Many people wondering where to find a product or service they need will first conduct a quick online search to scope out their options, whether they’re trying to shop local or get something delivered. This makes getting your small business website right — from top to bottom — more crucial than ever before to capture traffic capable of becoming paying customers.
A good website has many elements: design, navigation and branding to name just a few. It’s easy to overlook seemingly small details — like the name of your website. However, the domain name under which your business is registered actually plays a key role in how findable your website is and how trustworthy potential visitors think it will be.
Here’s more on why domain name truly matters and how you can go about choosing the right one for your company.
Why Are Domain Names So Important for Businesses?
Spoiler alert: Domain names can affect user experience as well as search engine performance.
A domain name is a first impression with visitors.
Think of your domain name like a handshake during a first introduction with someone new. Does it dictate the entire interaction? Not necessarily, but it does set the tone for what’s to come. For instance, choosing an inexpensive domain name stuffed with keywords separated by hyphens or periods may appear “spammy” to visitors, causing them to click off of your site. The same principle applies for websites with an unusual extension.
A strong domain builds trust and authority with visitors. It’s also easy to type and read — and aligns with your brand and its offerings.
Domain names can affect search engine rankings
On a practical level, domain names can also directly affect where your website appears on search engine rankings. Since we know people tend to explore higher-ranking websites on their quest to find what they need, it can literally pay to make sure you’re doing everything you can to nab a better spot on results pages.
- How memorable it is
- How long it is
- How it incorporates keywords
- How it incorporates your brand
A solid rule of thumb to live by is that the better your web address is for humans, the better it’ll be for search engines.
Tips for Choosing the Right Domain Name for Your Company
When choosing and buying domains, keep this advice in mind.
Choose a domain name that’s easy to read.
Above all, prioritize providing a great user experience from the get-go. This means choosing a domain that is easy to read, understand and type. Avoid quirky alternate spellings of words, extra symbols and unnecessarily long URLs. Keeping it simple and straightforward will help visitors avoid any confusion.
Stick to “.com” if possible.
There are many top-level domains (TLDs) available, with .com being the most popular for commercial businesses.
If someone already has the domain you want with the .com extension, should you opt for .net, .us, .biz or any of the many TLDs out there? Probably not. The reason for this is two-fold: People can and probably will visit the .com site first, either driving traffic to a competitor or causing confusion or frustration. The second reason is because it calls the legitimacy of your business and brand into question.
Choosing the right domain name for your business will require some research and brainstorming, but it’s always worth it. After all, your brand’s reputation and search engine rankings are at stake here.