These days a domain name is your online real estate. A domain name is where a brand lives and conducts its business, along with driving potential customers to buy your products. It is where you lay the foundations and start to build your expertise and authority in your chosen field. With this being said, it should be no surprise that picking a quality domain name is a crucial decision for any individual or business. Choosing incorrectly or in a rush could mean that you will be stuck with a bad domain name that takes both time, money and effort to change. In order to avoid such a disaster, have a look at these 11 Important Facts About Domain Names – they just may help you make the right choice for your next domain name!
1. Your Domain Name Should Match Your Business Name
Now, this does not mean that your business name and domain name should be exactly the same. What it means is, your domain name and business name should be similar enough that people recognise that they are connected. If your business name is “Cats and Dogs”, you wouldn’t want to choose a domain name such as “Elephants and Tigers”. A better option for your domain name would be something such as “CatsDogs” or “CatsnDogs” – anything that gives your customers a related name that is similar to search for online!
2. Choose The Correct Domain Extension
Our personal preference is to always utilise a .com extension. Dot coms are universal and familiar to everyone already. However, depending on where you live, you can also consider other extensions as well. If your brand is based in Australia, it wouldn’t hurt to have both a localised domain extension (in this case .com.au) as well as a .com.
3. Do Not Worry Too Much About SEO
It is common thinking that your domain name greatly affects your SEO or search engine rankings. Whilst is does impact it ever so slightly, in this current age, keywords that appear in top level domains hardly give the boost that they used to in the past. Nowadays, having a high-quality, functional and responsive site matters so much more than a domain name that is stuffed with targeted keywords.
4. Avoid Using Symbols And Numbers In Your Domain Name
In most cases, you will want to avoid using hyphens and numbers in your chosen domain name. Symbols and numbers often reroute people to the wrong website (perhaps even a competitors website) by accident if they do not remember to type a hyphen into your domain URL. Remember, one of the biggest keys to success for your domain name is you want your customers to be able to easily remember is and be able to type it out quickly.
5. Check For Copyright And Trademarks
Always ensure to check beforehand that your domain name of choice has not already been trademarked by someone else. Doing so will help make sure that you stay out of all sorts of unnecessary trouble. When in doubt, always seek out legal advice before you make any critical moves.
6. Exterminate The Domain Squatters
One of the most annoying things on the internet for anyone who owns a website these days are domain squatters. These are people who purchase domain names of popular brands, and “sit” on them hoping to sell the name back to the rightful owner for a profit. Thankfully, you can take the stop to avoid this annoyance by securing top level domains (like .com, .net, or localised like .com.au) all at once when you are first looking to secure your brand’s domain name.
7. Configure Your Domain Names With Your Website
Now that you have purchased your domain, along with all of its variants, it is time to make sure that all your domain names are configured with your website. This means ensuring that whether someone goes to your .co.uk, they are redirected to your .com website instead of being hit with a blank or error page. This way, you avoid squatters whilst at the same time making it easy for customers to find you across a number of sites.
8. Domain Misspelling Alternatives
This is an area where trying to be a bit too clever can end up getting you in trouble. When it comes to having a a name that customers can easily remember, type, and visit, you want to keep it simple. When trying to capitalise on a misspelling in a domain name, you are likely to miss out on the people who are actually spelling it correctly- and this could be a huge segment of your audience. In general, your best bet is to avoid really complex sounding (or spelled) domain names.
9. The Shorter The Better
A general rule of thumb when it comes to domain name length – the shorter, the better. The top websites online have about 8 characters in their domain name (think Google, Facebook) – this ensures that customers remember your name, and have easy access to it.
10. Domain Privacy
Privacy is a big concern on the internet, and your domain name should not be left out of the equation. In fact, anyone can perform a whois search and, if your domain name does not have whois privacy enacted, information such as your home addresses, email addresses, name and phone number will be available for anyone to have a look at. Not good! An easy way to avoid this is to register for whois privacy for your domain names.
11. Everything Has An Expiration Date
This applies to your domain name as well. Domain name registration typically lasts anywhere between one to ten years. If you have bought the name for one year, be vigilant and renew your domain name before the one year mark. Good service providers typically send out notices of pending expiration months in advance, so pay attention when you see them!
With some registries, there is a penalty if you go past the expiry date and it can get quite costly once you get into what is known as the Redemption Period. If you pass this point the domain can be made available on a first come first served basis so there is no guarantee that you will get your domain – terrible! Always remember to keep track of your domain expiration dates.