In the coming years, we’ll look back at the pandemic as the moment where everything changed. For small businesses, the pandemic led to an unprecedented shift online. This resulted in a surge in the domain name market, which continues to this day.
With over 360 million registered domain names worldwide, what can you do to stand out from the crowd?
Let’s take a deep dive into what a domain name is and how to buy and register one that works for your business, sans any coding or configuration. We've even included the latest scoop on selecting a unique domain name.
What's a Domain Name?
The domain name is the web address people use to find your website and business. It’s what a person enters into the web browser address bar following https://. Most importantly, it’s the starting point of building an online presence for your small business.
Why Is a Domain Name So Important?
The simple answer is that your company domain name is an integral part of your brand. As your online "home" for your business, your website domain helps define your company and highlights your product or service. It also helps bring in customers searching for what you have to offer, whether they're searching for you in Google or coming across your website URL on social media.
Having a simple yet memorable domain name makes it easier for customers to find you. Think about it, if you’re running a jewelry business and have the domain name "JuliaJewelry.wordpress.com," how many people are going to remember that? Explaining to someone that there is another dot in the middle might just cost you a customer. By buying a custom domain name, you won’t have this headache.
In today’s competitive small business landscape, presence builds credibility. A customized domain name makes your company look professional. The internet is filled with enough phishing websites; buying a domain name is one small step you can take to prove to customers that you’re serious about your business.
Tips for Selecting a Winning Domain Name
Creating a business domain name can get tricky when everything good already seems to be taken, or you feel you don't have any creative flair. But fear not: here are our tips that’ll help you select a name that’ll grab more attention and visitors.
Stay Unique and Brandable
You want your domain name to be unique and yet be a cohesive part of your brand. One way is to select a domain name is to make it your business name. If your business name is Shery Photography, you might want a domain like www.sheryphotography.com. Use online resources like Incfile's free Business Name Search tool to see what options are available.
However, just because a domain name is available doesn’t mean someone else doesn’t have a claim to it. Run a trademark search to ensure all your bases are covered.
Key in Keywords
Use business-related keywords or terminology in your domain name. Search engines use keywords in your domain name to find out what your business is about. Play around with a domain name generator to see if any combination catches your interest.
KISS — Keep It Short and Simple
People have short memories — they aren't going to remember a long web address. Also, avoid numbers, hyphens, underscores or any punctuation.
Be Open to Experimenting with Extensions
It’s great if you can get a “.com” extension as it’s the most common and popular one. But don’t panic if it isn’t available. Other options that are growing in popularity include .net, .biz, .org, .info, .co, .site , .icu and even .us (although this is strictly reserved for entities based in the U.S.).
Domain name ready? Yes! Buying and registering a domain name might sound technical and complicated, but it really isn't. Here are our steps to getting a domain without learning any code.
Pick a strong domain name (but have a few alternatives on standby).
Decide on a domain name extension, aka TLD (top-level domains). What is it that you want at the end of your online address - .net, .biz, .org or .com? The TLD you select can impact a customer's perception of your business, so choose wisely.
Check availability. Go to a credible domain name provider and check availability. We’ve provided a list of top domain name vendors below.
Buy and register the domain name. Once you have finalized your domain name, buy it so no one else can use it. Most domain portals will allow you to register a name for 10 years at a time, but if you seek a shorter time commitment, you can opt to register the name for one to three years (just remember to keep renewing this).
Verify the domain name, link it to your email address and update all social media sites and related brand pages. Similar names on all platforms will help you build a cohesive brand.
Top Domain Name Vendors: The Easy Way to Begin
Back in the day, securing a domain name did require some coding and configuration, but that’s no longer necessary. A Google search on domain name providers will yield several results, but which one is credible? We’ve researched the pricing, features and security parameters of several platforms to bring you the list of the top five domain registrars that are not only accredited by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) but also quite pocket-friendly.
Wix: Wix is one of the leading cloud-based free website builders and domain name registrars. What is great about Wix is that you can build your complete online presence with them. Yes, with Wix, you can build a website, get a domain name and even design a logo. If you sign up for one of their yearly premium plans, you’ll even get a domain name for free (at least for the first year).
Google Domains ($12/year): This straightforward registrar has fair pricing for popular extensions (.com, .net, .org, .us, .info) and, like most Google products, is super simple to use. Google Domains allows you to easily connect your domain to website builders like Wix, SquareSpace, Shopify and WordPress.
Bluehost ($12.99/year and above): If you’re planning to build a website or blog, you’ll need a hosting company. Bluehost, renowned for its reliable service and speed, will provide you with a free domain name for a year if you opt to host with them. What’s worthy to mention is that you’ll own your domain name and can transfer it to another hosting site if you’re disappointed with Bluehost’s services (though we hardly see that happening).
GoDaddy ($18.99/year): The OG of domain name registrars is GoDaddy. Like most other providers, GoDaddy is now a one-stop shop for various web services (web design, email marketing and hosting). You can score a free domain name for a year if you choose GoDaddy as a hosting service or website builder.
Namecheap ($9.48/year): One of the most affordable domain registrars is Namecheap. The registrar’s free Whois domain privacy and low renewable rates make it a popular choice amongst startups. The service also provides hosting plans and hassle-free integrations of the domain name with a web builder of your choice.
Thought of a Domain Name? Get It Now
You asked, “What’s in a name?” We say, “Everything.”
Your domain name is where your business lives on the internet, and the right domain name can make all the difference between having a healthy online presence and getting lost in cyberspace. Follow our guide to get a strong and reliable domain name without the hassle of any coding or configuration.
If you need help selecting, buying and registering a domain name, why not check out Wix? Wix is an all-in-one solution for your business’s online presence that’s been trusted by over 200 million customers.
Swara Ahluwalia is a freelance content writer with experience in the technical, B2B and SaaS domain. She also has curated content for various lifestyle brands. In her downtime, you will most likely find Swara training for her next marathon or spending time with her two daughters.