June 2, 2023
As a small business owner, you know your company’s name is crucial. It’s your brand’s identifier, a centerpiece of your marketing, and often, your customer’s first impression. But there’s another name equally important, though less tangible: your domain name. Your domain name is your online calling card, your internet real estate, and your digital identity. In this guide, we’ll demystify domain names and provide crucial knowledge every small business owner should possess.
In simple terms, a domain name is your website’s address on the internet. It’s what users type into their browsers to access your website, like “www.yourbusiness.com”. Technically, a domain name is a friendly alias to replace the numeric IP address that computers use to locate your website on the internet.
A domain name comprises two essential elements: the website name (second-level domain) and the extension or Top-Level Domain (TLD). For example, in “www.yourbusiness.com,” “yourbusiness” is the website name, and “.com” is the TLD.
TLDs come in various flavors, each serving different purposes. The most common TLD is “.com”, which is widely used for commercial entities. Other generic TLDs include “.net”, “.org”, “.info”, and more.
However, the domain universe is much broader. There are country code TLDs (ccTLDs) like “.uk” for the UK or “.ca” for Canada, intended to target specific geographic locations. Furthermore, there are hundreds of new, fun, and industry-specific TLDs like “.bike”, “.coffee”, “.photography”, and “.tech”. These can add personality to your domain while signifying your industry or niche.
One way to make the most of domain names is by setting up a multisite network, especially if you have an international audience or distinct lines of business. With platforms like WordPress, you can manage multiple websites from a single dashboard, each having its unique domain.
For instance, you could use ccTLDs or geographically targeted gTLDs to reach audiences in different countries – like “yourbusiness.uk” for your UK customers or “yourbusiness.au” for Australians. This not only enhances SEO but also improves user experience with content tailored to each audience. Check out a case study where I do this to handle several countries for the Stellantis car brands family.
Selecting the right domain name is as important as choosing your business name. Keep the following points in mind:
A simple, catchy domain name is easier for customers to remember. Avoid complex words, strings of numbers, or unconventional spellings.
Shorter domain names are easier to remember and less prone to typos. Aim for 15 characters or less.
Including keywords related to your business can improve SEO, but be cautious. Keyword stuffing can appear spammy and can harm your rankings.
Your domain name should mirror your brand identity. It’s an extension of your brand, so make sure it matches your brand’s tone, style, and image.
Before you settle on a name, make sure it’s not trademarked or in use by another company. It could lead to legal issues and confuse your customers.
Once you’ve chosen the perfect domain name, you need to register it through a domain registrar. It’s also crucial to remember that domain registration requires renewal, often annually. Failing to renew can result in losing your domain name.
Securing related domain names can also protect your brand. If your main domain is “yourbusiness.com,” consider registering “yourbusiness.net” or “yourbusiness.org”. This prevents competitors from registering similar names and confusing your customers.
Navigating the world of domain names can seem complex, but it’s a fundamental step in establishing your online presence. A thoughtful, well-selected domain name can enhance your brand, improve user experience, and boost SEO.
Managing domain names, including the intricacies of DNS (Domain Name System) settings, might feel overwhelming alongside the multitude of responsibilities you shoulder as a small business owner. This is where I come in. I can take care of DNS and Domain Management as part of a comprehensive website maintenance plan, allowing you to focus on what matters most: running and growing your business. Let me help you make the most of your domain name and ensure your online presence is secure, professional, and primed for success. Reach out today, and let’s demystify domain names together.