What they are, why they matter, and how to choose the right one.
What Is a Domain Name?
Essentially, a domain name is your website’s name. It is the address at which users can find and access your website. They can be any combination of numbers and letters, as well as domain name extensions (i.e. .com, .net, .org) but they must be a unique combination.
Why Do Domain Names Matter?
Your domain name is your first impression for your website’s visitors. It affects:
● User experience. A poor user experience can lead to an increased bounce rate, as well as your visitors not returning.
● SEO. When someone searches for your business, you want to be sure that your website is the one that they find. Otherwise, they might find a competitor.
● Branding. If there is a disconnect between your domain name and your brand, your brand recognition will be damaged.
Most importantly, you can’t run a website without one, it’s like living in a home with no address.
Sure, you can build one, but no one will ever be able to find you.
Choosing a Domain Name
Now you understand what a domain name is and why picking the right domain name matters. Here is the hard part: choosing a fitting domain name that isn’t already taken. Here is some advice on how to pick the right name for your domain.
What Is the Website About?
The content and purpose of your website should be determined before you come up with your domain name. Trying to build a website around your domain name is like trying to write a book around a title, come up with the story first and then pick a relevant title.
Is your domain name relevant to your content? Is it something that your visitors can remember? Is it too long? These factors can influence whether or not someone returns to, or is able to find, your website.
If your domain name is irrelevant to your content, you will be attracting the wrong audience and they will ultimately click off your site, increasing your bounce rate. It is a good idea to include a keyword in your domain name to better attract your ideal audience.
Domain names that are too long are a problem because they are difficult to remember. A user may misspell your long domain name and end up on a different website, or get frustrated and stop looking for you altogether.
Have a domain name that is easy to spell, easy to remember, and that is relevant to your content so that the right visitors are able to find your website.
There should not be a disconnect between your brand and your domain name. Your site’s identity should match your corporate identity to keep things consistent. The right domain name will improve brand recognition.
Having a domain name that is relevant to the intent and content of your website will help people find you on search engine result pages.
Some tips for a search engine optimized domain name:
● Include a relevant keyword. For example, if you are a marketing professional, add ‘marketing’ in your domain name.
● Local domain names. If your services, products, or website’s general focus are in one area, include it in the domain name. For example, if you own a hair salon that only operates in New York City, your domain name should be XYZSalonNYC.com.This domain name specifically targets your local market.
● User experience and branding. Search engines take into consideration the user experience as well as branding when delivering search results.
Domain Name Extensions
The most common domain name extension is ‘.com’, about 43% of all domains use this extension. It is recommended that you use ‘.com’ in your domain name because it is the most familiar and will most likely get more visitors this way. Other extensions are more difficult for visitors to remember, and they will more than likely always assume that your domain extension is ‘.com’ when typing in your website.
What to Do If Your Domain Name Is Taken
You have spent all of this time carefully thinking about the best domain name for your website, just to find out that it’s already taken. There are few ways to handle this:
1. Try to buy it from the owner. Sometimes people will purchase domain names in an
attempt to sell them back to people at a higher price. Or, if the domain name leads to what looks like an inactive website, you can reach out to the owner and offer to purchase it. 2. Change the domain extension. If you are really set on using your chosen domain name, you can change the original extension from ‘.com’ to ‘.net’, ‘.uk’, etc. The downfall of this would be if visitors go to other websites accidentally because they don’t know your proper domain name extension. 3. Add a hyphen. If your domain name is more than one word, you can add a hyphen,
though this is not usually recommended as hyphens often appear in ‘spammy’ website domains. 4. Check for alternative suggestions from your hosting provider. Oftentimes, when you type
in a domain name and it is taken, your hosting/domain provider will suggest alternative names that are available.
UKBSS is the UK’s number one domain name service provider. Learn more about how to register, manage, and protect your domain name here.