When your business is small, the internet can seem like a big, complicated bag of worms. You may feel that there’s tremendous potential to expand your reach, but the outlay and the learning curve involved in reaping future rewards may not seem worth the effort right now. The type of business you own will have a lot to do with the way you approach developing an online presence, too.
Your Small Business Domain Name
David has a vegetable stand that’s primarily seasonal. He does a great business, but around November his sales start to falter. He’s leasing his location on a month-to-month basis, which is good, but the idea of expanding into holiday sales seems mighty appealing. Fruit baskets for the holidays can be a big boon in the produce business, but the local chain grocery stores seem to have that market locked up — where foot traffic is concerned, anyway. Might there be some online potential? If so, what would be the best way to drive traffic from local consumers who know his business and recognize that he offers good value for the money?
David is exploring the potential for expanding into online sales, and his focus is pretty specific. From a practical standpoint, the domain name he chooses will be a very basic element of his strategy, but it could turn out to be critical to his success.
A domain name is like a street address when it comes to identifying your site. It’s also a moniker that helps people find you easily. The more readily identifiable your domain name happens to be, the less potential visitors have to work to locate you or decode what you do. If you’re domain name is very intuitive, it may be possible for searchers to find you even if they don’t know your company specifically but do have your products and a geographical location in mind. This can be powerful stuff that will help market your small business.
Basic Domain Name Considerations
Here are some things you need to consider when choosing a domain name that will help drive traffic to your website:
Think regional – If you have a regional business, make sure to include your location as part of your domain name. It could be a city, street name, county, district, or whatever else distinguishes your business geographically.
Make it simple – Descriptive domain names are the best. This means domains that are or include your business name. Using actual instead of made up words or acronyms can be helpful as memory aids, too. Catchy and clever are always nice touches, but going for something cute (like your cat’s name), or obscure (like the second planet circling a nearby star) will probably work against you — especially in the short term. If your small business is still in the planning stages, explore the domain options before you make a final decision about your company name.
Along these lines, it’s always more desirable to use the most practical spelling for domain name words as possible, and lose the hyphens if you can. If the name you’re using can be transposed or referenced with a dropped plural or hyphen, the best practice is to register it a number of ways. It’ll save you customers and problems later.
Make it a .com – There are other options, but the .com extension is the most easily recognizable and likely to come up in a quick search.
Keep it short – Choose a domain name that contains as few characters as possible. Ideally, if a visitor has to key in your web address, he’ll be able to do it from memory.
Grab the low hanging fruit – There may be another quick way to direct traffic to your site. Internet sites forfeit their domain names all the time, and some may be in your line of work. With a few category searches on a domain marketplace site, you may be able to luck into a defunct domain name that’s already indexed in the search engines. You can then purchase it and use it, or redirect traffic to your own domain for instant visitors at bargain basement prices.
This may not be practical for all types of businesses, and there may be customer service and some other residual problems from the previous site, but it is a thought. It’s also an example of what a little creative strategizing can do when it comes to developing an online presence and using internet domain savvy to grow your business.