As a small business owner, a website is no longer just an option, it’s a virtual necessity. More people than ever are looking for businesses in online directories and making purchases using the internet. In fact, shoppers have spent $52 billion more online since the beginning of 2020 as compared to the same timeframe last year. While online shopping has been trending upward for years, the coronavirus (COVID-19) is causing a dramatic increase in internet purchases.
While you may be ready to build a website and establish an online presence for your business, you might not know where to begin. After helping over 3 million small businesses like yours get up and running online, we're here to offer some friendly guidance. Your online journey begins with a domain name. Let’s take a closer look at what a domain name is, how you use it and why it is an important element of your business and brand.
In simple terms, your domain name is your web address or IP address. This is the address people will type into a web browser when they want to visit your website. Your domain name is unique to your website and once you buy and register it, no other company can claim it as long as you renew it each year. A good domain name is reflective of your business name and brand. This is important because that name is also typically in your email address and will clearly identify your communications as being from your business.
You should make your domain short and easy to remember and spell. Make it simple for website visitors to find you and keep coming back to your site. It can be any combination of letters and numbers and can even have a hyphen in it. However, you should avoid underscores and other characters that are hard to remember and may create confusion. Also, consider domain name extensions. While .com is an obvious one you will want to claim, you may also want to consider an extension like .fishing if you are bait store or .camera if you are a photography store. Also be sure to select .co as an added business domain extension. This will prevent any of your competitors from registering a name that is similar to yours.
Before buying a domain name, do your homework and give it some serious thought. Your domain will be what people think of when searching for your business online so be sure it is something you will be comfortable with and proud of for years to come. It should complement your brand and the image you want to convey for your business.
Conduct an online search of your competitors to see what types of domain names they are using. While you will want to use a domain that fits in with your industry you should also look for ways to distinguish your business and stand out in the marketplace. If possible, you should search for a domain name before naming your business. This way you will be sure to have access to a web address that represents your business well – it’s that important.
Start by conducting a domain name search. Many online resources that offer web builders provide a searchable domain name database so you can make sure your selection is available before you build a website. Once you have verified your name is available, be sure the online service you are using is a reputable domain name registrar, then complete the domain registration process.
While you are registering a domain, look for an online package that offers web hosting. Your site will need a safe, secure place to live and finding the right hosting plan will ensure that your website files are protected on a reliable server and accessible when people search for your site. If you already own a web address before building a website, be sure you can transfer your domain.
When should you purchase a domain name? When you have a business idea, have committed to making your business a reality and have done your research. Too often, business owners wait until after they have created a company name, logo and website only to discover that their business name is not available as a domain name. This can be a deal-breaker and can derail your ability to build a strong and memorable brand that connects with your customers.
“I believe that we’ll get to the point that when you’re born, you’ll be issued a domain name,” says American entrepreneur and philanthropist Bob Parsons. While time will tell, it is safe to say that a domain name is your personal real estate on the World Wide Web and is a critical element that can help determine the success of your brand. That’s why you should purchase a domain name early in the business formation process.
When you’re ready to buy a domain name, why not get all of your online resources in one convenient place to add value to your business and make the most of your investment? We offer a great selection of website packages that include free domain name registration and website hosting to help you create an online presence that gives your business instant credibility and puts you in the same marketplace as your largest competitors. You can also add a professional email account that includes your domain name and allows you to easily communicate with customers and vendors. Finally, we can help you set up an eCommerce store so people can find your business and shop with you anytime, day or night.
We back all of this with online support from a knowledgeable team of digital marketing experts. As a trusted resource for small businesses, we understand the challenges you face and offer the right solutions to help you succeed at every turn. Let’s work together to achieve your goals.
With more people shopping online than ever before, having an online presence for your business is essential for your ongoing success – and it all begins with a domain name. Our team can help you select and register the domain that’s right for you and guide you through every step of the online marketing process. We’re always here for you and your good name.