A website is an essential part of doing business. Customers who are looking for your product or service will turn to search engines first. And if your business doesn’t have a website they can find via search engines, then they probably won’t find you at all.
So, building a website for your business should be a top priority. Once the website is built and ready to launch, the final step is securing a domain name that works for your business.
Have questions about setting up a domain name? This quick guide will walk you through everything you need to know.
Choosing a Domain Name That Fits Your Business
What’s a domain name? It’s the web address that shows in the URL bar of an Internet browser. Think of a domain name as the name of your website.
Because it’s the name of your business’s website, the domain name you choose should reflect your business. Ideally, the domain name you choose would be the name of your business – www.yourbusinessnamehere.com.
However, this isn’t always possible, especially if your business has a common name. The domain name needs to be available for you to use it for your business’s website.
How Do You Find Out if a Domain Name is Available?
Domain names are registered by companies known as domain registrars. When you’re looking for a domain name for your site, you can use the website of one of these domain registrars to check if the domain name you want is available. Each of these domain registrars checks a database that tells them which domain names are available.
If the domain name you want is available, then the domain registrar will allow you to purchase the domain name and register it on your behalf. If the domain name you want isn’t available, then the domain registrar will usually offer suggestions for an available domain that might work for your business.
When the domain name you want isn’t available and you don’t like the suggestions made by the registrar’s site, you can brainstorm your domain names as well.
Using Different Top-Level Domains
You might start by checking to see if your domain name is available on another top-level domain name. Top-level domain names refer to the end of the URL. Usually, this is .com. But other top-level domain names include .co, .biz, .net and many others. Your preferred domain name may be available on one of these top-level domains when it’s not available on .com.
Using a different top-level domain has advantages and disadvantages. The major advantage is that you can usually find the domain name you want on a less popular top-level domain. But some customers are skeptical of sites that end in top-level domains other than .com, .org, and .edu because they are so used to seeing these top-level domains.
In general, it’s better for branding to stick with your preferred domain name, even if it’s on a less popular top-level domain.
Tweaking Your Preferred Domain Name
If your preferred domain name isn’t available on any top-level domain or if you’re adamant about having a .com site, then you’ll need to get creative with your domain name.
You can try using recognizable abbreviations for part of your business name in the domain name. Or if you use abbreviations in your business name you can spell them out in your domain name. You can also try adding a word that describes your product/services to your business name in the domain.
Make sure that your domain doesn’t get too long though. Long domains are confusing for customers and don’t work well for branding.
Setting up a Domain Name
Once you’ve chosen your domain name and verified that it’s available, it’s time to set up the domain name. You’ll need to purchase the domain name and register it with a domain registrar.
Often, the service you used to build your website will have the option for them to purchase and register the domain on your behalf for an extra fee. The fee structure for this is usually a one-time purchase to secure and register the domain name, and a yearly fee to renew the domain registration.
If the service you used for your website doesn’t offer domain registration or you don’t want to use their service, you can set up your domain directly with a domain registrar. Some popular domain registrars are GoDaddy, Bluehost, Domain.com, and NameCheap. There are many others out there as well.
Choosing the Right Domain Registrar for Your Business
When choosing a domain registrar, pay close attention to the services they offer as well as their prices. It can be tempting to go with the registrar that’s offering the cheapest price for your chosen domain. But if they don’t have the customer service to support you, you’ll have a hard time when you have issues with your domain or if you want to make changes.
Look for a registrar that offers good customer service, auto-renewal for your domain so your ownership of the domain doesn’t lapse, transfer lock so domain auction services can’t sell your domain out from under you, good site load times, and privacy measures so your personal information doesn’t show when others search to see if your domain is available.
Once you’ve chosen your domain registrar and set the domain up through them, they’ll help you launch your website on your new domain. They’ll also give you a login to their back end so you’ll be able to make changes to your domain settings if needed. If you’re unsure of how to use the backend or make changes, be sure to contact the registrar’s customer service.
More Tips for Launching an Effective Business Website
Choosing the right domain name for your business’s website is key to your website’s performance. It’s also essential for your business’s branding. After reading this quick guide, you should have all the information you need about setting up a domain.
For more tips on how to launch and run an effective website for your business, check out our blog.