Paired with a smile and firm handshake, names are the first step in a formal introduction and establishing an identity. Once your business is searched online, its website address, a.k.a domain name, becomes part of that identity.

Choosing the perfect domain name takes some serious brainstorming. It’s the first extension of your business found by search engines and, therefore, is part of its brand. So, before you begin conjure up a name, here are five essential factors to keep in mind:

1. Research

Do your homework. Before deciding on a name, you need to see what’s out there and what’s available. While many domains are affordable, those of common phrases, such as hotel.com, are typically expensive due to high demand, costing thousands of dollars. Also, take note that several businesses may have a similar name as yours. It’s beneficial to explore their websites as well, to prevent from choosing a close resembling domain.

2. Think Simple, yet Unique

Domains that are short and simple are easy to remember. It’s best to avoid using numbers, hyphens, and double letters, to prevent misspelling the domain. Shoot for a name that closely matches the spelling or concept of your business, yet intrigues users to learn more about it. For example, our client, the Center for Physical Therapy, went with centerforpt.net, an easier and edgier domain name for clients to recall.

3. Include Your Location or Service

If you run into the problem of having the exact same name as another company, consider adding emphasis of the location or industry within the domain to help distinguish your website from the rest. For instance, local insurance agency, SMH Insurance, went with www.smhinsuranceva.com to emphasize Virginia as its location and service area.

4. Use an Appropriate Extension

The most renown suffix worldwide is .com, and therefore is the most recommended. However, depending on your company, a different suffix may help users better identify your industry. Many college universities utilize .edu, and nonprofits with .org.Try to stay away from less familiar suffixes, such as .people, .info, and .co, as they’re not often used and are harder to remember.

5. Buy Alternative Domain Names

Switching domain names after your website is already established could severely change your flow of traffic and SEO rankings. If you discover your current domain is commonly misspelled, or easy to confuse with others, it’s a good idea to purchase extra domains. Many successful businesses own multiple domains, such as those with misspellings and different extensions of their original one, to avoid this problem. Extra domains can easily be setup to redirect visitors to your website.

Remember, there is always competition. Even if you don’t plan on having a website for your business any time soon, it’s good to go ahead and purchase the domain. That way, it’s already off the market and owned by you.
For a more in-depth explanation of domains and web hosting, check out our other blog post, Web Hosting 101. When you’re ready to build a phenomenal website for that domain, give us a shout.