Choosing the right domain name.
When customers want to find a business, whether it’s a local restaurant or a global retailer, the Web is the first place they look.
Domain names not only make it easy for customers to find your business on the Web, they also give you a place where you can create your own unique online presence, from a full-blown Web store to a simple online business card with your contact information, hours and location.
How you choose your domain name depends on where you are with your business. If you’re already up and running with a brick-&-mortar location, you’ll want to choose a domain that matches your business name. You’ve worked hard to create a name and a brand that customers know and love, so you having the matching domain only makes sense for your customers.
Of course, if you have a popular name (like AAA Plumbing), your first choice may not be available. If that’s the case, don’t worry — there are virtually endless domain variations available. Try a different domain extension like .NET, .BIZ or .CO instead of just .COM or CO.ZA. Another tip is to add a local element to your name, such as AAAPlumbingPretoria.co.za. This not only differentiates your business from others that may be located across the country, it can help improve your search engine results for local customers.
If you’re just starting out — or you’re launching a business that will only exist online — choosing your domain name is essentially choosing your company name. You want a name that’s memorable and represents your business, if not literally, then at least your company’s personality or attitude.
And all businesses, new and established, can benefit from a few best practices when it comes to choosing a domain, such as making your name easy to spell and keeping it short.
How domain names can build & protect your brand.
As a small business owner, you’re constantly working to build your brand — making sure your company is known for unbeatable quality and remarkable service. While social media websites like Facebook® and Yelp® are valuable tools in helping you establish a stellar reputation, they’re no replacement for your own unique domain name.
More than anything, a domain name gives your business a level of professionalism and legitimacy you simply can’t get from a social media profile. While the process of domain name registration is easier and more affordable than most people realize, taking the time to register a domain shows a level of commitment and dedication. In short, it shows customers that you’re serious about your business.
A domain name also gives you a secret weapon in marketing your business: a domain-based email address, like firstname.lastname@example.org. What makes this so special? Well, like a domain, it shows a level of professionalism that you can’t get from a free email address. But just as importantly, it promotes your brand every time you send a message. Instead of seeing an email from a Gmail™ or Yahoo!® address in their inbox, customers see your company name — and the more they see it, the more they’ll remember it.