Small business basics: Choosing and buying a domain for your business

In this 5-minute read:

  • How to pick an effective business domain name
  • How to purchase a domain for your business website

Every business should have a website, and that means that you’ll need a domain for your website. The domain is the web address that visitors will use to get to your site, like Womply.com or YourBusiness.com. 

Let us help you understand the basics of purchasing your own domain and some best practices for picking one out. 

With Womply Reputation Management, you can read and respond to all your online reviews in one place with one login, and get new reviews from your happiest customers. Learn more with our free demo or sign up for Womply Free!

Choosing your domain name

The first step in any search for a domain is to pick out a name that is actually available. This is often the most difficult part, particularly for businesses with common names. 

Let’s say your business name is Jeff’s Tires and you want to use JeffsTires.com for your domain name. If that’s already taken, you’ll need to pick something else. 

You can search for available domains from any domain registrar, like GoDaddy or BlueHost, or even from a website builder if you decide to use one. 

As you begin your search for the perfect domain, be open to alternatives in case your first, second, or third picks are already taken. 

Most domain registrars will also provide suggestions based on the name you searched if that one isn’t available. 

How to pick a good domain name

It’s not enough just to have any domain name—you need to pick the right domain. We have a few best practices for you to keep in mind as you go about your search.

Keep it simple

First, you want to make sure your domain name is simple, not too long or difficult to remember. 

JeffsTiresSaltLakeCityUtah.com doesn’t exactly flow off the tongue, however, JeffsTiresSLC.com might be a better fit. 

This will likely be the email that you use for your business too, so it’s important to find something that you and your customers can remember and spell out. The shorter the better, the more memorable and intuitive the better. 

It should accurately represent your brand

It’s not necessary to have your business name in your domain, but it can help. Even if your business name isn’t available, you could choose to use your main offering in your domain, something like TiresForSale.com. 

Don’t limit yourself with your domain

If you do choose to go the services or products route in your domain, be careful not to pick something that will limit your business. 

For example, let’s say that you choose TiresForSale.com because that’s your main product as you’re getting started. But later down the road you may want to start offering tire maintenance services or selling other vehicle parts. When people see your domain, they may think that you only sell tires. 

Keep the bigger picture for your business goals in mind as you choose an effective domain. 

Use keywords (if possible)

You really have two different routes that you can go with picking a domain name: using your business name or using a keyword (generally your main offering). If your business name includes a keyword, then you get the best of both worlds. 

Using a keyword in your business name can be helpful for your online visibility and showing up for searches for that keyword in the search engines. That by itself may not help you show up in competitive searches, but it can help. 

That being said, remember the other tips we’ve talked about too, because you don’t want to limit yourself. 

Choose the right extension

The extension of your domain (commonly referred to in the industry as TLD or Top-Level Domain) is the end of the domain that comes after the dot: .com, .org, .biz, etc. 

Each TLD has a purpose, so you’ll want to make sure that you choose one that fits your business. 

The most commonly used TLDs for business websites are .com and .net, or .org for non-profits. 

We recommend using .com because that’s what people are used to typing in, but if you choose to use something else that works for your brand, the more power to you. (Just remember to keep it simple.) Generally, small businesses should try to use a .com if possible.

How to buy a domain name

We commonly refer to purchasing or buying a domain name when we talk about the process of acquiring one. But the process is more like leasing a domain name. 

The way it works:

  1. You pick out an available domain through a domain registrar
  2. You pay an annual or monthly fee to keep that domain registered to your or your business
  3. When you stop paying that fee, the domain is no longer yours

There is no large one-time fee you can pay to own the domain permanently, however you can set up autorenewals on your account so that your domain fee is automatically paid each year (which is a good idea). And as long as you keep your credit card updated with your domain registrar, you will always “own” your domain. 

The registrar will likely send out several reminders as your registration period is expiring, asking you to renew. But it’s still a good idea to set your own calendar reminders and keep your credentials updated with the registrar so you don’t mistakenly lose your domain. 

Believe it or not, this does happen.

How much does a domain cost?

Domains can vary a lot in their price. The average price for a basic domain name today is generally between $12-$15 per year. 

Premium domains and domains with high-value extensions can cost more. 

What if the domain is taken, but there’s an option to use a broker service?

Sometimes, when a domain is taken, you can pay the registrar a fee to act as a broker to see if the current owner of the domain is willing to sell it. 

Your broker will then work with the current owner to negotiate a price that you can then pay to purchase the domain. 

Keep in mind that not every domain owner is going to be willing to sell their domain, and you likely won’t get that broker fee back. 

Have your domain picked out? Get started on a website: How to build your own business website (step-by-step walkthrough)

Improve your online visibility with reputation management software

A good domain name can only take you so far. There are other things that you need to do to improve your online visibility and keep a good online reputation. 

We can help. Womply Reputation Management allows you to monitor and respond to all of your online reviews in one place and even allows you to remind customers to leave you online feedback. 

Online reviews are a huge part of keeping up a good web presence and growing your customer base. 

Womply also offers business intelligence, customer relationship management, email marketing, payments, and a proprietary, dynamic customer directory that updates automatically with each transaction.

Want to learn more? Check out our free demo

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