You’re ready to create your restaurant website, and it’s time to choose a domain name. Does it really matter what you pick?
Yes, it does!
Your domain address (this is your website address) is something you’ll have to live with for a long time, so you want to choose wisely.
Your website traffic, branding and restaurant website search engine optimization all depend on your domain name.
In this article, we look at domain name selection and how choosing the right name makes all the difference.
Before we get into how to choose the right domain, lets first define it.
Your domain name is what an Internet user enters in the browser address bar to reach your website.
You can purchase your domains from a domain registrar. When buying yours, you want to purchase it from a great provider who offers support. This is important in case you ever have problems with your domain and need help sorting it out.
You register domains on a yearly basis. If it expires, you’re in trouble. (tweet this)
Your domain name is likely the first thing people see when accessing your website, so consider your domain name the front line for your brand awareness.
We know that first impressions count, so here’s your chance to do it right.
You don’t want to confuse your restaurant customers. You want your domain to be as succinct as possible and not to stray from the name of your restaurant. If they’re looking for Bella’s Italian, your website should be aptly named, www.bellasitalian.com.
Choose a domain that lets your customers know exactly what they’re getting.
Because your domain is important, you also want to stay away from hyphenated words and numbers. Those certainly aren’t in the name of your restaurant, so they hold no place in your domain name.
You also want to steer away from domain names that are strung together with keywords. Those aren’t going to be something people remember.
There is a fine line between domains that are too generic and domains that are too refined.
Remember that your brand is important, and your domain is the foundation of your brand. For example, your street address is the foundation upon which your home is built. This is true of your website as well. The domain address is the foundation upon which your website is built.
From social media to email marketing and search engines, your domain name is the way website users identify your restaurant.
It’s worth noting that Google likes brands much more than they like domain names stuffed with keywords. Google wants to see domain names that include your most important keyword, and that is the name of your restaurant.
When contemplating your domain name, you want to pick the shortest name possible, but you don’t want to abbreviate it so much that people won’t remember it.
Short domains are easier to remember, easier to say and most importantly, easy to type. (tweet this)
Aim for one or two words for the best results. Of the top 100,000 websites on the Internet today, on average, they each have nine characters in their domain names.
You’re sure to find many options for domain extensions, but as a restaurant, you want to stick with .com endings.
Why? Simply because .com endings are what people know, recognize and remember. Again, you want to make finding your restaurant online as easy as possible. Don’t put any stumbling blocks between your customer and your website.
If you can, always shoot for the default .com ending. But, if that isn’t available, there is one other extension you might choose, and that is .net.
It can be option if and only if the .com isn’t available.
When choosing your domain, make sure it’s memorable. You want your customers to be able to find you quickly.
In addition, make sure your restaurant diners can pronounce your domain name. If they can’t say it, you can bet they can’t spell it. And, spelling your domain is incredibly important.
Your diners will be more apt to remember your domain name (and your restaurant) if they can easily say and remember your it.
Before you register your new domain name, check the Who Is database. You don’t want to infringe on another business’ rights.
In an instance where you might choose a .net extension because the .com extension is taken, you’d do well to do your homework.
You might even consult an attorney to see if they think it leaves you open to legal action. Alternatively, you could contact the business owner and ask for something in writing that says they are okay with it.
The other problem with domain names that are too similar comes with the confusion it could cause.
If you’re just starting your restaurant, you might consider the domain name when you are choosing the name of your restaurant.
You also want to check and make sure your chosen name isn’t bound by a copyright. You don’t want to get into a messy legal battle.
When registering your chosen name, you want to be sure to register the domain in your name. Don’t let your staff members or web company register it in their name.
Why? Think of your domain address as you would the address of your own home. You want to be listed as the domain owner and administrative contact.
Additionally, if you aren’t listed as the owner, it technically doesn’t belong to you, and you can’t sell it should you ever need to.
Now that you know that choosing the right name makes all the difference when choosing the address of your website, we’ll leave you with one final reminder.
Many a restaurant owner has forgotten to renew his domain name only to find it bought by someone else. Without ownership of your domain, you not only lose your website, but you most likely lose access to your restaurant’s email as well.
Consider registering your domain for multiple years. Or, it also pays to set up an annual auto-renew on your account. You’ll also want to keep your credit card on file current, so the card listed isn’t an expired one when it comes time to renew.
This way you don’t risk ever losing your domain. If you do, buying it back can cost your restaurant thousands.
Lastly, by following the tips listed here when it comes to your domain name selection, you’ll maximize search engine referred traffic and keep your website top of mind with your customers.
Do you have a great website with a superb domain name? Is it user-friendly and enticing to your website visitors? If not, or you’d like a website tune-up and refresh, contact us for your free website consultation. We’ll make sure your website works for your site visitors and is the centerpiece of your marketing.