Every website must have a domain name. After all, it’s part of how the internet’s addressing scheme functions. However, all domain names are not created equally. In fact, your site could be found with a string of numbers just as easily as it could with words. Known as an IP address, each computer on the web already has a unique set of numbers assigned to it. However, if your customers had to remember a string of numbers to find you rather than a relevant name—how long do you think your e-commerce site would last?
This is just one aspect of the value of a strong domain name. Here are some others.
The Credibility Factor
When you publish your site using a free hosting service, you’ll get the option of choosing your own domain name (usually for an additional fee), or going with the URL of the provider with your company name added as a tag at the end. This screams low budget, fly-by-night, likely to be gone the minute someone makes a purchase from you. One of the first rules of e-commerce is to do everything possible to inspire trust in potential customers. Going this route won’t help you get that done. It’s a much better move to spring for a unique domain name—ideally, one that speaks to the nature of your business whenever possible.
It’s Good for Continuity
Going back to our previous example for a moment, if you use the domain name of your host and decide to move your site, you’ll have to reroute traffic to a new URL. While redirects are typically effective, this could still mean lost business. A lot of customers could potentially fall through the cracks left by the move. When you own your name, you can take it anywhere you go. Your customers will automatically follow along from host to host to host. Something else to consider here is registering your domain name for several years in advance. Not only will this allow you to make sure your domain doesn't expire any time soon, it's also a great site for Google to see that your site is going to be around for several years to come.
Speaking of Branding…
When your domain name and company name are the same, the awareness of your brand is enhanced. The name of your site is easier to remember and more readily shared. This increases the likelihood of picking up business by word of mouth. Let’s say someone admires something a friend bought on your site and the friend says, “Oh, I got it at YouLoveThis.com.” That person can log onto your site immediately because the name is easy to remember. Just as when you create a logo and make it relevant in some way to your business, making your domain name easy to use and reflective of what you do improves sales. For further inspiration, simply think about any of the famous name brands and logos that you see on a daily basis. What makes them special and unique, and how can you use those same ideas for your own brand?
Claim Your Name or Brand
With hundreds of millions of domain names already registered, it's not often that you will get the opportunity to visit a domain registrar and have your requested name be available. However, if you are attempting to register your personal name or brand, this is something that very well may be available. If it is, be sure to secure it as fast as possible. Since there are likely many other people in the world that share the same name as you, it's only a matter of time before someone else grabs it. You can see some examples of famous celebrities and people who missed out on registering their name, and now they had to go with an alternative. Not only is this a branding disaster, it could also hurt your personal brand or business in the process if people are finding another site instead of your own.
Above all, make sure your domain name is as short as possible, easy to remember and easy to type. Misspellings could send customers into a site like yours with wares like yours. Keeping it simple and easy to spell will help keep this problem at bay. Your domain name choice should also make sense in terms of what you do. And, ideally, it should end with .com, as that is what the mainstream ecommerce customer is already trained to type. These factors will help your domain name choice resonate with potential customers.
The value of a strong domain name is difficult to quantify—but easy to recognize. It’s the way people refer to your business. It’s the tool people use to find you on the internet. And, choosing the right one can be the difference between your business being memorable and forgettable. Given all of the effort you put into making every other aspect of your site right, the last thing you want to do is choose a weak domain name.
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