In the world of e-commerce, choosing the right domain name for your online store is an essential step. It constitutes your identity on the web, reflects your expertise and helps build your e-reputation. The decision to choose a domain name, which is partly responsible for the success or failure of your e-business, is not always an easy one.
Your domain name must serve your interests, but above all it must help you gain visibility on the web. Often perceived as a superfluous detail, it is an essential part of your strategy, since your brand image depends on it.
This article will help you understand what is really at stake when it comes to choosing a domain name, and give you a few simple tips to help you make the right decision. Objective: choose a relevant domain name that will generate conversations (and, by extension, sales)!
Do not confuse “domain name” with “web hosting”
1/How Do You Define a “Domain Name”?
Your domain name is simply the address of your website. For example, when a web surfer wants to visit a site or an online store, he or she will type “www.(name of your store).fr” in the search bar to access it.
Comparable to a postal address in real life, it enables computers (or other devices) to find your site on the servers, so that they can properly send and receive information. In other words, it is how your visitors and customers find your website on the web. As you can see, owning a domain name is essential to the creation of your e-business: without it, it is impossible to reach you!
An Internet address is made up of two elements:
- a prefix, e.g. “www” for world wide web;
- a domain name, mainly the name of your online store. It is made up of a string of characters and an extension (TLD – Top Level Domain). In France, most websites use the “.fr” extension.
2/What Is the Difference with “Web Hosting?”
Often confused with the notion of “web hosting”, these are in fact two different concepts, although they are obviously complementary. Choosing a web host (Comment choisir son hébergement web?) is simply the next step after choosing your domain name. Once you have chosen an attractive domain name, the next challenge facing any e-business is to generate traffic: you need a “web space” that can host your site, which is the main role of the server.
How to Choose Web Hosting?
A server is a device, connected to the Internet, for storing site files. So, when you pay for a web hosting service, you are storing your own site data: layout, content, images… Make sure you choose a hosting solution that enables users to access your website without difficulty, with optimum display speed. For example, PlanetHoster currently hosts the styl’bio online organic cosmetics site.
To secure your domain, you will also need to opt for a hosting provider that properly protects your data. For example, PlanetHoster respects and applies the General Data Protection Regulation. A European law that requires digital professionals to protect the personal information they handle: surname, first name, photo, IP address, e-mail address, bank details and telephone number.
Finally, as web host servers consume a lot of energy, it is best to choose a green web host. Aware of environmental issues and the pollution caused by data centers, PlanetHoster is committed to powering its Canadian infrastructures with renewable hydroelectric energy. They are also naturally cooled by the Canadian cold.
Tips for Choosing Your Domain Name
1/List All Your Ideas: Brainstorming
The first and decisive step in choosing your domain name is to think of all the possible ideas to help you make your decision. Putting your thoughts down on paper will help you visualize them better, judge their relevance and determine whether they are in line with your brand identity. After all, your domain name must reflect the essence of your online store, embody your values and convey your messages.
Surround yourself with reliable, competent and professional collaborators to form your team. If you are starting your online store on your own, you can also ask family and friends for advice. They are more than capable of suggesting relevant ideas!
Once you have listed all your ideas, you need to make a selection, keeping only the best ones. Eliminate the least interesting proposals, and do not hesitate to prioritize the others.
2/Improve Your Natural Referencing
Keep in mind that the main role of your domain name is to make your business known on the Net. The extension of the URL makes it easier to find. You need to know your visitors to determine the most appropriate extension. If your audience is local or national, we recommend using the extension “.fr” (for France) or the country in which you operate. The “.com” extension is preferable if you want to expand your business. It makes it easier to internationalize your site.
Watch out for keywords! This is a big question on the minds of many e-merchants: should keywords be included in a domain name? The best option is to opt for a branding strategy. Of course, having a domain name containing certain keywords can potentially work in your favor for SEO, but:
- The benefits are limited to a certain number of queries. Indeed, search behaviors and intentions vary enormously from one user to another.
- A keyword is not your brand name. It does not represent the very core of your business. How can you promote it if its name is not present in the URL? It is best to position yourself on keywords when setting up Google Ads campaigns, or on Facebook for example. In this situation, this choice makes perfect sense. A Facebook Ads agency will be able to put its expertise to work for you, boosting your results tenfold!
- Search engine algorithms, and especially Google’s, penalize low-quality EMDs (EMD = Exact Match Domain, i.e. a domain name composed solely of keywords). Google penalizes sites with little or no quality content, especially those featuring advertising.
3/Choose a Precise and Concise Domain Name
Your domain name must be “user-friendly”: Internet users should not have any trouble entering the address in the search bar.
A visitor is more likely to remember a short, easy-to-pronounce name! Avoid hyphens and special characters as much as possible… We do not recommend using them, as they are likely to increase the number of errors when writing your address.
Pay particular attention to spelling to avoid registering a misspelled domain name. Your credibility could be called into question, as spelling mistakes are perceived by Internet users as a latent lack of professionalism.
One of the most important things to remember is not to choose a domain name that is (too) similar to a registered trademark.
If your domain name is identical to another, you are opening yourself up to legal problems. Your relations with other companies could also be damaged. So be sure to check its availability in the following places before starting the registration process:
5/Attribution of the Domain
“Where can I buy a domain for my online store?” is one of the most recurrent problems encountered by e-commerce professionals.
As mentioned above, choosing the most appropriate extension is essential, as it is a factor taken into account by Google for your SEO positioning.
Legislation on domain allocation varies from country to country. In France, Afnic is responsible for allocating URL addresses with “.fr” extensions. Owners must first register their site with a “registrar”. However, this organization only issues URLs to companies registered with INSEE (the French National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies) and to self-employed entrepreneurs.
There are also a number of players on the market offering to buy a domain name, including PlanetHoster.
If the domain name is already taken, it is important to find an alternative. Otherwise, you will be unable to acquire it!
6/ Take Advantage of Our Offers
Right now, PlanetHoster, in partnership with AFNIC, is offering for every PlanetHoster WEB hosting subscription:
- a .FR domain for 1 euro using the code reussirenfr; or
- an .ALSACE domain for 10 euros using the code reussirenalsace.
Please note, there will not be enough for everyone. The offer is non-cumulative, limited in time and subject to stock availability.
Choosing a domain name for your online store is not a decision to be taken lightly: it requires time and thought. After all, it is how your company will stand out on the Internet. There is no need to rush. In short, the best domain name for your store is the one that best embodies your brand identity while complying with current legislation. Surround yourself with reliable, competent people to crown your choice with success.