7 Things to Consider When Choosing a Domain Name for your E-Commerce Site
You’re in the process of creating an e-commerce website, an online storefront for your new products. You’re following all the steps required to create a site with a great web design and user experience and all is going well. But at some point in this process, you need to pick a domain name for this site. What do you want people to click on or type to access your store?
Finding the perfect domain name can not only be difficult in terms of ideas but in terms of strategy as well. It’s certainly a choice you should make carefully.
The main elements of a domain name
In order to help choose a name, it’s worth understanding a little bit about the different parts of a domain name.
Firstly, there’s the subdomain. Normally, this is the “www.” that you’d find at the beginning of most domain names. It’s not obligatory and could you just as easily have a website without it, however, the best practice is to make it work for both with and without “www.”
You may also see other examples of subdomains, such as a blog or help section. Support.google.com is a good example. It keeps this portion of the website separate from the main site. We won’t go into details here, but it’s important to be able to recognise it if you ever need one.
Secondly, there is the domain itself. This is where the majority of our thoughts and ideas will be focussed. This is because, in this section of the URL, you can be your most creative to try to stand out. This segment is going to form the identity of your online store. Further down in the article, we are going to cover things you need to consider when making this choice.
Thirdly, you have the domain name extension, which we commonly recognise at .com, .co.uk, .org or .net. It is generally a good idea to choose an extension that people will remember, (normally .co.uk or .com).
Additionally, within the URL, you also have HTTP or HTTPS. This is a communication protocol between the client and the server. If your e-commerce store has an SSL certificate, which is highly recommended, you’ll see HTTPS.
Now, without further ado, here are a few ideas to help you choose the right name when registering a domain:
Use the name of your business or brand
This is a pretty obvious one and is often the case for most businesses. However, it’s the more granular details that we should worry about. If you’ve already got a name for your business, will people be able to remember it, or spell it when typing it into the address bar?
Does your hypothetical domain name or business name give some indication as to what you do? For example, you may be a family run business, with the family name used for your business. But this means very little unless your business is very big and well-known. If it’s unclear what your business does, try adding your industry too – ogdenfulfilment.co.uk is a great example here!
Another thing to decide is whether you will be including hyphens in your domain name. This makes longer domain names more readable, but if someone types this directly into the address bar, will they know where the hyphens go?
If you want to use hyphens in your URL to benefit from readability and easier recall, consider buying domains with and without hyphens, that way you can ensure your visitors land on your home page regardless of what they type.
Are you using numbers as part of your branding or name? You’ll need to work out the best way to present them in your domain name. Are you going to type them out or write them as figures?
If they’re not essential, it’s probably best to avoid them altogether to avoid mistypes and confusion. Otherwise, the best option to avoid confusion would be to purchase both domains, with a redirect set up on the domain you don’t use as your home page.
Pronunciation and spelling
If people can say the name of your site properly, the odds are they are more likely to remember it. If they can remember it, they’re also more likely to share it via word of mouth.
Spelling is also important and if your site has an unusual or difficult spelling, it’s probably going to affect website traffic unless you do something about it. Did you know that www.redsocks.com redirects you to the official Boston Red Sox Baseball team? This is a great example of catching common misspellings of your name.
The length of the domain name
As with everything, the shorter a name is, the easier it is to memorise. By choosing a short domain name, you’re simplifying the message of your brand and what you do as a business. Try not to exceed 30 characters within the domain, especially if there are more than a few words within the domain.
Are you selling internationally? Then you might be best using a .com extension. Likewise, if you’re planning on selling in the UK only, you won’t want to acquire any irrelevant extensions such as .fr or .de.
Check Social Media
Finally, don’t forget to check social media! If you are planning on developing a social media presence for your new e-commerce website it might be worth checking whether your desired name is free on these channels too. Having a separate or perhaps clunky name instead could damage the store’s success.