How to Choose a Domain Name for Your Small Business Website

small business website domain name

Choosing a domain name for your small business website is not unlike naming a child. You want something unique but easy to spell; modern, yet timeless; important without sounding stodgy. You’d also prefer it to be something that all the other kids on the playground (or on the internet, as the case may be) aren’t going to poke fun at.

In fact, choosing a domain name for your website is arguably harder than naming a child, because while any given playground boasts five to seven Ashlyns and Alyxs, your URL has to be the only one like it in the entire world.

Don’t panic. While it’s true that a ton of thought and consideration must go into your selection, finding the perfect domain name is not an impossible feat. We’re here to walk you through it!

Try YourBusinessName.com First

Plenty of small businesses choose their business name as their domain name, and that’s perfectly OK. It’s what we did, and since you’re here, it seems to be working just fine.

But what if your business name is already taken? We might be the only Mischa Communications on the web, but if some other Billy Bob already owns a bait shop or a different Carissa decorates cakes, you’ll have to think outside the box a bit.

Is Your Dream Domain Unavailable?

If your preferred domain name is unavailable, that doesn’t necessarily mean all is lost. It’s possible that it has been reserved but isn’t currently in use. In this case, you can find out who owns it and offer to buy it out from under them. This lookup tool can give you the contact information for the owner of the domain name.

Note: People who actively buy and sell domain names generally do so for a profit, which means you’ll likely have to shell out more than you would have to buy an unregistered domain.

If your business name is trademarked but you find that it’s being used as a domain name for another business, you can challenge the use of the name; however, this process can be both lengthy and expensive.

Another (unrecommended) option is to tweak your chosen domain name so it’s only slightly different, but this can be dangerous. If the domain names are too similar, you could run afoul of trademark law or risk a mistyped keystroke sending your customer straight to the competition!

Should You Use Something Other than .com?

Quick: How many domain extensions can you think of? You probably came up with a handful — .com, .biz, .edu, .info, .org, .net – but did you know that as of 2017, there were 882 extensions available for use?

We were surprised, too!

Just because you can use them, however, doesn’t necessarily mean you should. In the minds of your customers, .com will always be the gold standard, unless you are a legitimate educational or informational site. The .biz extension is gaining in popularity, especially within the small business community, but it can still make some people question the legitimacy of your website.

Stick with .com unless you have a compelling reason to do otherwise.

Quick Tips for a Great Domain Name

  • Keep it simple. Long domain names are harder for people to remember and each unnecessary character makes it that much easier to mistype.
  • Unless you have a number as part of your business name, stick to letters only. That goes for hyphens and other weird punctuation, too!
  • Use keywords whenever possible. If you have an ambiguous domain name that doesn’t clearly state what you do, it’ll be harder for people to find you.
  • Consider registering common misspellings of your domain name, as well. This will allow you to direct typo-prone individuals to the right spot.
  • Make it easy to spell and pronounce. This makes it easier for you to verbally give people your web address and for them to share it with their friends.

What’s Your Name?

Choosing a domain name for your small business website is one of the most important things you’ll do, so it’s important to do it right. Following best practices and avoiding common mistakes will ensure that you make quite a “name” for yourself!
Want more tips, tricks and small business resources? Mischa Communications has your back! Let’s get started building the future together!