So you’ve finally set up your business, everything is in order, got your products ready. You even have the name of your business sorted – Amma’s Homemade Treats. The next step being putting it out there – letting people know about you and creating demand through your website. But despite all the confidence you have, it can be a nerve-wracking to pick the perfect domain name and extension. This is potentially permanent, so you want to get it right.
There are plenty of different aspects to consider before selecting just any name. So how do you ensure your website is represented by the best possible domain name and extension?
Here is just a bit of information on how domain names came about: Before 1984, when University of Wisconsin (USA) technicians developed a name server, there were no domain names, only numbers like http://188.8.131.52/ to designate a website address. That would look awful on a business card and definitely not SEO friendly.
Suddenly in 1985, domain names using the extensions .com, .net, and .org were available to the world. And today, tens of thousands of new domain names are registered every single day – with over 300 domain extensions ranging from .ac to .zw!
Domain names generally cost a few hundred rupees a year – a basic fee, but premium domain names can go up to a lot more.
A .com domain name – It is advisable to get a .com domain name as it’s one of the most common, and generally what people relate to when they think of a website. A majority of websites are .com sites. If you’re going to be telling people what your website address is (as opposed to them finding you in search engine results), there are benefits to using the “default” domain extension .com simply for easy recall.
Availability – In case your domain name is unavailable, there are a few workarounds, such as utilizing a hyphen or an underscore. If you choose do so, limit yourself to one to avoid looking spammy, but consider the possibility of missed opportunities when you tell someone, “That’s ammas-homemadetreats.com.” They may forget the hyphen, or type in “ammasdashhomemadetreats.com.” Seems like a silly mistake, but it does happen.
To avoid these mishaps, consider using keywords in your domain instead of your company name. For example, you could choose the domain name Freshhomemadetreats.com. If you’re concerned about branding, you could always purchase a branded URL later and redirect it to your generic domain name. This is a considerable project, as each individual page must be redirected.
Related extensions – Experts do not recommended that SEO-conscious webmasters purchase low quality TLDs such as .biz, .info, .ws, .name, etc. as a means of increasing traffic.
But, if you’re concerned about protecting a branded website address, then you may want to purchase related domain extensions and redirect them to your home page, just to avoid brand confusion in the future.
Picking the appropriate non .com domain –
1. .Net – If you simply MUST have a domain name that is not available with the .com extension, consider a .net address. These are a good option for tech companies since there is a subtle mental hook – .net = internet or network. This is the second most popular extension and is widely accepted for businesses of all types.
A .net domain is not advisable when you can have the .com or if the resulting domain name gives the wrong impression. “GreatHair.net,” for example, might be good for supplying hairnets to the food service industry, but not for your high-end hair salon!
2. .Org – If you are a non-profit, the .org extension make sense. Technically the .org extension is open to all, but is not recommended for business ventures, as there is an expectation that .org = non-profit.
3..Info – If your site exists purely to compile and provide information, as opposed to promoting a product or service, you could use a .info domain extension. But, if you’re clearly promoting yourself, a product, or a service, a .info extension might be misleading and not even get you the target audience you desire.
4..Biz – If you’re a business owner, you are allowed to use .biz. But deserved or not, it has a trust problem, being frequently associated with poor quality, spammy websites.
5.Lesser Known Extensions – With 300+ available, all can’t be covered, but here are a few examples:
•.name – For use by individuals only.
•.me – Good for personal branding, or if you can cleverly make it part of your business name (i.e., chaiti.me).
•.pro – For registered professionals.
•.tv – Technically for websites in Tuvalu, this is open to everyone and is a good option for a television-related site.
•Specialty domains such as .aero and .travel are reserved for their specific industries and might be a good choice only if your customer base and business associates are extremely well-accustomed to the domain extension.
The Bottom Line on Domain Extensions – While choosing the perfect domain for your new website might feel like a hugely important decision, much more important to the ultimate success of your online endeavours is your decision to commit to creating plenty of quality content, ensuring ease of use, and fostering lead generation potential.
You should also make sure the domain you’re considering doesn’t come with any built-in Google penalties. If purchasing from an existing site owner, ask to see the Google Analytics overview from the last six months. A dramatic drop in traffic is a good reason to reconsider.
Finally – before there is no going back – ask around, friends, family, colleagues, business associates, what they think of your domain name. They just might point out something that you missed, saving you time and trouble before investing in a disastrous domain name.