There are many elements a good eCommerce website needs to have in order to succeed. Some believe a great website design, reliable eCommerce platform, and quality products are enough to win the market. However, there is one factor many don’t even consider to be important—a good domain name.
Your domain name says a lot about your business. It is your address on the internet and how you present yourself to the public. That is exactly why it’s important to register a domain name that evokes professionalism.
It might seem overwhelming, or even impossible, to choose a name that perfectly embodies your eCommerce brand. But contrary to popular opinion, it is quite a straightforward process. All you need to do is follow a few simple steps.
Decide if you want to prioritize branding or discoverability
Before you start thinking of a good domain name, you first need to decide whether you want the name to show off your uniqueness and promote your brand, or to target a specific audience. Both approaches have their benefits.
A brandable name is a good choice if you want to rely on things such as social media, pay-per-click advertising, and affiliate marketing to draw in customers. These names stand out from the crowd and usually have no descriptive meaning. They are also unique, memorable, and most of the time they even consist of made-up words.
On the other hand, if you want to prioritize search engine traffic, keywords are your best friend. If you use keywords that are closely related to your niche, you will attract your target customer much easier, while at the same time having a domain name that will show the purpose of your website.
You need to make sure your keywords flow well together. If you include a lot of keywords that don’t link logically, your domain name won’t be memorable and won’t perform well in search engine results.
Ideally, your domain name should have both important factors. Mixing these two elements will result in a unique brand name that resonates with your customers and is easy to find.
Think about domain name extensions
How do you want your domain name to end? There are a lot of different domain name extensions, and the one you choose can either make or break your website. So, which domain extension should you use at the end of your URL?
These are the most common extensions for eCommerce stores:
- .com—This is undoubtedly the most popular domain name extension, as 42.48% of all domains have the .com extension. Websites with this extension are more memorable and trustworthy. The extension represents commercial domain names and includes all websites that are looking to make a profit, including eCommerce websites.
- .net—This extension is the second most popular one. Still, it isn’t quite suitable for the world of eCommerce. The .net domain name extension stands for “network” and it’s mostly used for internet, email, and networking service providers. It might suit you if you are in the networking niche, but this domain name suffix isn’t suitable for most eCommerce stores.
- Ecommerce domain name extensions. Some extensions are used specifically for eCommerce stores, such as .store, .shop, .market, and so on. If you can’t register your domain name with the .com extension, one of these would be a suitable replacement.
Keep it short
If you look at some of the most successful eCommerce stores, you will notice that all of them have one thing in common—short domain names. While your domain name can have up to 67 characters, that is generally considered to be too long. The most common domain names contain two words and have 12 characters.
Try to keep your domain name between 6 and 14 characters. Short domain names have a better chance of being memorable, but that is far from their only benefit. The shorter and more concise your URL is, the better.
Here are some of the reasons why you should opt for a short domain name:
- It’s more memorable. The longer your domain name is, the harder it is for customers to remember it. There’s a higher chance for a short domain name to stick in someone’s memory.
- It’s less likely for it to be mistyped. If you have a domain name with a lot of characters and different words, you risk having potential visitors mistyping it. Just one wrong letter and they will be sent to a completely different website or even a non-existing one. This will create frustration and you could end up losing a lot of business all because someone typed in one wrong character.
- It invokes trust. People tend to see long domain names as untrustworthy and even sketchy. Most people wouldn’t even want to visit a website that has a ridiculously long URL. Short domain names don’t have this problem, and they improve the overall user experience.
The only issue you might come across when trying to register a short domain name is availability. Most good and short domain names are already taken. You can solve this issue by creating a brandable domain name or using an alternative extension.
Know what to avoid
While it is difficult to find a good domain name that is also available, there are some mistakes you need to avoid. You will probably need to be creative and make some compromises regarding your name while making sure to dodge some costly mistakes.
Some of them include:
- Hyphens. If you thought of a perfect two or three-word domain that you think would be ideal but it is already taken, you might be tempted to include a hyphen. While this would technically be a new and available domain name, just one hyphen could ruin your business. People often forget to add hyphens to domain names, so your potential customers would just end up on a completely different website.
- Numbers. Most of the time, numbers are confusing. If your company has a number in its name, it would be much better to spell out the number than to write it numerically. The only exception would be a common numeric term, such as “24 hours”.
- Acronyms. While you might think acronyms are interesting, they serve no purpose for domain names. If your company name is long, it would be better just to use a few words than to create an acronym for your company’s name. Just because you know what your acronym stands for, doesn’t mean other people will as well.
- Homophones. Words that sound the same but are spelled differently are called homophones. Such words significantly increase the chances of mistyping. People often confuse words such as “break” and “brake”, so make sure to use words with a clear and comprehensive meaning.
Choosing a good domain name will undoubtedly be hard work and take a lot of time, but it will be worth it in the end. If you put in enough effort and pick the best domain name, your eCommerce business will be able to thrive.
If you follow the steps mentioned above, you can be sure that the domain name you end up with is going to positively affect your business and get you a lot of website visitors.
- Yan Anderson is the Social Relations and Content Manager at CS-Cart. He's passionate about creating content that explains complicated things in simple terms. Yan loves writing and making videos about the ecommerce industry and technology trends. He manages this blog as an editor.
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