When it comes to building a successful web destination, it’s easy to get wrapped up in site design and content. While both of these factors play an important role in a site’s overall appeal, it’s the domain name itself that should be your primary focus. Shakespeare famously opined, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” but for branding purposes, your name is everything. Before you invest in the wrong product for your business, use the following tips to find and buy the perfect domain name.

Name Your Brand and Domain Simultaneously

Startups certainly have the upper hand here, but it’s important to include domain research when working on creating your brand. Spend some time getting familiar with your competitors and invest your creative energy in finding names with strong ties to your vision or product. If a name you like doesn’t have an available domain, consider alternatives that do.

If you’re an established company, you might not be willing to rebrand entirely for domain purposes. If your first choice domain is currently registered to someone else, consider contacting them using their WHOIS data details. You might also want to put yourself on a waiting list for the URL in question, which many registrars offer.

Create a Link to Your Business

It’s not rocket science folks! Pick a domain that you’ll never need to explain to your customers. Some web publishers focus too heavily on choosing a domain that uses industry keywords, rather than one that reflects an organization’s branding. While domain keywords can have an impact on page ranking, the benefits of branding your domain and business with the same name outweigh the advantages of snappy keywords.

Keep It Simple

Think of the domains you remember off the top of your head. Most of them are likely short, single-word URLs, correct? Long domains are hard for visitors to remember and not mobile-friendly. Don’t use hyphens or numbers, but try to stick with simple domains that have no potential variations. Make it easy for your visitors to remember you and your brand.

Stick with .com

Some businesses try to get around limited domain availability by eschewing the .com extension for alternatives like .net or .org. In most cases, however, it’s advisable to stick with the tried and true .com. This extension remains the most popular by far, and your visitors will have an easier time remembering your domain if you use it. Exceptions to this rule may include nonprofit organizations or companies located in another country, but most local businesses should make .com their priority.

Register for Multiple Years

Once you’ve finally settled on a domain name that meets the necessary criteria, be sure to register it for at least five years. Registering your domain for a longer period of time can help build credibility for your brand, and in some instances, a longer registration period positively impacts page rank. Longer registration periods are also cheaper in many cases.