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Choosing Domain Names for Small Businesses

Updated on April 5, 2014

Why Is a Domain Name Important?

Time to launch your online store! You are excited and want to get going! Before you start you want to make sure there is synergy between your brand and domain name. Your brand is your online name card with comprehensive information and the right domain is the crucial digital handshake of a company. It is where you meet and greet your potential consumers.

Transferring websites to a new URL is time consuming and costly. In future, a new URL might be sold out and you are caught in a bind. Your previous advertising dollars go down the drain. The top 10 small businesses in search engine results pages (SERPs) use branded keywords.


6 Expert Tips to Get You Brainstorming

1. Be memorable

One of your marketing goals is to set yourself apart from your competitors. What is in line with your brand but missing in the market?

2. Be relevant

Make sure your domain name conveys the same message as your overall branding efforts. Tie your brand to the domain name. Always choose one that doesn't need explanation. Describe your business in 1 sentence and take it from there.

3. Keep it short and sweet

One to 2 words maximum. Top 100,000 websites, on average, have 9 characters in their domain names. Generate keywords of your business, put yourself in the consumer’s shoes.

4. Easy to spell/pronounce

Nothing beats word of mouth to get your brand out there, in fact that is what social media is all about. If someone cannot pronounce it or cannot spell it, information gets lost in the clutter.

5. Copyright

Make sure you are not infringing on anyone else's copyrights.

6. Pick an extension

Have you ever automatically 75% of all websites have a .com extension.


Pros & Cons of Domain Name Categories

Exact match domains (EMDs) are domains that exactly match the keywords you would like to target. For example, if you own an app design store call and want to rank for “buy applications”, you might purchase


The keyword in the domain name will be a ranking factor; webmasters will include the keyword phrase in the anchor text when linking to the site.


EMDs are usually generic and can come across as unprofessional.

Partial Match Domains (PMDs) are domains where a keyword partially matches the name of a domain. For example, if someone is looking for the “National Geographic” then a partial match domain will be


Similar but less effective than EMDs, a keyword in the domain name will be a ranking factor; webmasters will include the keyword phrase in the anchor text when linking to the site.


Unless PMDs consist of other memorable keywords, it can seem generic and can come across as unprofessional.

Unique domain names based on invented words like Quor or Huffington Post


It is memorable


It is difficult to pronounce/spell and doesn’t indicate at a glance what your brand is all about. The success of companies such as Google or Coca-Cola with unique names lead many to believe that a unique name is the way to go but it required years of extensive marketing and millions in ad dollars that many entrepreneurs do not have.

Combination domain names based on two (or more) words called portmanteau or their definitions to create one new word. For example Facebook or Pinterest


It is memorable, utilizes words already so the pick up rate is higher and it is easier to spell/pronounce than a unique domain name.


It doesn’t indicate at a glance what your brand is all about but hints at it instead.

Existing word domain names that are also brand names. For example,


Domain name is the same as the brand name.


If your advertising expenditure cannot provide for effective branding, it doesn’t indicate at a glance what you are selling. You are missing out on SEO as well.

Existing word domain names that includes your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). For example


Memorable and easy to spell/pronounce. Indicative of your business at a glance. SEO friendly to a certain extent.


Not as SEO friendly as EMDs or PMDs

© 2014 Min


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    Post Comment
    • Blackilocks profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Singapore

      Hi ShravanKAcharya,

      Thank you, I will be writing more about small and medium business tips. So stay tuned!

    • ShravanKAcharya profile image


      5 years ago

      This indeed is a informative hub. Would love to see more from you :)

    • Blackilocks profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Singapore

      Hi CyberShelley,

      You are most welcome. I try to make it informative and easy to understand for the layman. Thanks.

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 

      5 years ago

      Thank you for the great information, useful to those starting out and a good reminder to others. Up, useful and interesting.


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