You’ve just decided it was time to get a website – or revamp your old website – and among the many decisions you have to make, one to not overlook is your website address.
Your website’s address is the online equivalent of your business name. It has to represent what you do, be easy to remember, and look good. But there are other things to take into consideration.
Make it easy for visitors to find you
Keep it simple, short, easy to type and to remember.
- The extension: whenever possible, go with .com. If you do not go with .com, chances are it’s because the address is already in use. Most people automatically type .com and you will lose some precious traffic to your website. There is one exception to this rule: non-profit or charitable organizations might want to go with .org as it was originally restricted to this type of organizations.
- The length: a short domain name is easier to remember, to type and to market. There is no miracle number, but staying under 15 characters is a good idea.
- The format: keep it simple, avoid hyphens. The only reason you would use hyphens is because the non hyphen version is already taken. Just like with .com, most visitors will get it wrong and land on the other website, which probably belongs to one of you competitor.
- Numbers in address: If it is in your business name, use them. However, avoid using ‘4’ in substitution to ‘for’ or ‘2’ for ‘to/too’. This will make it confusing for customers to remember your address and increase the chances of typing the wrong one. If you plan on using a ‘0’ in your address, make sure it will not be mistaken for a ‘O’.
- Choice of word: Try and use a word that is easy to spell and does not have several spelling. “literature” for example is a commonly misspelled word. Stay clear of it and pick a synonym.
- Plural or singular: Make sure you get the address that makes the most sense. For most businesses, using singular word is more natural as in “arkansaspestcontrol.com”. However sometimes the plural version will seem more logical; if we take an example of a company selling refurbished iPhones, the plural version makes more sense: “cheapiphones.com”
Pick an address that will increase website traffic
- Relevancy: If you can, try including keywords relevant to your website in your URL. This will make it easier for search engines to understand what your website is about, and will make you rank higher. A repair shop called “Carter’s” would benefit from including a keyword in the address such as “cartersrepairshop.com”.
- Use previously owned domain names: They are called dropped domains, and are available because the company went out of business, didn’t pay the registration fee, or simply changed domain. If you are in the same industry, you will benefit from all the previous traffic the site was getting.
- Use common phrases: Another way to generate unplanned traffic is to have an address that is something users type as a search query. “repairiphone.com” would get a lot of easy traffic from people search for “repair iPhone” on Google.
- Once you have bought your address, if you are in a highly competitive field, you might want to buy the .net, .org and other common extensions, as well as the plural or hyphenated version of the address. Once you have all of you address, make them all redirect towards your favorite one. This last advice is more targeted towards website such as “healthinsuranceplans.com”, some other domains to buy would be “health-insurance-plans.com” or “healthinsuranceplan.net”. Most small to medium businesses will not generate enough traffic to justify buying so many different domain names, but going to “wallmart.com”, “wal-mart.com” or “wallmart.info” leads you to walmart.com
The common rules apply
Finally, once you’ve taken all of this into account, the same rules apply as if you were looking for a business or brand name. It should be easily marketable, original, easy to remember, and convey your brand image.