Business today is a lot different than it was 20 years ago. You used to be able to make a good first impression on a customer or investor by wearing a fancy suit, or making sure your storefront was clean, or designing a kickass business card. And yeah, those things are definitely still important. But in the Internet age, it’s all about your domain name.
Here are five big reasons why choosing the perfect domain name may be the most crucial decision you make about your business.
It Gives You Credibility
Having your own domain name lets your customers know that you’re serious about making your business work. For those who only want to dip their toes in the water, there’s blogs and Etsy accounts. But a unique domain name shows that you’re committed to your business model and willing to put money and time into making it work.
It Makes You Memorable
There’s a reason that sites like Twitter and Pinterest have become conversational shorthand, and it’s not just because we’re all completely obsessed with them. It’s because their names are short, catchy, and easy to remember. Customers will be more likely to revisit your site, and even to recommend it to friends and family, if the domain is easy to remember. So whether you choose a domain name that’s professional and to the point or silly and creative, make sure it’s a good one. (Bonus: here are five tips for finding a domain name that’s not already taken.)
It Can Bring in New Business
Choosing a domain name with keywords relating to your business can be a great way to bring fresh faces to your site, and can also do wonders for your search engine optimization (SEO) on services like Google and Bing. Especially if you’re looking to capitalize on a niche community, picking a domain name with keywords your market is searching for can be a great way to catch customers looking to buy what you’re selling.
It Reflects Your Values and Personality
Even if it’s just a word or two, your domain name says a lot about you and your business. Are you serious and highbrow, or casual and laid-back? Are you looking for customers in a particular country or area, or going global? Is your business model broad and far-reaching, or tied to a specific community? Tiny choices like whether or not to playfully misspell words or choose an uncommon domain extension can determine what sort of audience your site will attract, and will give customers a snapshot of what your values are.
It’s the First Step Towards Building a Brand
It’s the 21st century. Your website isn’t a part of your business, it is your business. Choosing a domain name means choosing how customers, investors, collaborators, employees, and competitors see you, and it’s also a commentary on how you see yourself. Where do you see your business in five years? What are your long-term goals?
Your domain name should play a role in how you imagine all of this. Ultimately, you want to pick a name that will become so popular and so irresistible, people might one day use it as a verb the way they use Facebook and Google now. No pressure.