“When running a small business, your website can be your most important sales tool,” says small business expert, Melinda Emerson. “It’s the welcome mat into your business…in today’s marketplace, the first thing many people do when making a buying decision is search online. Your #1 focus should be to make sure that potential customers can find you…

To achieve this, it’s important to choose a domain name that will drive traffic to your website. According to eWeek:

“It has never been more important for small business owners to understand and leverage the power of a good domain name,” Lori Anne Wardi, co-founder and vice president at .CO Internet, which manages and markets the .co domain, said in a statement. “The right web address, built on a global, credible domain extension, can make it easy for people to find, remember and refer you customers—and to drive your business forward.”

So how do you go about choosing a domain name that will do that? Check out the following tips we found on Linkedin:

Choose an Extension

If you’re wondering whether to go with a .com, .net, or .biz extension, here are some things to keep in mind:

Add a Modifier for More .com Possibilities

It can be a real bummer when you discover your idea for an awesome domain name has already been claimed. That’s what happened to marketing and communications strategist, Jeannie Mcpherson, who added “The” to her domain and registered it as TheJeannieMcPherson.com. If your domain name is for your business, try using words that describe what you do, like dentistry, construction, or associates. This little trick will provide you with countless possibilities.

Make Your Domain Name Location Friendly

Is your business locally operated, with specific geographical service areas? If so, consider using this information in your domain name to make your website more relevant in local searches. When one Austin, Tx.-based mattress company registered several location-based .com domain names, they saw an increase in business just from organic searches alone.

Generate Domain Names Using Keywords

According to research from Verisign and comScore, keyword-rich domain names draw more clicks. Why? Internet users tend to click on domain names that include at least one of their search terms compared to domain names containing no keywords.

Get Creative With Your Business or Brand Descriptor

Successful companies like Tumblr have managed to come up with unique names by adding or removing letters from common words. Popular brands such as Facebook and Instagram created their names by combining or merging two words into one. Thinking outside the box will provide you with extended options for possible .com domain names, and will also help your brand stand out.

Think Like a Customer – What Search Terms Would They Use to Find Your Business?

While a Boston-based home repair business might be known as “McPherson and Sons,” a possible domain name to market that business could be registered as “bostonhomerepairservices.com.” This phrase is relevant and easy to remember, plus it’s one that consumers might actually search for that ties directly back to the business.

BTW, You Can Use Acronyms

Think of companies like AOL, IBM and BMW, who all make use of acronyms in both their brands and their domain names. Additionally, states, countries, and professions (such as NYC, USA, and CPA) can also be abbreviated in domain names.

Include Your Social Media Handle

If you already have an audience that is familiar with you on social media, why not take advantage of that awareness and visibility by using your social media handle as your domain name? Simply point the domain name to your website or the corresponding social media page, like Jeannie McPherson did by linking her JeannieMcP.com domain to her Twitter account.

Let a Domain NameSuggestion Tool Do The Work For You 

If you’re having trouble generating decent ideas for a .com domain name, tools such as Verisign’s DomainScope combine several of the tips above into one easy step that will furnish you with available domain name options. Just type in your preferred keywords and the program will provide you with a list of relevant domain names to choose from. Additionally, you can use the tool to find newly available expired domains that may already be drawing traffic.

Conclusion

Remember what eWeek had to say about a good domain name: “The right web address, built on a…credible domain extension, can make it easy for people to find, remember and refer you customers—and to drive your business forward.” This is especially true for small businesses struggling to gain visibility online and attract customers to their website.

Use the tips above to help you choose a domain name that will effectively represent your brand, establish a reliable and trusted Internet presence, and drive traffic to your website.

Need additional help choosing a domain name? Check out Score’s How to Choose a Domain Name That Drives Traffic and How to Choose a Domain Name That Drives Business from Minuteman Press.

About Author

Sherene Funk

Sherene Funk is a voracious reader who owns more books than she can ever read in this lifetime (but that doesn't stop her from collecting more). A graduate of Brigham Young University, she has published several humorous non-fiction articles and worked in advertising for many years before moving to her current position as a writer on modern retailing at Rain Retail Software. She researches non-stop to see what successful retailers do and loves to share what she learns with other small business owners through informative articles that address their unique needs.

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