A domain name adds credibility to your small business. Having your own domain name makes your company look professional. If you publish your site through an ISP or a free Web hosting site, you’ll end up with a URL such as www.wix.com/yourbusiness. This generic address does not inspire confidence in a customer like a www.yourcompany.com domain name does – you’ll want to do what you can to prove that your small business deserves their money. If you’re not willing to pay the money to register an appropriate domain name, why would consumers think you’d put any effort into creating valuable products or services?
Your own domain gives you the ability to set up branded email addresses. An email address that matches your business name is about as important as it gets when it comes to connecting with your customers – not even a gmail address comes close. You want to be able to present as professional an image as possible, and something to the effect of firstname.lastname@example.org carries weight. Another important aspect of being in control of your own email address is the ability to create custom email addresses for your employees and departments.
A good domain says you’re forward-thinking. Having your own domain name indicates you’re part of the Digital Revolution, and it implies that you’re up-to-date on emerging technologies. Whether this is true or not, having your own domain might just put you ahead of your competitors.
The right domain can attract walk-in business. If you decide to register a domain name that matches the concept of your business (instead of your exact business name), you might draw Web surfers in search of that topic. For instance, a hardware store that registered Hammers.com might get visitors looking for hammers on the Internet. Also, although search engine results are hard to predict, Hammers.com could show up more frequently in search results when someone searches for information about hammers.
A good domain builds your brand. More than anything else, a domain name can increase awareness of your brand. If your domain name matches your company name, it reinforces your brand, making it easier for customers to remember and return. It will also be easier to win business via word of mouth because customers will remember your name and pass it along to friends.
The bottom line is that a good web address can go a long way toward generating traffic to your Web site and building your reputation. That, in turn, will result in more customers and better sales.