The first step any business should take to manage their online reputation is to register their business name as their domain name.
Why your domain name should be your business name.
Reputation management is something every business should focus on, but here’s the thing, it doesn’t really matter what people are saying about your business online if no one can find you! And the most important aspect of being found online is having the right domain name or URL.
Your website’s domain name is the address people can use to find your business online, and ideally, that domain name will also be your business name. Your domain name is essentially your first impression because it’s the first thing people see. It also affects SEO (search engine optimization) and will make a difference in how your website ranks in the SERP (search engine results pages). Furthermore, your domain name also helps to define your brand and increases the recognition of your brand.
Unfortunately, there’s a lot of competition out there for domain names, and you may find that your business name has already been taken. If the owner of the domain isn’t using it currently, it’s possible that you may be able to purchase it from them. If the domain is being used and a website has already been built, you might need to start the arduous task of finding a new domain name for your business. However, if your business name has been trademarked, you main have a legal case for gaining control of it, but be prepared for a time-consuming, expensive process if you go that route.
How to choose a domain name.
Some businesses are too late to the game to secure their own business name as their domain name, and if you’re in that boat, know that not all hope is lost. You’ll have to put in a little extra effort to get the perfect domain name for your website, but it’s still in the cards for you even if your business name has already been taken. The ideal domain name will be unique so that your visitors will remember it and be encouraged to come back, it will be clear and concise (as opposed to overly wordy and confusing), it will be easy to pronounce and it will give your audience an idea of what your website is all about.
Keep in mind that your domain name can play a role in your website’s search engine optimization (SEO), adding even more pressure to get it right. And unfortunately, if you decide to change it later on, it can be a complicated, time-intensive process. Here are a few tips to help you get it right the first time:
- Choose a brandable domain name – There’s nothing more important than ensuring that your domain name is brandable and reflects your brand positively.
- Use a keyword – This will help visitors to know exactly what you’re all about, and it will help with SEO. A word of caution — a branded, catchy domain name is better than a keyword-rich domain name in 2019, so if you can’t use a keyword naturally and in a memorable way, don’t do it.
- Make it mobile-friendly – With up to 70 percent of web traffic occurring on mobile phones, it’s more important than ever before that you choose a mobile-friendly domain name. This means going with something short, sweet and easy to type.
- Make it easy to remember – The last thing you want is for your domain name to be overly complicated or long, which is why shorter domain names are usually preferable. It should also be easy to spell.
- Make it clear – Chances are, you won’t be able to fully describe your business with just a word or two, but the more descriptive your domain name can be about your business, the better. If your business name is unavailable, your best bet is to use a version of your business name if at all possible.
- Get help with a domain name generator – Your domain name is a big deal, but it can sometimes be tricky to get it right, especially when you’re already under so much pressure to do so. Luckily, there are plenty of domain name generators out there that can help.
- Choose the right domain extension for your organization – Businesses will typically use .com, .ws., .biz and .info; whereas, nonprofits and charities use .org, educational institutions use .edu, government agencies use .gov and military sites use .mil.
How do you determine if a domain name is available?
Once you have a list of a few domain names you might be interested in registering for your business, your next step is to find out which ones are actually available to you to use. One of the easiest ways to see if the name is available is through a domain name registry, like Name.com, DreamHost, Name Cheap or Hover. Most of these sites have a search bar you can use from the homepage that will give you an idea of whether the name you’re interested in is available or not.
Pick a domain name registrar and purchase a domain name.
There are many different domain name registrars you could choose from out there, including GoDaddy, Namecheap, Domain.com and Name.com. Each of these options has a slightly different user experience but will get you where you want to go in the end. And after you’ve decided on a registrar, you just have to simply follow the prompts to purchase and register the domain name.
Now that you’ve purchased your domain name, it’s up to you to decide what you want to do with it. For example, if you already have a website, you can redirect the domain to it, or you could buy a web hosting account and launch a website with the domain. It’s also advisable to set up an email account using the domain name.
Take ownership of your business online reputation with Top Rated Local®.
Registering your business’ domain name is an important part of building and maintaining a strong online reputation, but it’s only one step in the process. One of the best things you can do apart from registering your domain name is to get listed on Top Rated Local and/or claim your listing. With Top Rated Local, you’ll get a Rating Score™ that will encompass your business’ reputation across several different verified reviews sites. You’ll also get real-time notifications when people write reviews for your business, as well as the ability to reply to those reviews and a monthly overview of your overall online reputation. Top Rated Local really is your one-stop-shop to a great online reputation, and the best part is that it’s totally free to sign up.