These days being on the Web is anything but optional for many businesses. And with having a business website comes the need to bring customers to that website. Your business’ domain name (website address / website name) can play a role in doing that, from making it easy for people to remember it and visit directly to helping you rank higher in search results. So in this day and age, is it almost more important to choose a good domain name than an overall business name?
Domain names could indeed be more important right now, or at least equally so. Here are some tips on choosing a domain name / business name combination for your company.
How to Make Your Business Name and Domain Name Work Together
- Pick a generic term domain name (if you can get one). For example, if your company sells widgets, you would look for Widgets.com or something else with “widgets” in the domain name. This can help you rank better for that term in search engines, bringing in more search traffic. If the site name isn’t directly tied to your company name, you could handle it by saying something like “Widgets.com — Brought to you by [insert your company name here].” At this point it can be difficult to get a short generic domain name for your keywords unless you’re willing to spend a lot to buy them from someone else.
- Try a shortened version of your business name if your biz name is long. But make sure it’s memorable. For example, I used to run a small PR firm. It involved personal branding — it was based on my name. So the company was called JH Mattern Communications. That would have been much too long of a domain name for people to remember and type in for direct traffic. So I shortened it for the website to a domain name of www.JHMattern.com. If you can shorten your company name in a similar way and get an available domain name, that could be a solution for you. Direct traffic can be even more important for some businesses than search traffic. After all, making it easy for people to come to you directly means they’re less likely to come across the competition or negative reviews in search results unless they go out of their way to look for those things.
- Make your domain name your business name, even if it’s long. This isn’t an ideal situation, but if you already have an incredibly well-known brand name it doesn’t make sense to rebrand for your website. In that case if a shorter version doesn’t make sense, go with the long one. You might even want to register the full business name as a domain name if you do go with a shorter version publicly. You can redirect it to the short version, and it stops competitors from trying to capitalize on your trademark.
- Consider rebranding your biz name. – If you have a particularly long or complicated business name, or one that just isn’t known well yet, consider rebranding. If you think your business can effectively bring in customers on the Web (maybe more so than offline), find a good domain name and make that your priority. Rebrand your offline business to keep things consistent.
Every business is different, and they’ll reach their customers in different ways. But if your target market is predominantly online, make sure you pick the right domain name to help them find your business. And make sure it’s clear that your website is tied to your company as a whole, especially if you want to give your site the benefit of your existing reputation.