There are so many ways to get your business online today that it can be easy to overlook one of the most basic, and most important things you can do to make your website work for your business: getting your own domain name.
When you can get facebook.com/yourbusiness, yourbusiness.sqaurespace.com, or yourbusiness.wordpress.com for free or for no extra charge, what makes getting www.yourbusiness.com worth it?
- Getting your own domain name protects your brand. If you don’t own yourbusiness.com, there’s nothing to stop anyone else in the world from buying it, and once they have it they can charge you whatever they want to buy it back. There are services to do this on your behalf, but they’re always more expensive than getting the domain name you want in the first place.
- Getting your own domain name lets you control your reputation. Without a domain name (or at the very least a website of your own), your only presence on the internet will be what other people say about you on places like Yelp, Google, and other review sites. If you’re OK with putting people you don’t know in charge of your online reputation that’s fine, but if you want to have some influence over what information about your business is on the internet, you need your own website under your own domain name.
- Getting your own domain name helps you build durable SEO performance. Let’s say you build your company website using the free WordPress.com service. You do a great job of optimizing the content and generating links back to your site and yourcompany.wordpress.com ends up on the first page of Google results for your keyword. Awesome, right? But then you decide your site needs features that WordPress.com doesn’t support, like a custom theme, advanced plugins, or more storage. So you register www.yourcompany.com and move to a different hosting provider. Well, there goes your front-page ranking, because all your content has moved from yourcompany.wordpress.com to yourcompany.com and Google has no idea it’s the same stuff. There are ways around this that involve setting up redirects to tell Google where you’ve moved to, but if you’d started with your own domain name in the first place none of that would be necessary.
- Getting your own domain name puts you in charge of your business’s online presence. Companies like Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, and all the rest offer great features and make managing your site easy, but they are businesses themselves and get to set their own rules about how their service gets used. There’s no guarantee that they won’t make a tweak to their terms of service that hurts your business, such as putting a limit to the number of items you can list on your online store, increasing payment processing fees, or adding intrusive visitor tracking. If you aren’t using your own domain name that you can take elsewhere, you’ve lost all your SEO mojo and your customers will have to find you at your new address.
Free Tip Sheet: Choosing the Right Domain Name
Your domain name should just be your company name plus a dot-com, right? Well, sometimes. By now, it is extremely likely that yourbusinessname.com has already been purchased by someone else. But don’t worry, if you find that it is and the owner won’t sell for a reasonable price, you’re far from out of options. I’ve put together this tip sheet to help.
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Hopefully I’ve convinced you that getting your own domain name is something every business needs to do. Fortunately it’s easy—you can probably do it in less time than it took for you to read this far.
Getting Your Domain Name
You can always go straight to a Domain Name Registrar and get your domain name there. They usually charge an annual fee that works out to $1 or $2 a month. But it can be even easier: WordPress.com, Squarespace, Weebly, Wix, and all the rest will let you set up a website up under your own domain with the cost included into your monthly hosting fee. If you already have a domain name they’ll tell you how to make sure that it points to your new site. If you’re using a more traditional hosting company like GoDaddy or Bluehost, they offer the same services.
Note that Facebook, LinkedIn, and Etsy don’t allow you to customize the domain name of their business pages. You can still register your domain and have it redirect to your page, but all your pages will still live on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Etsy and your domain name won’t get any SEO points.
You’ve Got a Domain Name—Now What?
Once you’ve got your domain name, it’s time to figure out where to host your website, what content and features it should have, and who is going to build it. Ready to start? dbdc is here to help you get your business online, or if you already are, make sure your website is doing everything it should to keep your business growing. Contact dbdc for a private consultation today.