Visitors will find your website by its domain name. The domain name has two parts: the name + the extension (.com, .org, .co.uk, etc.). A domain name which is meaningful and easy to remember is a great asset. With almost all “good” domain names taken nowadays it’s hard to find a good name.
As the title of this article suggests, the website name should be also the domain name of the site. When people think of your website, they think of it by its name. If your website name is also your domain name, they’ll automatically know where to go. What happens if your site is called “HostingProfs”, yet your domain name for it is myhosting.com? Your customers, recalling that they visited a site called HostingProfs, will type hostingprofs.com in the address bar of their browser and they’ll end up on another site and you’ll loose a sale.
There are a few tips to consider when choosing a website name (also known as the website address, URL or domain name):
1. Try and get a name that is related to your business, your products or your services. For example try to find a domain name which includes your company name or your product name, because that is the first thing that people will try in their browsers. This is also a good practice when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO). Having a popular or meaningful keyword in your website name, will help your website rank higher in the searches results for that keyword;
2. If you can’t get the domain name you want, consider alternative forms of the name you typed. For hosting.com for example, consider besthosting.com, myhosting.com, webhosting.com, thehosting.com and so on. But be careful here, as some alternate forms might chase away visitors. For example if you consider naming the site cheaphosting.com, some people might associate the site with only cheap and maybe non-professional hosting offers.
3. Very often you’ll find the .com domain taken but the .net, .org or country specific extension domain free. The .com extension is the most popular and most used domain extension so it’s preferable to get a .com domain name. But if you can’t get the .com domain name you want, then you might want to consider other extensions. It’s better to have for example, a meaningful and easy to remember .net domain than an obscure .com domain that is not related to your business, or it’s not easy to remember. Country specific domains (such as .co.au, .us) are also popular within individual countries. If you do business in the United States, getting a .us will create a local branding and attract more visitors from U.S, but in the meantime might restrict the flow of customers from other countries. The only draw back for a domain name ending in other extensions is that people are so used with websites ending in .com that you might loose some visitors to your “fellow” .com website.
4. If you found that .com domain name you were looking for, consider buying multiple domain names for the same website. The idea is to protect yourself against the competition. So, if you have a site about search engine optimization (SEO) called bestseo.com, you’d be interested in getting best-seo.com, bestseo.us, bestseo.net and perhaps other similar URLs containing the desired keywords. This way you can prevent other sites from popping near your name. The same idea goes with getting “typos URLs” for your site. What’s a URL typo? Here’s a simple example: what do you think is the most common typo for google.com? You’re right! It’s gooole.com. Try and type google.com and see where you’ll end up. Some SEO experts will say that this is not good practice but it’s OK to have multiple domains for your site as long as you redirect them to your main site using the 301 redirect code.
The conclusion is that you need to get your domain name before anything else! Even before starting the work on the website itself. To register your domain you need to do it with an ICANN accredited registrar.