marketing mix and make an impact!

 

About the author:  An economist by education, Natasa Djukanovic is the sales and marketing director of Domain.ME, the international tech company that operates the internet domain ".ME." She's spent her entire career at the intersection of banking, social media, leadership and technology, and is constantly trying to figure out the secret to being in three different places at the same time.