How to Choose a Web Address?

Written by Chris McCarthy Posted in How to create a successful website, Think. Dare. Do., Website Design

Market your company better on the web

How to Choose a Web Address?

Every website needs a web address or domain name where it can be found. Usually, your web designer will help you in making the correct choice, but how should you evaluate his or her recommendations? Or what if you want to register a website address yourself?

This guide aims to help you with these questions.

Finding an Available Domain Name

choose_domain_name A good place to check for available domain names and potential variants is NameBoy. It will show you web address alternatives, and what names are still available. Even if a domain name is taken, you can still go back to their homepage, enter the domain name there, see who owns it and how you can contact them to discuss buying the domain name from them (warning: this can be an expensive option!)

Another great service is Picky Domains. For $50 (or free when you are a blogger) you can get help finding the ideal domain name. If no ideal domain name is found, you pay nothing. This can make the ordeal of finding a suitable domain name relatively easy for you.

You can also ask our community to help you with brainstorming a domain name in our Forum.

 

Your Web Address Should Ideally Be the Same As Your Company Name

Our firm is called Online Design Bureau. As a result, we registered the domain name onlinedesignbureau.com and all of its variants (.biz, .net, .org, etc.)

Microsoft owns microsoft.com, Apple owns apple.com. 

But why is this important?

domain_extensionsWhen people know your brand name, they will conduct a search for your brand online. The website that is most likely to show up is the site that has a web address with an extension (.com, .org, .biz) at the end.

You want that result to be your site. How bad would it be if you did a search for Sony, and the first result (sony.com) did not belong to the Sony corporation? Exactly.

For that same reason, you should also register all variants of your brand name. At least the ones that would have relevance in the countries where you trade. So when you register a domain name, register all the suggested variants as well. E.g. Microsoft owns .com, .net, .org, .biz, .us and all other variants on the net. You do not want one of your competitors to buy up one of these domain names and undermine your brand.

 

Choosing a Good Web Address When You Have No Company

Sometimes you want more than just a corporate address. You might want to build an alternative site, or you might be a blogger without a corporate brand behind you. How do you choose a good web address then?

 

1. Your web address should relate to your product, service, business or the content you deliver

What do you do? If you are a plumber in Dallas, Texas, a good website address name could be plumbingdallastexas.com. If you write about agriculture in Nebraska, a good name could be agricultureinnebraska.com. Etc.

Think about what best describes what you do and then try to find a catchy web address that corresponds with that.

If consumers might get confused about alternate spellings, register these domain names too. For instance, if you run a blog that speaks to both US and British readers, keep in mind that the Brits spell many words differently. Register domain names according to this spelling. You can then redirect these extra domain names to your main website.

Chances are that the domain name with your profession or industry topic + location is already owned. Keep in mind that there are plenty of key phrases people type into Google’s search engine to find your brand. To see what type of popular searches relate to your brand or product, simply go to the Google external keyword tool.

The video below will show you how to use the Google external keyword tool:

 

(You can subscribe to our YouTube Channel to get updates about our latest tutorials on YouTube.)

Once you know the keywords that people are looking for, try to see if there is still a domain name available with these keywords available (NameBoy will help you with this).

 

2. YOUR WEB ADDRESS SHOULD BE MEMORABLE

Yes, the main source of traffic for your website will be the search engines. But once in a while your website might come up in a conversation between 2 people you might not necessarily know. If they tell each other they found this great website and that the other should check it out, you don’t want it to be something complicated like AnantharamanSubbaraman.com. However, if I told you that the main competitor for Ikea is thisisfurniture.com, then that is a name you might be able to remember until you come home, or would find easy to type into your browser. An added bonus is that if you own thisisfurniture.com, it isn’t hard at all to have top billing for the search ‘this is furniture’, the brand name of the company.

 

3. GOOD WEB ADDRESSES AREN’T EASILY CONFUSED WITH OTHER ADDRESSES.

If your website is all about recipes, and you try to compete with a famous website called recipezaar.com, it might be unwise to name your brand recipebazaar.com. You’ll end up being responsible for sending more traffic to the better known site.

 

4. BEWARE OF TRADEMARKS

When web addresses were new, people made it a sport to buy up famous brand web addresses, and then ‘cybersquat’ them, often selling them on for major money. Recently, legislation has caught up with technology, and the legislator now favors the trademark holder. So if you’d own nike.com, chances are that Nike would still get the name if they took you to court and you couldn’t justify how that domain relates to you or what you do.

As a result, it is important to tread carefully if your domain name could be confused with that of a major brand. You might put in all the work to promote your web address, only to lose it when contested.

 

REGISTERING A DOMAIN NAME

Registering a domain name is easy. Probably the best value for money is by registering your domain with Google. For full disclosure, we are heavily integrated with Google’s services and love these people. Again, your web designer will be able to guide you in this decision, or simply look up “domain registration” in a search engine of your choice and compare prices. You should never pay more than $10/yr for your domain name!

 

OVER TO YOU

If you have additional observations, or find yourself with additional questions that we didn’t fully answer here, don’t hesitate to leave a comment or contact us.

Have more questions about how to make the most of your website? Join the conversation in our forum.

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About the Author

Chris McCarthy

Chris McCarthy

Chris blogs on marketing for small businesses and social media.

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