Are you on the hunt for that perfect new domain name before you begin combing through web design services for small business? Do you feel any pressure, wondering why having the perfect domain name even matters? Whether you’re launching a small business for the very first time, or you happen to be a serial entrepreneur crafting a new brand around your startup, choosing a domain doesn’t get easier down the road—the thought process you go through when picking a domain name is relatively the same no matter how seasoned of a business owner you are. There are some factors that matter when purchasing that new domain, and some that look like they should matter but don’t—and instead end up getting in the way. Here we break down what actually matters when you buy a domain for a new business.
TRUTH: .com names are generally the most trusted & accepted among consumers.
If your favorite domain name choice is available on many of the common top-level-domains (TLDs like .com, .net, .biz, or .info), you should try grab your-preferred-name.com or a very-close-match.com that you can live with. Less appealing TLDs like .biz or .info are often thought of as spam sites (unfortunately there is some truth to this given their usefulness as throwaway domains). Even if your small business or startup is completely legitimate, you risk creating a sour first impression when users visit your small business website. Please note this advice only relates to brand perception and the benefits of owning a .com TLD end here.
FALSE: New, or less common TLDs, like .agency or .guru negatively impact SERPs.
Though using a .com domain for your small business does in fact appear to be the most legit, this TLD is very, very old. The vast majority of the good names are snatched up by other businesses or even squatters who try to resell them at premium prices. It is only a matter of time before registering a .com domain that is ideal for your small business brand becomes impractical or impossible.
So here’s where things get really interesting: many new top-level-domains have been added to the lineup in recent years, allowing much greater creativity and new possibilities when you choose a domain name for your business. Google has weighed in on how they treat the new generic TLD’s, with the main lesson being they will not help nor hurt your rankings.
TRUTH: Having the perfect domain name makes virtually zero impact to your bottom line.
When you start to put together a new business idea, it’s way too easy to get caught up in perceived necessities, like having the perfect brand name, the perfect colors for your logo, and shiny new business cards. While having each of these things is nice, they are, quite simply put, new expenses—they won’t earn you a dime until you actually launch. Do not fall prey to (or create) unnecessary obstacles before you launch your business idea. Starting a small business can definitely be nerve-wracking because none of us wants to fail. Having that little bit of fear is completely normal, but here’s the cold hard truth: your business will have already failed if you never even launch it. You can always go buy those ridiculously thick & sexy business cards you’ve been lusting over later.
TRUTH: Country code TLDs (e.g. .uk for United Kingdom & .sg for Singapore) are more relevant in their home regions.
Top-level-domains based off of country codes (ggTLDs) do in fact possess an edge over generic TLDs (gTLDs) in their respective regions. Your small business website’s page relevance will need to still be a good match for user searches for the edge to matter. For example, if you buy a .my domain but your business doesn’t operate inside Malaysia, then you’re shooting yourself in the foot.
Pro Tip: Be careful not to mix up gTLDs that sound like they could be ccTLDs, especially if you desire the geo-targeting benefits of a true ccTLD. Some gTLDs appear extremely similar to ccTLDs (e.g. .london & .nyc) but in fact do not possess any geo-targeting benefits.
FALSE: Don’t buy the .io TLD for your technology business because it’s actually a ccTLD.
Though .io TLD is technically a ccTLD belonging to the British Indian Ocean Territory region, Google treats this top-level domain as a ‘gccTLD’ to stop undesired geo-targeting. This is great news for tech-focused companies, given the strong resemblance to ‘I/O’ and its already global use throughout the IT industry.
FALSE: Using a “keyword stuffed” domain will significantly help your website’s SERPs.
In recent years, search engines have become increasingly accurate at judging the relevance of a website domain, its content, and a number of other signals when deciding where to rank a website. In short, Google Bot has become very good at smelling B.S. The hyper-improved accuracy is in no small part due to AI/machine learning. If the recent advancements on the web from learning algorithms are worth basing predictions off of, search engines like Google and Bing are going to become ever smarter over the next several years. Operating a relevant, conversion optimized website at your-brand-carpets.com will easily rank higher than a crappy competitor at carpet-cleaning-service-city-state.com. Try focusing your efforts on running the best, most relevant website you possibly can for your target keywords and your ideal visitors.
Have we missed anything? Have you found evidence that contradicts any of the above info about domains? Please leave a comment and tell us!