“This domain name is taken.”
Just when you thought you had a great idea for a domain name, you keep getting the same message over and over again. Frustrating, isn’t it?
As more people today use the internet to conduct product research and shop for goods, having an online presence is more important than ever. It gives your customers an easy way to connect with your business.
As a developer or a digital agency, you already know the value of having a website. But the challenge you’re facing is finding the right domain name for an e-commerce business.
In a world with a growing online presence, you must consider your brand name and how well it will do as a domain and as keywords in general.
Here we’ll take an in-depth look at how you can find the right domain name for your online store. These are tips you can apply whether you’re purchasing a domain name for yourself or for a client.
Register Your Brand Name
Think about some of the most popular brands today — Apple, Amazon, BMW, Coca-Cola, etc. These companies also have their brand names as their domains.
Why is this important? Because your domain name is tightly linked to your brand.
Just imagine if Apple had registered CoolTechnology.com or if Coca-Cola had registered CarbonatedSoftDrink.com. These domain names just don’t have the same ring to them.
It’s advisable to pick a domain name that’s the same as your brand name. This prevents any brand confusion.
As an example, direct traffic makes up a majority of traffic to Amazon’s site with 57.09% This means that more than half of shoppers to Amazon’s site are typing the URL directly into their web browser.
Now imagine if someone types in your brand name into their browser, but instead gets redirected to a completely different site. They’ll likely feel confused, which may lead them to lose trust in your brand.
If you don’t already have a brand name, then you can take an SEO approach and register a domain with keywords.
Include Relevant Keywords
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of optimizing your site to rank in search engines like Google for your target keywords.
Think about your last purchase. Chances are you searched online to help with your purchasing decision. You’re not alone as 51% of shoppers use Google to conduct product research.
If your primary focus is to get organic search traffic, another approach you can take is to register a domain name with your target keyword.
Here’s an example of an e-commerce business with a keyword optimized domain name:
Adding relevant keywords in the domain name is beneficial from a user and search engine stand points — users immediately know what the site offers before they click through and it gives search engines a strong indication of what the site is about.
But there are also some downsides to consider with this approach. Exact match domains can appear spammy (e.g., BestRockingChairsForSale.com) and they restrict the products you can sell.
For example, if your domain name was something like BestDumbbellsForSale.com, visitors to your site might think you only sell dumbbells. This can be problematic if you also sell other fitness equipment on your site like medicine balls or treadmills.
Keep the Domain Name Short
Shorter domain names are generally better for a number of reasons — they’re easier to read and visitors can type them into their browser faster.
Shorter domains are also easier to remember and have a higher chance of being “catchy.” For example, visitors are more likely to recall a name like Gamify.com then a domain name like OnlineVideoGameBuilder.com.
It may sound seemingly minor, but the ability to stay with someone after they visit your site can give you a huge competitive advantage online. It means that visitors are more likely to recall your brand in the future should they need your products or services.
For reference, the limit for domain names is 67 characters, but ideally you should try to keep it to 20 characters or less. Of course, coming up with a shorter domain name is by no means easy as most are already registered.
Even if you do find a shorter domain name, it’ll likely come with a huge price tag like this:
Unless your business is already established and generating a significant amount of revenue, you may not be in a position to buy a premium name. The good news is there are other ways that you can find the right name for your e-commerce business.
Play with ‘Creative’ SpellingsGenerally, you want to avoid overly-unique spellings in your domain name. That means you must be careful with spellings that are different from how those words are normally spelled. For example, AwesomeToyz.com may sound great, but visitors are likely to land on AwesomeToys.com instead unless you clarify the ‘Z’. However, unofficial spelling or coining unique words can avoid confusing your brand name with the existing words (i.e. ‘Trybe’ instead of ‘Tribe’, to avoid search results of tribes). Whatever spelling you choose, register domains that someone can easily remember and type into their browser. If they can’t because they’re not sure how to spell a word, then it’s back to the drawing board.
Consider Other Domain Extensions
Generally, you should aim to register a .com domain name as it’s the most common and widely used extension. But if the .com of the domain you want is registered or it’s only available at a premium price, another option is to consider other extensions.
For an online store for your e-commerce business, you might consider using the .store extension.
Choosing a different extension opens up even more options that you can choose from. Other extensions that you might consider include:
One thing to keep in mind with domain extensions is the renewal fees. For example, some domain registrars offer .store extensions for an attractive price to entice store owners, but then increase the renewal price the following year.
Check the initial domain name cost for popular registrars and their renewal prices before you register to avoid any surprises.
If your domain is too close to a well-known brand or trademark in the same industry, customers will almost always land on that competitor’s site instead of yours.
You might also run into legal trouble. If you want to sell electronics online, registering a domain name with the word “apple” in it (e.g., AppleSupply.com) is probably not a good idea.
But if you’re an organic farm selling apples to customers worldwide, then registering a domain name with the word “apple” in it (e.g., OrganicApples.com) is probably fine.
It’s best to consult with a trademark lawyer if you’re not sure.
Setting Up Your Online Store
With a domain name finally registered, you’re one step closer to selling online. There are a few options you have to build your store.
Shopify is an e-commerce platform that you can use to build and launch an online store. Its platform makes it easy for you to customize your site and even manage your marketing campaigns. Another option is to build your own online store with WooCommerce — a free plugin built specifically for the WordPress platform. Just like with Shopify, you can add products, extend the functionality of your store with extensions, and much more.
If you’re managing multiple e-commerce stores for clients, then you’ll find our WP Toolkit and WooCommerce to be the perfect solution. Our WP Toolkit lets you configure and manage multiple WordPress instances from one dashboard. Instead of having to manually log in to multiple WordPress sites to update themes and plugins, you can manage updates in bulk from one dashboard. This saves you a ton of time and protects your clients’ sites against security risks.
If something goes wrong or if you ever need to revert to a previous version, you can easily restore your site to different points in time. Whether you’re a developer, system administrator, or a digital agency, our platform lets you build and manage multiple sites from one place.
Your domain is often the first point of contact that potential customers have with your business. So it’s important to choose a memorable and brandable domain name.
Follow the tips above if you’re having a difficult time finding the right domain name for your e-commerce business. And once you finally register a domain, be sure to check out our WP Toolkit to streamline and manage your installation.
If you’re already a Plesk Partner and need help getting set up, then don’t hesitate to reach out to your Account Manager.
Have any questions about finding a domain name or want to share a recent experience? Feel free to leave your comment below!