Not only can your domain name, or URL, be a factor when it comes to visitors finding your business online, but it also plays a crucial role surfacing your website in search results. So what do you choose? How do you pick the perfect domain name when everything seems like it has already been taken?
With a little creativity and web design savvy, you can do it. Here's how to get started.
1. Buy a Domain That's Consistent with Your Brand Name
It's a common practice to sit by a computer when brainstorming business names and type in options to see if the domain is available. Picking a website domain should be part of the strategy behind your business name if you are starting from scratch.
Existing businesses buying a domain for the first time should look for something that matches the company brand. For example, Lara's Cupcake Shop might be laracupcakes.com. Establish an obvious connection between the brand and URL.
2. Opt for a Variation That's Easy to Spell
This should be a no-brainer: Pick something that's easy to spell.
One of the most common pitfalls of registering a domain is picking something only to find that you – or your visitors – type it in wrong frequently. A domain name should be easy to spell and type into search browsers.
3. Stay Away From Hyphens or Numbers
Don't use hyphen or numbers in the domain name. These can make the URL look spammy and it can be complicated to explain to people.
Go back to the example of lauracupckaes.com. That's easy to explain. But what if it were lara-cup-cakes-1-2-3.com? That's a complicated domain to remember.
4 . Shorter is Better
Most of the well-known domain names out there are already taken, but that doesn't mean you have to create a long string of letters to direct visitors to your website.
Look for a domain name that's between 6 and 17 characters as a general rule. Ensure that these characters create a memorable word or phrase that's easy for users to search or type in directly.
5. Grab a Top-Level Domain
You might be tempted to buy a trendy domain that uses .design or .bike, but it's always better to have a top-level domain. (That's the part after the dot.)
These domains have been around for a long time and have the most credibility. They include:
6. Match Your Domain and Social Media Handles
When searching for a domain, think of all the ways your online presence will connect and search social media handles at the same time if you plan to do any online marketing.
When you find a domain and associated social media handles that you like, grab them all at the same time. This makes it a lot easier for users to find you, because your “name" is the same across all online channels. It also helps build search and social credibility with accounts linked by the same name, owner, content and information.
7. Say It Out Loud
You don't want to cringe the first time you tell someone what your domain name is. Say it out loud – don't just look at it on the screen.
Does it sound OK? Does it make sense? If saying the words out loud cause any concern or are confusing in any way, keep searching.
8. Buy Multiple Domains Related to Yours
When you settles on a domain name, buy more than just one URL. Acquire common misspelling or variations as well and redirect those to the main URL.
This can be especially important if there's anything complicated about your name. Think back to laracupcakes.com. She might find that people commonly think her name is Laura, making lauracupcakes.com a great secondary domain to own.
9. Think About Keywords
Include a word in your domain that's related to your main business or what you do. This can help search engines better understand what the website is about from a top-level search.
But don't be spammy. Pick one word that's important. It might be your location if you are a small business or what you do. Chances are that if you have created solid branding, the keyword choice is likely built into your business identity already.
10. Stumped? Use Your Name
Still not sure what domain is right for your website? For some website owners -- particularly bloggers, photographers and freelancers – using your name for the domain can be a great option.
Your name is unique and people already use it to identify you. Don't reinvent the wheel if you don't have to.
A domain name is more than just a way for people to find you online; it can be a big part of your brand identity. It's something you'll probably use for many years to come, so you want to find something that's easy to understand, unique enough to stand out and will withstand time.
Now that you're ready, find the perfect domain name with Weebly's domain search tool. (You can also transfer an existing domain to Weebly.) Get started.