Before you build your online presence, you will need to choose and purchase a domain name for your local business.
In short, it forms the most important foundation of your digital presence.
While some local businesses can get away with operating just on social media accounts, nothing beats having a platform that is truly your own, where you can customise your website to suit the needs of your small business. With so much competition and so many businesses pivoting online after the pandemic, having a memorable domain name and a great small business website can mean the success of your online business.
In this guide on picking the perfect local business domain name, we will cover the following:
- What is a domain name and the importance of a business domain name for small businesses
- Components of a dedicated domain name for your business
- Tips on picking the right domain name and domain extensions for your small local business
- Free domain name vs paid domain name: which one will feed small businesses’ needs?
- How to purchase and secure your domain name with a domain registrar?
What is a domain name and why is it important to have a business domain name for small businesses?
Imagine that every single house address is unique, the same applies to a domain name. It represents the physical address of your website on the world wide web, and a critical step in establishing your small business’ online presence. Similar to your physical address or phone number, there cannot exist two identical domain names on the internet.
Every web address has a domain name, and it’s completely unique to that site.
Examples of business domain names include “GoDaddy.com” or “Google.com”. For instance, if you want to visit GoDaddy’s website, you would need to type our domain name “GoDaddy.com” into your browser in order to access GoDaddy’s website.
Given that a domain name is meant to help your potential customers remember you and visit your business website, picking a simple and memorable domain of your website is crucial.
Changing your domain name after setting it up can be quite a hassle, so you’ll want to pick the right name from the start if you can.
Components of a dedicated domain name for your business
Every domain name comprises of two different levels: top-level domain (TLD) and a second-level domain (SLD).
The top-level domain (TLD) is the last part of the domain name. Also known as domain suffixes or domain extensions, the TLD is meant to communicate the location or purpose of your small business website.
TLDs are made available by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which controls the registries. Here are a few common types of TLDs recognized by ICANN:
- Generic top-level domain (gTLD): This is the most common type of TLD used by a web address. Some examples include .com, .net, .org and .edu. These TLDs communicate the objective of each website. Commercial companies mostly use .com, while educational institutes would use .edu.
- Country-code top-level domain (ccTLD): This is one to take note if you are running a local business, targeting customers of a specific locale or country. A ccTLD is an option for your business domain name to indicate the country within which your website is registered. For example, .sg is the ccTLD for Singapore, and .my is the TLD for Malaysia. Having a ccTLD in your domain name is a huge step to help your users understand where your business is based at, and would generally appeal better people searching locally.
Learn more about common domain name extensions here! Do you know that there are many other types of TLDs you can use on top of these recognizable TLDs?
Moving onto second-level domain (SLD), also known as 2LD, it refers to the section before the TLD.
The SLD is the heart of a domain name’s identity, hence making it the most valuable portion of the domain name.
For example, for our domain www.GoDaddy.com, “GoDaddy” is the SLD. And in this case, “GoDaddy” is also the most valuable part of the entire domain name. SLD usually reinforces the identity of your brand or business website. While the maximum length of an SLD is 63 characters, most people would go for a domain name that can be easily remembered.
Picking the right domain name is a critical step for your business success, and we will go through that in the next section.
Tips on picking the right domain name and domain extensions for your small local business
1. Keep it short
Short, snappy and concise—that’s how your domain name should be.
If you want people to remember your domain name and use it to visit your website, then you’ve got to make it convenient for them to do so. But if your domain name is reaaally looooong, people might lose patience while typing it in, and give up halfway.
As a result, you miss out on valuable website visitors whom you could have turned into buyers. You definitely don’t want that!
Most of the words in the dictionary have already been registered as domains, so you can combine a few words to produce an available domain name. In this regard, Google recommends that your domain name doesn’t exceed three words.
For example, Hong Kong-based branding and marketing agency BaseCreative has used a simple “basecreate.com” as its domain name.
2. Include relevant keywords
As far as possible, your domain name should help people easily understand what your website or business is about. This means including relevant keywords that describe your products or services.
For instance, take a look at this domain name: “maideasy.my”. What do you think the business behind this domain name offers?
If you guessed something along the lines of making it easy for customers to hire maids and cleaners to clean their homes, then you’re right!
Using keywords in your domain name can also help Google better interpret what your website is about. This helps it rank your website for relevant search terms more accurately, so you get higher-quality traffic.
3. Use your brand name
If you’ve already spent hours picking the perfect name for your business, then why not use it as your domain name as well? In short, this should be your perfect business domain name.
This helps you present a consistent brand image across various platforms, be it your website or social media pages. As a result, your fans and potential customers can easily identify your website as belonging to you—and not someone else.
As an example, Philippine-based fashion retailer Giovanne the Label uses “gvnthelabel.com” as the domain name for its website. (“Gvn” is an abbreviation of the word “Giovanne”.)
However, if your brand name has already been registered as a domain name, don’t fret! Think about how you can modify your brand name to something available for registration.
You could abbreviate your brand name (like what Giovanne the Label has done), or add words to it. Brainstorm a list of possible domain names, then head over to a domain registrar—such as GoDaddy—to narrow down your options.
4. Indicate your geographical location
This doesn’t necessarily have to do with showing off your pride for your country or neighbourhood. Depending on what you’re selling, signalling your location can boost customer confidence in your offerings.
For example, if you live in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and need to hire a plumber, which domain name would you be more likely to click on?
- A) kualalumpurplumber.com
- B) johorbahruplumber.com
- C) bandungindoplumber.com
I’m guessing it’s option A—after all, you’d probably want to hire a plumber in the same city as you!
Apart from mentioning your location in your domain name, you can also opt for a country code top-level domain. Having a ccTLD in your local business domain name can help potential customers discover you more easily on search engines, especially when they are searching for local goods and services.
For instance, Singaporean bakery Swee Heng has used “sweeheng.com.sg” as its domain name, with “.sg” being the country code top-level domain for Singapore.
5. Don’t overcomplicate things
For sure, you’ll want your domain name to be Unique and Special. But don’t go overboard by making it super complicated. Things to NOT do include:
- Using hyphens in your domain name, as it then becomes harder to say out loud. (Just try saying “my-hyphen-favourite-hyphen-hangout.com” for instance. What a mouthful.) And if a person forgets to add in the hyphens when typing in your domain name, then they could be sent to a completely different website.
- Deliberately misspelling words in your domain name. You aren’t exactly instilling confidence in your business if it appears that you can’t even spell your domain name right. This is unless the misspelling is part of your brand name. For example, if your business is called “Drivr” (i.e. “driver” without the “e”), then it’d be all right to register “drivr.com” as your domain name.
Other things to note when you are picking a business domain name for your local business
Picking a domain name for a local business can be a tricky task. Ideally, you’ll want to use something that accurately describes your brand and what you do. You might also want to signal your location, while ensuring that your domain name isn’t too long or difficult to understand.
And of course, you will need to pick something that is still available for registration—which is often easier said than done.
Once you’ve shortlisted a few possible business domain names, run them through GoDaddy’s domain name checker to see if they are available. Then, when you’ve registered the perfect business domain name, it’s time to bring your website to life.
Now that you have some ideas on a suitable business domain name, the next question that you might have is whether to go for a paid domain or just settle for a free one.
Editor’s Note: Need more tips on picking the right business or domain name? We got you covered! Get some tips on choosing a business name, or if you are planning to start a real estate business, we’ve got an article specially for you.
Free domain name vs paid domain name: which one will feed small businesses’ needs?
For many businesses on a budget, it might be very tempting to consider using free domain names. After all, both free and paid domains offer the same function of helping potential customers to find you online.
However, your business domain name needs to meet many requirements as outlined above in order for your customers to remember it easily. As such, you might have little to no options to have your ideal business domain name should you choose to obtain a free domain name.
On top of that, it is likely that you are not the owner of your free domain name. In many instance, these domains are owned by the registrar that offered you the name. If someone else decides to pay to have your domain name, you might lose your domain!
By paying for your domain name, not only are you able to secure ownership of your domain, you will be able to pick one that suits your business and set your business up for success!
A tip to note, domain registrars like GoDaddy occasionally offers a free domain if you purchase any of our other products like professional email or web hosting. Do keep your eyes peeled for such offers with your current domain registrar!
How to purchase and secure your domain with a domain name registrar?
Ready to purchase your business domain name? It’s time to make it your own by purchasing it from a domain name registrar!
As mentioned above, you can visit GoDaddy’s domain name checker to check if your desired business domain name is available for purchase. If it is not available, fret not as the checker will also suggest alternative domain names.
Once you have decided on a domain name, simply add it to your cart and sort out your payment!
Editor’s Note: Do you know that you can use a custom domain name for your business email with GoDaddy? Check out this article to learn how you can do so!
Your journey to build an online presence has just begun
Picking the perfect business domain name for your local business is the very first step in building your online presence. As a second step, you might need to decide on the best web hosts that would suit your business needs, or think of how you can build your website easily.
With GoDaddy’s website builder, you can start building your website for free, then add on any paid features that you might need.
So what are you waiting for? It’s time to claim your corner of the Internet!