In the digital world of today, no good business owner will argue about the need for a website for their business. However, creating an effective one is a nuanced skill and the process requires considerable trial-and-error experimentation. Arguably the most important part of your page is your web address (also called your domain name or URL). Here are some pointers for crafting the right one for your business.
1. How are people most likely to find you?
Customers find businesses in one of two ways: they look for the name because the business well known and reputable, or they look for the service that the business offers. Therefore, you must assess which category your company falls into and exploit this in your domain name – either take www.alphacleaning.co.za or www.industrialcleaning.co.za.
2. Keep it short
The shorter and more obvious your domain name, the easier your customers will be able to find you. For example, the Mail&Guardian uses the slick www.mg.co.za address. If there is a good way to abbreviate your name, use it – rather be www.seotips.com than www.searchengineoptimisationtips.com.
3. Try to use keywords
To optimise your website so that it is easier to find in a web search, you should incorporate keywords – words that describe your product – into your page. You will benefit even more if you use those keywords in your web address. For example, if you are a web design company, consider the web address www.alphawebdesign.co.za.
4. What domain should you register under?
Should you web address end with .com, .co.za, . org, .biz or even something else? This all depends on the nature of your business. If you specialise in local South African services or goods, it is beneficial (and often cheaper) to register a .co.za web address. If you want to portray a more worldly image, use .com – though this may put local visitors off because they could perceive you as a foreign company. Non-profit groups or other non-commercial entities can use .org, while some institutions, like government offices and universities, have to register under specified domains (.gov.za and .ac.za respectively).
The University of Cape Town (Law@Work) Start and Manage a Small Business course starts on 4 April 2011. For more information contact Abby on 021 685 4775 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.getsmarter.co.za