We all know the question; which came first? The chicken or the egg? This question becomes relevant to small business owners. What comes first; the name of the company or the domain name (website name)?

Not many of us have the luxury on deciding both at the same time. As life has it, most of us will have business names that predates the need for a website. If your business’ name is “Books4All” you may want your website’s domain name to be the same. As is the case with most people you will almost certainly want a .com domain. You would further want your domain to be books4all.com. This is where your problems start. According to verisign.com there are, as at 01/22/2017, a staggering 127,199.982 registered .com domains. Can you see where this is going?

Chances are very good that books4all.com is already taken and registered by somebody else.

What to do.

Well, for starters we need to get a domain name that reflects your business accurately and will also resonate with your audience. In order to do this the website address needs to be short, memorable and, as indicated earlier, also representative. Let’s explore a couple of possible strategies that may help to shorten the process of finding the right domain name.

Keep it Short and Simple:

The shorter your website’s domain name, the easier it will be to remember and share with others.

A Fresh Approach:

As mentioned above, everybody wants a .com domain. The reality, that there are currently more than 127 million registered .com domains, however suggests that we may have to consider other domains if we cannot get a proper .com domain. The people operating in the website industry refer to .com as a top-level domain (TLD). There are however other extensions available as you may already know. Some of them are more efficient than others. Some of these new domain extensions should however be considered as good alternatives to the .com domain. These new domain extensions are also referred to as generic top-level domains (gTLD’s)

Should books4all.com not be available, we can consider books4all.co.za, or alternatively books4all.net. There are now even domain extensions for specific regions such as the Cape Town area. How does books4all.capetown or perhaps books4all.joburg look if you want to target a specific audience?

These are the gTLD’s currently available for our South African customers: (we have left out the domains for other specific countries)

co.za

xyz

joburg

durban

capetown

blog

com

net

org

org.za

net.za

web.za

co

za.bz

tv

mobi

travel

info

in

biz

za.com

name

pw

bar

bz

cash

africa.com

ink

rest

host

website

site

party

design

fans

feedback

love

rent

space

tech

bid

trade

webcam

cricket

science

review

faith

accountant

loan

online

There are other country-specific gLTD’s not mentioned here, as it will make no sense to use them whilst your company is in South Africa. In a next article we will look deeper into each gLTD listed above to get a better understanding of their uses.

Spelling?

Of course, we will agree that spelling is important.  Sometimes we may however select and register a domain name that is prone to be misspelled. In our above example we use the domain name “books4all”. What if someone types “booksforall” in his/her browser? Your website will obviously not be found. Would you want to miss out on possible new clients because of that? If you shook your head we can consider a different approach. Why not register both domain names e.g. “books4all.co.za” and “booksforall.co.za”. You will not have two websites. You will still have the one website with the “books4all.co.za” domain. A simple redirect is placed on the “booksforall.co.za” domain which will steer the misspelled search to your website. At about R75 extra per year for the second domain this may be an option to seriously consider.

Keywords in your domain name:

Keywords may include hints to the type of business you are running such as purewater.co.za. There can be no confusion as to what type of business this is. Domain names with descriptive key words are much more likely to be found during searches as opposed to other companies with no keywords e.g. betterholdings.co.za.

A keyword may also consist of locations e.g. pretoriawater.co.za This will help your website to get noticed during geo searches.

In our next article, we will consider some pitfalls and other important considerations when registering a domain name.

You are more than welcome to comment or to ask a question(s) in the below comment area.

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