It started with Symbolics.com on March 15, 1985.
Since then, there have been over 341 million domain name registrations worldwide.
And it's shaping up to be an influential industry, as new research from the MIT Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Lab found that the global domain name system ecosystem pulls in about $8 billion yearly.
Why the big deal?
What is in a domain name?
Turns out quite a lot.
And this is why choosing the right domain name for your online marketplace is imperative.
What Does a Domain Name Do For Your Marketplace Business?
First things first: what is a domain name?
In the simplest sense, your domain name is the main part of your website's address.
It's what people will type into a web browser when they want to go to your website.
And it plays a direct role in establishing first impressions, search engine optimization, and branding.
If your domain name is your "address," it only makes sense that it should be something that will make it easy for people to remember.
One good example of this is Google.
Or, as it was called back in 1996, BackRub.
BackRub was picked by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google's cofounders, because they thought it was a witty reference to how their program assesses a website's importance by analyzing backlinks.
But a year later, they realized that it wasn't suitable for their search engine technology; a Stanford graduate student suggested changing it to "googolplex" and further shortened it to "googol."
A "googol" is the one after 100 zeroes, while a "googolplex" is ten raised to the power of a googol.
But they made a mistake in typing "googol" and instead typed out "google.com."
While maybe not a prominent name, Google was a short name that was easy to remember.
Something that we will talk about more later on in the article.
While you can focus on a domain name that's easy to remember, your domain name also factors in your search engine optimization ranking.
There are also two specific ways your domain name helps determine your ranking.
The first is through keywords.
Getting a domain name encapsulating your online marketplace can help cement your position in your niche, making ranking your website more accessible.
There are also branding benefits.
Your domain name can boost your business identity by enhancing your overall branding.
A good example is Airbnb.
Airbnb's domain name reflects the name of its business.
Anyone who has heard of the brand and checked out their website gets a consistent experience.
Linking your domain name to your brand enhances brand recall, eases promotion and marketing, and establishes your credibility as an online marketplace.
So how do you choose a domain name for your online marketplace that communicates who you are as a business and what you can do?
Name Your Domain at the Same Time That You Name Your Marketplace Business
Choosing a great domain name should ideally happen when you name your business.
Tying the domain name and business name helps people find your business more efficiently.
Linking the two is especially beneficial if your business name or brand:
- It is unique and niche-specific
- Has started marketing for awareness and promotion
- Has gained a following
But there are also cases where naming your domain the same as your brand or business name is not a good idea, such as:
- When you want something memorable and catchy
- When you want to set your business apart from the competition; and
- When it's not available
So no, you don't need to be pressured about forcing it.
An excellent example of a brand that didn't have the exact matching domain name is Tesla.
Tesla used TeslaMotors as their domain name before.
Eventually, they did shorten it to Tesla.com, though!
Check if Your Intended Domain Name is Available for Your Website
In June 2021, there were 363.5 million domain name registrations.
This can make finding and snagging an available domain name tricky.
And it's especially true if you're thinking of something generic for your online marketplace.
There are a few main tools that you can use:
The first is GoDaddy.
Known as the biggest domain registrar in the world, GoDaddy hosts over 84 million domains from over 20 million customers.
To see if your domain name is available, you need to enter it into the search field on their website and review their options.
The other tool you can use is Google Domains.
Launched in 2015, it's now available out of beta for 26 countries, where users can choose from over 300 domain endings.
To check out domain possibilities, navigate to their registrar and enter your domain name.
You can also refine your search by entering the specific ending you want for your domain (.com, .net, etc.).
Then you will see the various available options you can choose from for your specific domain name.
A domain can cost anywhere from $10 to $20 a year.
But if you're gunning for a premium domain name, they can cost much higher!
CarInsurance.com, for example, sold for almost $50 million.
Consider Your Domain Extension in Your Online Marketplace
In 1984, there were only six domain extensions used: .com, .edu, .gov, .org, .net, and .mil.
Then a few years after, .uk, .us, and .int were introduced.
Today, there are over 1500 domain extensions you can choose from.
Most websites use the .com and .net extensions to make up a whopping total of 170.6 million domain name registrations.
Country-specific extensions, also called country-code top-level domains, number 157.7 million domain name registrations.
Your domain extension, or the part of your website URL that comes after your domain name and then the period, plays a significant role in how your online marketplace is perceived.
For example, to a visitor, a website that uses .edu is considered an educational institution, while a .org website is a non-profit or government organization or institution.
If you use the wrong extension, it will communicate the wrong message to your target audience.
Similarly, it's best not to avoid the most commonly used extensions.
While there are a lot of new extensions you can choose from, going with a .com website is still recommended as best practice, as it is the most common extension on the Internet.
Keep Your Domain Name Short and Snappy if Possible
When choosing your domain name, it is also important to remember to keep it as short as you can.
While the length of a domain name doesn't directly affect Google's rankings, there are practical benefits to choosing a short domain name.
First off, it's easy to remember.
It started as an online bookseller.
Instead of a long relevant name, it chose a snappy name -- even if it doesn't have an easily identifiable connection to its business.
In addition, shorter domains are easier to type and spell.
Your target audience will be less frustrated if they can load it on their first try.
Longer names come with higher risks for misspellings.
Going with a short domain name also lends more credibility to your website, makes it more shareable, and enables easy mobile usage.
How short is short?
An analysis of the top 250 websites in the world found that the average length of domain names is between 7 and 15, and more than 70% have eight characters or fewer.
Another essential parallel to domain name length is using numbers and hyphens or dashes.
The same analysis found that only 4.4% of the top 250 websites had a number in their domains, while less than 2% of them included a hyphen or a dash.
For the best user experience, keep your domain name short and free of numbers and hyphens.
Think Long-Term When Creating a Domain Name for Your Online Marketplace
Changing a domain name in the future can be costly, mainly since there are a lot of factors that you'll need to consider on top of the purchase price.
These include the popularity of the new name you'll be switching to, the type of domain extension you'll use, the domain name length and availability, and your registrar.
But more than the cost, changing your domain name in the future will affect your brand.
Your audience, for example, will have to get used to the new name or might have trouble finding your website when you change your domain name.
You might want to focus on just one type of service or product for your online marketplace, but if this is set to change in the future, plan for it now.
We hope you've found these tips helpful!
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