If you’ve ever owned a brick-and-mortar business, you know the amount of painstaking consideration that goes into each decision you make regarding your physical location.
What you may not realize is that you should put just as much effort and care into each decision you make when building your business’ website and digital presence.
As your business name and signage draw foot traffic to your shops, domain names attract visitors to your e-commerce website. And as the number of visitors to your site increases, so does your potential to make more sales.
The thing is, not every domain is a great one. So, how do you choose a domain name for your e-commerce business and site AND feel confident that it’s a good choice?
That’s what we’ll figure out today. By the time you’ve read this post you’ll know exactly how to land the perfect domain name — and avoid the duds.
Tips for choosing an e-commerce domain name.
Launching an online business is an exciting venture. But before you can build your website, add your wares, and start selling, you have to purchase a domain name.
Juliet may have said that, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” but we’d have to disagree. There’s a lot to a name, and some resonate with people better than others.
Here’s what you need to know about choosing a domain name to create a strong, branded e-commerce business.
Look for your exact match domain name.
If you already have a business name that people know and trust, it’s in your best interest to find the matching domain name. Your business identity should be consistent, both online and off, so you don’t want to use two different names if you can avoid it.
However, it isn’t always easy to find a domain name that exactly matches your business name, especially if you’re only searching for a .com domain name.
But don’t get disheartened! Just because your exact match domain name isn’t readily available, doesn’t mean all hope is lost. Here’s what you can do about it.
Expand your domain extension search horizons.
If you know anything about domains, you know .com has long been considered the king. Why is that?
The .com domain is one of the original six domain extensions, or TLDs, created in 1985 with the inception of the DNS, or Domain Name System. Much of .com’s notoriety has to do with the fact that it’s familiar to people. But familiarity isn’t what you’re after with a domain name — relevancy and memorability are.
For the most relevant, memorable domain name, you might need to think outside the .com box. Instead, consider using a newer domain extension, or nTLD, to create the perfect domain name.
By choosing an nTLD for your domain name, you can get a more descriptive domain name that clearly imparts the purpose of your site and business. Here’s an example of what that looks like in practice.
Gary owns a coffee shop in a small town outside of Buffalo, New York. He loves seeing his customers every morning and afternoon, and business is booming. With such great results at his shop, he decides to take his products online and start selling coffee by the pound.
He searches for his desired domain name: GarysCoffee.com, but alas, it’s taken! Instead of getting discouraged he sees another domain extension, .online, and thinks, “Could this be it?”
He searches and it’s available! What a perfect domain name for him… it has his business name front and center (GarysCoffee) and his selected domain extension (.online) is descriptive of his growing, expanding business and intent to sell online.
Other great domain extensions to consider for e-commerce businesses are:
Need some more convincing?
Top name brands and businesses are getting creative (and memorable) with domain names like kindle.store and alexa.online.
Consider purchasing a premium domain name.
Perhaps when you first searched for a domain name you saw the one you wanted in the results, but it was more expensive than the others. Why is that?
Chances are it was a premium domain name. Premium domain names have been registered in the past. They’re keyword-rich, which can help give your site’s SEO a boost, and they’re often shorter and more memorable. All of these characteristics serve to make them brandable and increase their value.
And if the premium domain was previously used for a website, it may even come with established website traffic which could help any new website owner!
Premium domain names are a great investment in your e-commerce business, so don’t overlook them.
Avoid hyphens and extra characters in your domain name.
It happens all the time…
Someone can’t find their desired domain name, so they decide to add a few hyphens and a couple of numbers, and perfect! Right?
Not even a little bit.
Let’s revisit Gary’s Coffee Shop and see what would’ve happened had he done this when choosing a domain name. If instead of selecting “garyscoffee.online” or “garyscoffee.shop” he’d selected “garys-coffee-736.com,” he would’ve made a big mistake.
Take your customers and site visitors into account when choosing your domain name. The more random characters and numbers you have in your domain, the less likely it is for them to remember it. And that means they could misspell your domain name and end up on a competitor’s site, or assume your website is no longer functioning and you’ve gone out business.
Unless your business name is hyphenated and has numbers, and your customers are very familiar with it, don’t include them in your domain name.
Stop with the unique spelling.
Everyone is unique and so are businesses.
In fact, you must have a differentiator that sets you apart from your competitors. Just don’t make that differentiator a uniquely spelled domain name. You might think that having an interestingly spelled domain means it’s memorable, but that’s usually not the case. Hyphens between every other letter and random numbers at the end of your domain name are difficult to remember.
If you want your domain name to be memorable, make sure it passes the “Radio Test.”
Can you pass the Radio Test?
A lot of domainers will refer to the Radio Test as a way to test the quality of your domain name.
For your domain name to pass the test, pretend that you’re running a commercial or advertisement on a local radio station. At the end of your promo the host reads your domain name aloud and directs listeners to visit your website.
If someone can easily spell your domain name based on how they heard it pronounced, then congratulations! Your domain name has passed the radio test. If not, you’ve failed and should go back to the drawing board. You can try the radio test at home with friends and family.
There are many letters and combinations of letters that sound alike, like “ph” and “f” — so make sure you’re spelling your domain name in the most common fashion instead of using the most interesting spelling.
Your domain name should be strong and branded.
Your domain name will oftentimes be the first point of contact someone has with your business and brand.
By making your domain name meaningful and leveraging the 1000s of new top-level domain extensions that exist, you can create a relevant, contextual domain name that drives more visitors and business to your site.
Domain names aid in brand identity and recall, so remember to make yours pronounceable and easy to spell.
Ready to find the perfect domain name and launch your e-commerce business? Get started with Domain.com.