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What are you going to call it? A guide to choosing a domain name

What are you going to call it? A guide to choosing a domain name

Posted: Fri 16th Dec 2016

Verisign offers a few things to consider when selecting a domain name. Domain names, also known as web addresses, can serve as a business's initial identity on the internet and are a key way for their audience to find them.

One of the initial decisions for anyone who is thinking of launching a business is what to name it. It is vital for a business to make themselves stand out, having a credible name that's well recognised by its target audience ensuring the company's name doesn't get lost in the crowd of businesses that are being started every day.

This recognition with customers is just as important online. Taking your business online opens up a new and potentially global audience to speak and sell to. To make sure you're identified online, the obvious and initial route is to get a domain name, also known as a web address, which is, in effect, the name of your website and the way you can be found online.

Whether you've already started a business, or you've got a fantastic idea that you want to grow into a company, getting a domain name is vital and here's what to consider when selecting yours.

The ingredients

Names should be simple to remember, but they can also convey who your company is and what you do or where it is located. Website names don't have to be short necessarily, but should be memorable. For instance, the site you're on now - enterprisenation.com - isn't exactly the shortest, but is easy to remember.

Whilst you may feel that showcasing what your company does is necessary, consider making your domain name as simple and recognisable as possible. For customers to find your website and browse what you have to offer, they'll need to get it right when typing your address into their browser. This will give your customers the best chance of reaching your website and ensure that you're not missing out on web traffic.

This also goes for punctuation. Try to avoid too many dashes as these again can be hard to remember. It might be that you can't find a domain name that completely matches your company name, but don't include lots of punctuation to make that happen.

Web addresses: Beginning, middle and end

The 'www' stands for 'world wide web' and the middle is your domain name, but what about the end? The end is made up of a domain name extension, also known as top-level domain (TLD), which is certainly key as well.

The .com TLD is known around the world and many large companies have a .com domain name. However, smaller businesses use .com too. And with .com being the global standard for doing business online, if your company expands to new countries, you'll be ready to go.

Registering other extensions, such as .net, and registering multiple domain names may also expand your presence on the web. It's very easy for someone to misspell something when they're typing, or they may even guess at a company's domain name. Having variations of your domain name helps your audience find your website, even if they don't get it right the first time. And re-drirecting multiple domain names to your main website is easy.

Early bird catches the worm

Rather than settling on a company name and then checking to see if the same domain name is available, you may want to consider choosing both at the same time. Aligning your company name and domain name presence can ensure consistency in your brand right from the start.

Selecting your domain name early and aligning it with your business name, or vice versa, can allow you to focus on building a business (and website).

The right foundation makes your business stronger and more likely to succeed. With the right domain name, a basic website and social media presence, you'll be in good shape to take your business further. Get the best available domain name for your business by using Verisign's name suggestion tool.

This article is part of Enterprise Nation's Grow and Grow Online campaign supported by Verisign. The campaign helps you build a better business on the web. Access more content, special offers and great events here.

Enterprise Nation has helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses. Led by founder, Emma Jones CBE, Enterprise Nation connects you to the resources and expertise to help you succeed.

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