12 Reasons Why Your Small Business Should Have It’s Own Web Domain (Updated 2020)
Updated: Apr 15
Thinking about buying your own domain name in 2020? You should.
Here are 12 reasons why owning your own web domain is a great business investment.
If you are a small business with a website, you are part of the 64% who understand the importance of establishing an online presence. According to a Visual Objects survey, 29% of small businesses plan to build a website in 2020. Not all of those small businesses however, will elect to own their own unique web domain name. Small businesses building their new websites on platforms such as Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, or Wordpress will have the option of free web hosting as long as they display the platform’s ads on their website. The presence of ads unrelated to your niche on certain platforms is just one example of why free web hosting might not always be the best idea.
Control of URL length
If you are taking advantage of free web hosting and don’t have your own domain name, your brand is going to likely be found at the end of the web URL and your web domain is going to be too long. Sometimes, people may type in what they are looking for in the URL bar and just add .com or some other extension to it to see what pops up. If your domain name starts with the name of the platform you are using for web hosting, you have no chance of getting that viewer. Domain length can frustrate viewers if something goes wrong and they have to retype it. It is also far more likely that the viewer will misspell your domain name if it has more characters. For optimal results, it is recommended that your domain name be 6-14 characters. It is going to be virtually impossible to make that happen if you have to place the name of the platform you are using at the beginning of your web domain.
Your competition has one
Chances are you aren’t the only business of your type in town. There is a lot of competition out there and everyone is trying to gain an edge to increase their share of customers. If a viewer has to make a choice between a website with a web domain matching the brand and industry of the company or a web domain with irrelevant words and characters, which one do you think they are going to choose? It has been proven time and time again that internet consumers have very high expectations when it comes to the websites they view and that needs to be considered when you are creating your domain. There are over 70 billion websites on the internet and plenty of options for consumers. It would be in the best interest of your business to make sure your web domain is customized to your particular business and abides by recommended practices as much as possible. Keep it short and relevant and you should be fine.
Easier to get found on search engines
If you purchased a unique web domain name for your website, you are more likely to be found by viewers on search engines. Domain name keywords are one of the factors considered when search engines like Google are trying to determine where to rank your website. In order to provide value to their billions of viewers, Google has to make sure your content is relevant. If your domain name includes keywords or phrases that are not relevant, it can confuse the search engine crawlers and result in your content not being ranked as high. If they are relevant, you have an advantage over your competitors. Putting keywords in your domain name such as the city or state you do business can help you if people search for something related to your industry in that location. Finding a web domain with high volume keywords or locations can be hard to do but if you get creative and do your research it will pay off in the future.
The average cost of a new web domain is anywhere from $10 to $20 depending on which registrar you use. Some of the most popular registrars are GoDaddy, HostGator, and BlueHost. For less than 1$ or 2$ per month, a custom web domain is easily worth the investment. Some registrars will even offer domain names for $0.99, but make sure you understand that the price is likely to increase after the first year. Chances are the cheaper the initial price is the higher it will be in years to follow. Some registrars may also require you to pay for the first 2-3 years up front and may also have long term options that provide large discounts.
You can sell them
If you have a custom web domain you can actually sell it on the free market to the highest bidder. At the same time, if someone else has the domain name you wanted, you could possibly buy it from them. The ability to buy and sell domain names has created a market for people to invest in domain names they think may be valuable one day in hopes of selling it to a business or individual who wants or needs it. Some of the most expensive domain names ever sold went for tens of million of dollars. If your business doesn’t have a web domain, it might be a good idea to get the one you need now in case someone else buys it before you have a chance.
When viewers are surfing the internet, they make a lot of decisions based on credibility. If your web domain has a weird combination of characters or ends with something other than extensions such as .com or .org, your customers may not trust you. Most people are used to seeing the more common extensions and if you aren’t using one they may even think you are trying to scam them. Other customers may identify the fact that you are using a free domain instead of investing a few dollars per month in your business and think you are cheap. The last thing you want is for a customer to think you are cheap or unprofessional.
Custom email addresses
Some of the website builder platforms used by a lot of small businesses give you access to customized email address boxes. You can personalize the beginning of your email address and the end will be @yourdomain name. This can be great if you have employees or if you just want to put on a professional appearance. According to MailChimp, only 22% of emails are opened across all industries. People are moving emails to the spam file and blocking email addresses all the time. If someone hands me a business card with their business name on it and their email address ends in gmail or yahoo, I immediately start to wonder why they don’t have a business email setup.
So your competition doesn’t take yours
It is not uncommon for people to buy more than one domain name. After all, there are about 5 times as many web domains as there are people in the world. If you just recently started your business and you are trying to buy a good web domain related to your business name, you probably haven’t existed long enough to even have any competitors.If you’ve been in business for a while and you are just now deciding to join the internet community, you have given your competition years of opportunity to buy the domain names that people are most likely to associate with your business. They may even be using those domain names to redirect your potential customers to their website. If you do decide to buy a customized web domain, make sure you renew it when the time comes to prevent competitors from taking it.
Make your brand memorable
In a time where there is so much competition, ingraining yourself in the back of your customer’s mind can be a great way to turn them into a repeat customer. You want to set yourself apart from the competition and having a memorable domain name can do just that. I’m sure you can think of business slogans or catch phrases you heard or saw 10 years ago that were catchy and you still remember them to this day. If you can come up with a web domain that is catchy but still relevant, that is just one more advantage you have created for yourself.
You can buy more than one
You can actually buy more than one domain name for your website. If you started your business years ago but you are just now getting around to developing a website, there may be some issues with your business name that you want to account for. If your business name is long or it is common for people to misspell your name, you can buy another domain name to keep that customer from slipping through the cracks. For example, if your business name is mainstreetauto.com it is possible people might use the short version of street. You can compensate for that by buying the domain name mainstauto.com and redirect those customers to the appropriate site.
It shows you mean business
If you have your own web domain, you are sending the message that you realize there are potential customers online and you want to make yourself available to them. If you don’t have a domain name or website, you may be sending the message that you don’t need the customers who are searching for you.
In order to prove that you are the solution to your potential customer’s problem, you’ve got to have credibility. Internet viewers make decisions based on first impressions and who they think they can trust and a professional appearance can go a long way. You don’t want your customers to think you are cheap. If you can’t even pay $20 per year for a business web domain, why should they invest in you? Custom email addresses further improve your professionalism and make your brand memorable. Not having your own web domain would be a big mistake in 2020, establish your online presence by investing in one for your professional business.