How to Name a Website
When choosing how to name a website for your local business what you are really choosing is a Domain Name, also called a Web address or URL. This name is linked to an IP address which represents a physical point on the Internet. When someone types your domain name into a Web browser, your Web page displays. Your domain name is arguably the most important aspect of creating a small business website.
This article includes three strategies you can use when choosing your domain name, plus lists three pros and cons of each strategy to consider before making your final choice…
STRATEGY 1 – Use Your Business Name: If you are a new business choosing a domain name may be easier to accomplish because you can choose your business name and domain name at the same time. If you are an existing business this may be more difficult to achieve because there are times when your specific business name is not available as a domain name.
- Easy for your customers to remember
- Keeps your online branding consistent with your physical store
- If a potential client sees an advertisement with your business name they can easily Google your name and be directed to your website
- Your business name may not be available as a domain name
- Your business name may not contain important search terms relating to your trade or products
- Your business name may be long
STRATEGY 2 – Use Your Name: Using your name for your business name is definitely a personal choice that makes more sense for some businesses over others. For example, being a sole proprietor I use my name for my website URL. Even though I am still in the same industry, over the last 10 years or so the services I offer have evolved and my customer base has changed with it. But because my website URL is not tied to any specific product or service it will always be relevant to my business.
- Easy for customers to remember
- Personalizes your business
- Very flexible as your business evolves over time
- You may want to keep your name and your business name separate
- If you decide to sell your business using your name may make it more difficult
- Not search engine friendly
STRATEGY 3 – Use Your Service/Product and Region You Serve: When people use a search engine to find products/services locally they will generally type in the product/service plus the nearest city they feel they can get the product/service at. This is the number one way people look for local businesses like photographers, florists, stylists, salons, etc.. By having a domain such as citynameproduct.com you have helped your position in search results improve greatly because the domain name is the most important factor for a site’s ranking in search engine results. It can be difficult to get the most searched terms as domains though because many people already know of this strategy. Plus if your domain name is losangelesflowers.com and you also have a store in San Francisco you can see how that doesn’t help local traffic in your San Francisco location.
- Search engine friendly
- Obvious what you do
- Obvious where you are
- Not a unique name
- You may offer multiple services or products
- You may service more than one area
Additional guidelines to consider when choosing how to name a website for your local business:
- Keep the name as short as possible: A short domain name is not always an option because 99.9% of single word domains are already taken so we are forced to choose longer names. But as a general rule, the shorter the better because it is easier to remember.
- Choose a.com:.com names are the most widely recognized names on the internet. If you are forced to choose a.net or.biz most likely the.com version of your name is already taken. Your customers WILL type in the.com version of your domain name when they are looking for your website. This will confuse your customers, or even worse, send them to your direct competitor’s website.
- Be hesitant about using hyphens (-) in your domain name: Names with a hyphen in them carry less weight than a name without. For example: losangeles-flowers.com is viewed as a less important name than losangelesflowers.com as far as search engines are concerned. Plus verbally telling someone your domain name when you have to say “los angeles (hyphen) flowers (dot) com” can be confusing.
As you can see, choosing how to name a website for your local business requires a lot of planning and thought. I highly recommend considering each of these three strategies when choosing your domain name. Researching available domain names using each of these three strategies will ensure that the choice you make will be relevant for your business now and in the future. An excellent resource for researching and purchasing domain names is the World’s Largest Registrar – GoDaddy.com