WHAT IS A DOMAIN NAME AND HOW TO CHOOSE A WEB DOMAIN NAME
Something as common in our day-to-day life as typing a domain name in our browser has more implications and repercussions than you might think at first.
If you use a hard-to-write or hard-to-remember name for your website, you may have to do more to increase your organic and paid web traffic, since direct traffic will be penalized.
This means that choosing a domain has become one of the fundamental digital marketing tasks for an entrepreneur who is setting up an online store.
So pay close attention to this article, because we are going to teach you how to choose a suitable domain name so that you can start a successful e-commerce business.
What is a domain name?
A domain name is a digital virtual address.
Just as people can physically locate you at your home —which is identified through a postal address—, on the Internet they have to find you somehow, if you want your future customers to reach your page and learn about your products.
It is evident that at first, these first visitors will have to type in their browser the address of your web domain to be able to enter your page. Although as you gain authority, people will come to your website by doing Google searches, or following a link they have found on social networks.
The importance of choosing a good domain name
Surely you are thinking about your new business all the time, drawing up an action plan and a lot of strategies, reflecting on all the details of your online store, and following these 50 e-commerce tips for new entrepreneurs to the letter.
Probably, you have already decided what products you want to sell, you have specified what the design of your website will be like, you have implemented an SEO and communication strategy… You even have clear the promotions that you are going to do to obtain your first sales.
You will also have thought a lot about branding since your intention is for your e-commerce to have a very defined and specific personality. And you will even have decided what your online store is going to be called…
But when it comes to buying the domain name, you’re stuck because there’s nothing that comes even slightly close to the name you’ve given your dropshipping store.
Then you begin to realize what is the concrete and real importance of finding good domain names. Because the future success of your online store will largely depend on a correct choice since it will not be the same for your customers to type an easy address in their browser than a URL full of numbers and strange signs.
Characteristics of a domain name
Your domain name must be fully identified with your own business, as it will appear on any advertising element you use (business cards, flyers, catalogs, letterheads, posters…). And this is already giving us an idea that the domain name must be durable over time, easy to remember, and easy to type.
But we are going to specify a little more because it is possible that it is still not entirely clear to you what a web domain is. So look up at your browser’s address bar and notice anything that appears immediately after HTTPS:// or HTTP://. And besides, it always ends with the extension .com, .es, .co, .net, .mx…
In the case of Oberlo, our domain is “oberlo”, which matches the name of the application, although the final extension is different depending on the country from which you are reading this article.
As a first approximation, it is quite clear what the definition of a domain name is. However, we would like to go one step further, since the concept of a domain name is more complex and has many more implications than just choosing a name for my website.
That is why it is worth remembering, albeit briefly, how a web page was accessed at the beginning of the Internet because it was not as simple a task as it is now. In fact, the current domain name system was created because people found it difficult and impractical to use numbers. Because, at the dawn of the Internet, the way to identify a specific web page was —and really still is— through the IP addresses associated with each website.
Through a set of numbers separated by dots, the IP addresses associated with each website serve to identify all the pages in the world, since each one has a different number.
For example, the IP address of our domain oberlo.es is 126.96.36.199.
But this way of organizing web pages created confusion, since Google did not yet exist, and many people did not want to go crazy memorizing – or saving in their favorites section – thousands and thousands of sequences of numbers. It was then that it was decided to replace the numbers with words, which are easier to remember.
But there are words that are easier to remember than others: if your online store is called, for example, Zapatos de Fiesta, when looking for a web domain for your business you are going to go crazy since it is almost certain that names for domains such as zapatosdefiesta.es will already be taken over by other users who have been more savvy, advanced or visionary than you.
In that case, in the end, you will choose to complicate your web domain with other forms that are not so similar to the name of your store.
Imagine, for example, that you combine your brand Party Shoes with your date of birth (October 25, 1990). In that case, you can buy the web domain zapatosdefiesta251090.es, but that domain name is going to be much more complicated to write than if you use a sequence of numbers separated by dots.
But don’t despair because, next, we are going to give you a few tips so you can learn how to choose a suitable domain name.
Keys to choose the perfect web domain
You have already seen that the domain name you select for your business is essential to start a profitable business because you are going to have to use it in all kinds of media.
And that’s not all: if you are thinking of taking advantage of the domain name to create a corporate email account, using the same web domain (of the type: email@example.com), it is even more important that you do not make a mistake in the choice, since once the domain names are purchased there is no way to go back (at least without suffering damages at the positioning level).
That is why it is important that you do not rush and that you pay attention to these keys that we offer you in the following points.
1. The domain name must be easy to remember
We use words and not sequences of numbers to make it easier for us to remember web domains. So do not insist on making it more difficult for your users and future clients with impossible to memorize domain names, using complicated words, with many numbers, or with a lot of strange signs that do not even appear on a normal keyboard.
Although the memory capacity of one person differs a lot from that of another, there is no doubt that there are certain elements that work very well when a domain name remains engraved in the memory of your potential clients:
- Keep it short – In addition to the fact that a short web domain is easier to type (and spell), it will also be easier to remember. Our recommendation is that it has no more than 10 letters. And try never to exceed 15 letters, since long words are more difficult to remember than short ones.
- That it does not have many vowels in a row : another important issue is that it is clear, since web domains that include several vowels together —as in ferreteriaalpormayor.com— are difficult to remember accurately. And even more difficult to spell or pronounce correctly.
- Make it visually appealing : memory often works through the eyes, especially if you have developed your photographic memory. This means that when giving my website a name, you must choose a word or a combination of them that looks good visually. So avoid uncommon signs like underscores and underscores or letters like h, w, i, z.
- Use recognizable elements : Think, for example, of a store that sells dog food. When looking for a domain, it is not the same if you opt for foodparaperros.com than if you opt for the name foodiecan.com. It may seem cooler to you , because the words in English have their point and give it a touch of importance… Also, it is a shorter domain, so it would be easier to remember. However, as they are unfamiliar concepts for Spanish speakers, this web domain will be more difficult to commit to memory than the one written in Spanish.
2. That the web domain includes keywords
If you follow a beginner’s guide to SEO, many recommend buying a domain name that includes your store’s main keyword. In this way, you will be benefiting from a factor that provides greater strength to that domain when it comes to positioning in Google for your main keyword.
But you run the risk —if you don’t know how to choose a domain— of trying unnatural EMD ( Exact Match Domain ) combinations. And that can end up turning the name for a blog or a website into a hodgepodge of meaningless words. And what is worse: difficult to save in memory.
Think, for example, of the Renault car brand. When choosing their web domain, they could have thought of cocherenault.es, to make it clear that their business is car sales. But with a brand as powerful as Renault, it is better to simplify things and put the address of your website for Spain simply with renault.es.
However, if you sell candies with the CARBASA brand, it is possible that your domain name would look better if you put caramelcarbasa.com since it is easier to recognize your sector of activity than with a commercial name as anonymous as CARBASA.
3. Make the domain name easy to type on the mobile keyboard
More and more people surf the Internet with their smartphones.
This means that you have to make things easy for mobile users. Especially since almost everyone has autocorrects activated —or, simply, fat fingers— and in the end, they end up putting a different web domain in the address bar than the one they wanted to write.
While a simple domain name like dia.es is never misspelled on a mobile phone if you try to type a domain name like corrugadoserratosa.com you’ll see how you end up getting a letter wrong.
In addition, in this aspect, it should be noted again that the most convenient thing would be that when searching for a web domain you do not include strange signs such as hyphens or bars. Not only in relation to your marketing strategies —because they look bad and it is difficult to remember this type of domain name—, but also because on the virtual keyboard of a smartphone you will have to change the screen to enter this type of symbol.
4. That the name for my website is related to my own brand
By dint of seeing thousands and thousands of websites, we have all become accustomed to domain names being very similar or equal to the names of the brands they market. And this is something that is good since your web domain is a fundamental element of your branding and brand strategy.
However, you have to do things right and in order. This means that it is not a good idea to buy a domain name related to your brand if you have not stopped to reflect correctly on your branding before. If your brand name is provisional —because you are not completely convinced and you plan to change it in the future—, it is better that you close that chapter before choosing the domain for your online business.
Otherwise, you will spend much more time than you initially thought with a brand that you do not like, that you do not fully identify with your style, for fear of losing positioning if you make a change of web domain.
Therefore, the choice of web domains should be the result of a thorough and clear prior branding strategy.
The good thing about searching for domains related to your brand is that people will immediately identify your products with your brand name. Something considered one of the best sales strategies because it helps to sell.
Let’s see several examples of domain names based on branding:
- Nike.com – Global brands work very well on their brand strategy. For this reason, if you want to buy Nike shoes directly—without going to a specific online store—you will most likely type nike.com in your browser.
- Lg.com – Another one of those brands that use their own names for their websites, as the LG name is well established in the home appliance industry.
- Samsung.com – Another company that has leveraged its branding strategy to brand exactly its web domain name.
5. Which is better: domain .es or .com?
Many people, when they begin to consider names for domains, do not know whether to use the usual .com or if it is better to geolocate it. Because .es domains —just like .co, .mx, or .ar— serve to find out which country the website you are accessing belongs to.
If you enter the Oberlo website from Spain, you will access the web domain oberlo.es (don’t worry, the system detects by your IP if you are in Spain and automatically redirects you to oberlo.es). On the other hand, if you do it from Mexico, you will enter oberlo.com.mx.
With this, we want to explain to you that geolocated domains are designed to offer specific information on a specific country. There are even eCommerce that, due to legal, strategic, or market segmentation reasons, do not operate in all countries and use the domain extensions of each country to segment the market (or to block customers who come from a specific country).
This already gives us a palpable sign that a .es or .com domain is neither better nor worse. In the end, it is a question of strategy. But it should be clear, lest in the future you have to start buying all the extensions for not having chosen the web domain that best suited your strategy.
To know what type of extension you should choose, keep in mind the following:
- .com extensions are the most common : domains ending in .com are the most common on the Internet. And if you want to have a global presence, the best decision will be to opt for a .com. Especially if you operate in several markets or plan to internationalize your store in the future.
- Geolocated domains are designed to operate in a single country : if you only want to sell in Spain (and you do not plan to internationalize your ecommerce in the future), the best option is the .es domain. And the same happens if you want to show specific content or products by country. In that case, you must use the .es for Spain, the .co for Colombia, the .ar for Argentina or the .mx for Mexico. In those cases, it is normal to create specific content for each country from which it is accessed.
- Specific extensions : although .es and .com are the most frequent, there are also other extensions that may interest you. We would be talking about the .net, which are oriented to technological or Internet-related businesses. .org domains are designed for non-profit entities, associations, foundations… While .info is intended for informative web pages.
6. Some ideas to find domain names
If you’re stuck and can’t think of a decent web domain, you can try one of these tips:
- Use a domain generator : Many entrepreneurs start thinking about domain names through brainstorming . With a pen and paper they write down the different alternatives that occur to them, without thinking that many of them may already be used. To save some time, you may want to use a domain generator that works similar to this tagline generator . You just have to enter names to know which ones are available for you to use as a web domain. And in case they are already used, the web domain generation tool will provide you with different alternatives.
- Branded domain – Start by testing domain names related to your brand. This is what the marketplace vibbo.com did , which opted for branding when choosing its domain. The problem is that your brand name can be difficult to write or remember. In that case, either you do like Vibbo — who spent a lot of money on advertising to have more brand recognition — or you think of other alternatives.
- Domain with brand and keyword : in this case you have to take the name of your brand and also include the main keyword in the web domain. This has been done by the Emma mattress store, whose domain is emma-colchon.es . If your brand name is too common, you may have to add some more long-tail keywords, such as emmamattressshop.com.
- Domain with brand and locality : if you are using name generators for companies, they may also show you combinations in which your city appears, to help you with SEO positioning at a local level. An example of this would be the store of Malaga products malagasabor.es .
The best tools to search for web domains
Whether it’s a domain generator or a domain matcher, there are some tools that are going to help you find that perfect domain name.
Here are some of the tools we find most useful:
- Namechk – A perfect app to check if a word is already being used on social media (in which case there may be confusion between your business and that social media user), and whether or not it can be registered as a domain name.
- Domain Hole – Allows you to search for available domains. And if they are free, you can buy them directly from the tool itself.
- DomainWheel : a domain generator that is easy to use, since it is only necessary to indicate the keyword on which you want to search for web domains and the system returns all the available results.
- NameMesh : you can generate domain names based on keywords, branding… It is very specific and offers a large amount of information about each available web domain.
With this article, we hope that you have resolved all your doubts about how to choose a domain. From now on, you have the means to answer the question “what will be the name for my website”.
Despite this, it is possible that you are still not clear about which domain names are the best for your online store. If you need help or want to share with us some of the web domains you are considering, we would love to read them in the comments to this post.