The last part of the planning stage is to determine a domain name for your website. A domain name is your website’s address on the web, so you need to choose a good one! It’s really important for your website and business as it adds a professional touch, improves brand recognition, and makes it easier for visitors to find and remember you.
Here are some tips for choosing a great domain name:
- Consider Keywords and Cleverness: When you first begin your domain name search, it helps to have a small set of phrases or keywords in mind that best describe the domain you’re seeking. Think of several descriptive keyword as a starting point to brainstorm alternative ideas. For example, if Sarahs.com is already taken, consider SarahsBakery.com or SarahsBakeryandCafe.com. However, try to avoid domain names like SarahsBakery2.com or bestbakeryinboston.com as that can appear spammy and unprofessional.
- Keep your Domain Name Brand-able: When choosing a domain name, put your business name somewhere in there as part of it for brand recognition.
- Keep it Short: Remember that your visitors may arrive at your website by typing in your address directly into their browser bar. Aim for 20 characters or less to maximize your type-in traffic.
- Be Simple and Obvious: Make sure your domain name is easy to remember and spell.
- Avoid Numerals, Underscores, and Hyphens: Adding numbers and non-alphabet characters to your domain name looks unprofessional and can also cause confusion likely to result in lost traffic to your site.
- Use a TLD that matches your business: .com is the most popular top level domain, or TLD, that most consumers are familiar with. However, its ok to choose different TLDs other than .com. Because there are so many different websites online these days, .com addresses are becoming scarcer and harder to acquire. It is now completely acceptable to choose one of the many new TLDs that are available. For Sarah, the domain name SarahsBakery.com would be a great choice. However, if it’s already taken, she could go with SarahsBakery.eat, SarahsBakery.cafe, or SarahsBakery.restaurant.
- Research Your Potential Domain Name: Be sure to check that your potential domain name isn’t trademarked, copyrighted, or being used by another business. It’s also a good idea to check the history of your desired domain name. It may have previously been used by someone else who went out of business. There are a variety of tools online that you can use to find this information. The Internet Archive Wayback Machine is a free resource that can give you a better picture of a domain name’s history. DomainTools.com is also a great resource, although unfortunately, they are not free.
Note: At this point, you don’t need to acquire a domain name just yet, but you should start thinking about what domain name your website should have. Keep the tips I just mentioned previously in mind. You can also check out our resource article for more information on choosing a domain name.
Now that the planning stage is complete, it’s time for the next step, which focuses on acquiring and properly setting up all the tools you’ll need in order to build your website.