Major companies, like Apple and Google, along with smaller, successful companies, all have one thing in common - a custom domain name for their website. There are a whole slew of reasons for choosing a custom domain, which we’ll get to shortly, but know this - a great custom domain does not only succeed at bringing visitors to a website but will keep them coming back.
At Kajabi, we found that across all of our knowledge entrepreneurs who made a profit in their first 30 days, those who used a custom domain name grossed roughly $1,600 more in revenue than those who chose a generic domain; illustrating the very tangible impact a domain can have on a business. Thankfully, you have a say in the matter of your domain name. In this article, discover the true value of a custom domain name, what exactly a domain and its subtypes are, and how to create a successful domain.
What is a Domain Name?
Domain names, otherwise known as your website’s name, provide a human-readable address for Internet web servers. This means that without domain names, we would be stuck remembering long, unhelpful IP addresses.
Imagine if you had to type in 188.8.131.52 rather than Apple.com every time you wanted to check out Apple’s latest iPhone. It would be difficult, to say the least. Domain names offer a simpler alternative for easily identifying and remembering websites.
Custom, Generic & Sub-Domains: Explained
A custom domain is a branded domain name that’s unique to an organization, company, or campaign. On the other hand, generic domain names, like hikingstore.com, are not easily associated with a specific organization. While it might be obvious what a generic domain might offer (hikingstore.com most likely sells outdoor equipment), it does not ensure visitors know anything about the website’s owner or brand. Another version of a generic domain is one that is accrued through a web hosting site and includes the host company’s name. Such domains are technically subdomains of the host company’s custom domain. They generally look something like https://stefpinsley.mykajabi.com/roadmap-to-rise - with Kajabi being the host and Roadmap to Rise being the business using the host site.
The Benefits of a Custom Domain
For online, knowledge entrepreneurs and smaller companies alike, it can be tempting to create a website using a web hosting service, especially during the startup phase. Although generic domain names are free and great for a limited budget, they struggle to inspire confidence in a brand and bring potential users to a website, which could extend your budding business’s startup period much longer than you like. Take a look at the four main benefits of using a custom domain from the start:
- Credibility: With so many untrustworthy websites on the Internet, many people are justifiably wary of clicking suspicious-looking domains. Using a custom domain that is clearly connected to a business makes a website look legitimate and trustworthy.
- Branding: Establishing a brand for your company is essential to successful marketing. By purchasing a custom domain that matches or resembles your company name, you are promoting consistent brand identity.
- Website Professionalism: First impressions are everything. A registered custom domain name immediately establishes a website as a formal, professional business.
- Search Authority & Discoverability: In addition to the top three benefits, custom domain names are easily recognizable by both people and search engines. Because custom domain names are more relevant to what a user is searching for, they are known to rank higher on a search result page than generic domains, thus, generating more traffic to your website.
As you can see, it’s important to use a custom domain from the beginning. If you opt to use a generic domain name first and, later on, upgrade to a custom domain, the domain authority and brand identity built with the generic domain could be potentially lost. Easily avoid such a loss with a 301 - a signal that permanently redirects one domain to another, meaning all users that request an old domain will be automatically sent to a new one. Set up your own 301 direct with these easy-to-follow directions.
Naming Your Domain
When naming your domain, you generally want the domain to match your legal business name, or at least, for the two to complement each other. Though, your business name should not necessarily be the only guiding light used in the creation of your website name. Follow these three guidelines to create a great domain:
- Short - Long domain names are hard to remember and type. Aim for a domain between six to 14 characters. If you have a long business name, try using just the first word of your business name as your domain.
- Unique - Does the domain name speak to your brand? Remember that custom domains help to establish your company’s brand identity!
- Easily spelled and pronounced - If people struggle to spell or mentally trip up over your domain name, it will not be memorable nor generate as much traffic to your site.
In this modern-day, incorporating good SEO practices on both desktop and mobile websites is crucial to online business success, so it’s a no-brainer to use them in your name decision-making as well. For starters, utilize free tools such as Google Trends to determine the search volume for your potential domain names. Using a name with a relatively high search volume could equate to more traffic coming to your page, and ultimately, more conversions. This tip is also helpful when naming your business.
Lastly, if you happen to not be the creative type, you can always use a domain name generator to get the ball rolling.
How to Create a Custom Domain
Once you’ve created a name or list of names, your next step is to see if any are available for use. This is easily done on websites such as Godaddy.com or Name.com. Keep in mind that if the name you desire isn’t available, there are several ways to remedy this. You can play around with website extensions (like ‘.com’ or ‘.net’), change the name slightly (try making it plural) or attempt to purchase the domain name from the owner.
As you may already know, custom domains are not free but are generally not exorbitantly expensive either. GoDaddy.com reports that domain names can cost anywhere between $2 to $20 annually, with the most expensive names being those that are available in auction houses. With a handful of domain registrars to choose from (Google Domains, Wix, GoDaddy, and Name.com are just a few), do your research, compare prices, and when you’re ready, purchase your custom domain.
For those knowledge entrepreneurs who are taking their brand to the next level with Kajabi, you should know that you can easily integrate your new custom domain with your Kajabi account. It only requires a few, easy steps. Find step-by-step guidance here.
Custom domain names provide valuable benefits ranging from credibility and brand identity to strong search authority and discoverability. Essentially, a great custom domain will ensure your audience views you as a legitimate, trustable business. To further grow your online business and brand identity, Kajabi offers an all-in-one business platform that enables successful brand nurturing and better monetization. Get started today!
Custom Domain FAQ
Can my domain name be different from my legal business name? While it is not a recommended practice, domain names can be different from your legal business name. But you should at least attempt to create a domain name that complements your business name so that your brand identity isn’t lost.
What is domain name squatting? Domain name squatting is the practice of registering, trafficking in, or using a website domain name with the intention to profit from the goodwill of a trademark that belongs to someone else.
Are there legal repercussions for having a similar domain name as someone else? Simply, yes. You can be sued for having a similar domain name. The issue lies in whether your use of the domain name violates the trademark rights of your competitor.
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