How to Choose a Domain Name
Squarespace Domain Names
If you are just getting started with your website, Squarespace offers free domain name registration for your first year. You can choose from lots of TLDs (domain name extensions like .com or .biz) which means the sky is often the limit for possible domain names for your business. So, how do you choose the best domain name?
Consider SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Your ranking in Google Search results depends on a lot of things (and the actual formula is a closely guarded secret), but one thing we do know is that keywords are important. So it helps to have keywords in your domain name.
Sometimes it’s easy to know what these keywords are. For example, if you are an interior designer then “interior design” would be a great keyword to include in your domain name. Likewise, if you sell coffee tables, then “coffee tables” would make sense to include in your domain name. If your business is more complex and you need help with keyword research, a couple of reputable companies that work with Squarespace are Marksmen Studio and SEO Brothers.
Note: Having keywords in your domain name isn’t a magic bullet. You also have to use them strategically through your Squarespace web design.
When should you NOT use keywords in your domain name? You’ll notice that my domain name doesn’t include Squarespace designer. That’s because years ago when I started freelancing, I worked on other platforms. And I offered other services (like user interface design, SQL database work, and graphic design). So if you think your services or products may change, go with a more generic domain name. Because in addition to rewarding domain names with keywords, Google also rewards domain names that have been around longer (and have had an active website associated with them). So change your website, change your services, but try and keep your domain name the same.
Your Brand, Reflected in your Domain Name
Your branding can also inform your choice of business name and domain name, or vice-versa. Take Email Marketing platforms as an example. If you are going cute with your brand and domain (think MailChimp) then you can be silly and include apes, or monkeys - those are always funny. ConvertKit went in an entirely different direction with their brand, more corporate and less whimsical. But both those platforms are hugely successful because they stayed consistent and clear in their messaging, even though their approaches were from very different brand perspectives. Both used their company name as their domain name and, through providing a good service and strategic marketing, they are both highly visible online.
keep it short and sweet
The longer your domain, the more chances there will be typos or confusion. Make it easy to say, so when you tell people how to find your website you can say something like “widgets.com” or “widgetsaustin.com” instead of “widgets4sale-austin.com,” which would sound something like “widgets, the number 4, sale, dash, austin.” Leave out hyphens in domain names, unless they are necessary for readability, and go with a .com if it’s available, since that’s how most people still tend to type domain names.
who (or what) and where
If you are a local business, it’s a great idea to include your location in your domain. So if you provide interior design to Dallas area residences, interiordesigndallas.com does a great job of targeting the site visitors you’d actually benefit from! As a side note, while you do want lots of visitors to your site, it’s more important to have the right visitors: someone who is likely to hire you, purchase an item for sale, or engage with your business in a meaningful way.
Domain Name Registrars
Don’t wait to register your domain name! The good ones don’t tend to be available for long. If you’d like to register your domain name in advance of choosing a website host, or before setting up hosting with Squarespace, I recommend Google Domains. They have fair pricing which includes domain privacy (something other registrars up-sell) and they allow for easy domain management. You might pay a couple dollars more for your first year’s registration, but the annual pricing stays consistent (no bait and switch like other companies), and they are likely to be around in a few years when you need to access your domain records.
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