How to Get a [Great] Domain Name

 
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Want to know what WON’T be a hot topic at your next dinner party?

Domain names.

It’s easy to forget about the importance of your website’s domain name, particularly if it’s one you’ve had for a long time.

But in 2019, you could easily print your studio business card with just your domain name - forget your phone number and address - to connect with potential studio families.

If a local parent is chatting with another local parent about their child’s fantastic violin teacher, they won’t have to say more than “Westmont Violin Studio.” Their friend can easily remember that, and will Google the studio name - or simply type in “www.westmontviolinstudio.com.

And, just like that, the potential studio parent is able to view and learn about your studio.

Here’s what you need to know about how to choose a fantastic domain name - and where to buy one.


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Remind Me: What’s a Domain Name?

Your domain name is the address where people find your website. For example, our domain name is “studiorocketwebdesign.com.”

This is slightly different from your URL, which includes the full address of your website (ours is https://www.studiorocketwebdesign.com).


How to Know When it’s Time for a New Domain Name:

1. It’s too long

Common wisdom says that a domain name should be fewer than 20 letters. You want for your domain name to be easy to remember and easy to type.

“wonderfulviolinlessonsinyourhome.net” is far too long - and it’s easy to see that.

It’s not always that straightforward, though. If you’re considering both “charlottecopperpianostudio.com” and “copperpianostudio.com,” the shorter length will often be the better choice.

Here’s a caveat, and we’ll be the example: when launching Studio Rocket Web Design, we went with a domain name that is 21 letters long (studiorocketwebdesign.com) because our name was the perfect fit for our business - and having a domain name that matched made good sense.

Sometimes it just makes sense to keep a slightly longer domain name because it’s a great fit for your studio. Just keep in mind that, in general, you want for people to quickly remember (or guess) and type your domain name.


2. It’s difficult to remember

Your domain name should match your studio name as closely as possible.

Moving to a new domain is a great time to rebrand, if needed, and change your studio name to something that is memorable and easy for parents to refer their friends to.

And yes, your domain name is ideally the same as your studio name. Even though “flutelessonsinmanhattan.com” is a great domain name, people will be continually confused if your studio name is Manhattan Flute Studio.


3. It’s tied to your name - and you’re ready to expand

If your studio contains your name, but you’re ready to grow your studio and hire other teachers, this is a great time to rebrand. Choose a studio name and domain that are not tied to your personal name but instead represent where you eventually want to grow your studio.

In fact, one of the best things you can do for your business is to build your studio name (and website!) around where your studio is going rather than where it is now.  

4. Your domain is tied to your location - but your studio is moving

Including your location in your domain name is only going to help your SEO. But if you move - perhaps even to a new area of your city - your domain name will no longer accurate. The Manhattan Flute Studio can’t easily move to Brooklyn without making some big changes.

Your domain name,  studio name, and reputation can travel with you to a new location if you choose a name that will work no matter where you’re located.

And, if you know that you’re staying put, it’s worth considering working your location into your studio name and domain. It’s a great boost!

How to Purchase Your New Domain

Okay, so you’ve settled on the perfect studio and domain name. The next step is to see if the domain name is available for purchase.

You can find out if your chosen domain name is available quickly and easily.

If it’s not, consider a different extension (.com, .net, .me, or similar). But while you’re doing that, remember that you want to make sure it’s easy to remember.

Next, you’ll need to choose a domain registrar. This is where you will purchase your domain name and then connect it to your website.

There are many choices for a domain registrar, and people have strong opinions about which one is best.

Every time I’ve purchased a domain name, I’ve used GoDaddy. I’ve never spent more than $20 per year on a domain, and I’ve had a great experience with GoDaddy. It’s super easy to connect a GoDaddy domain to a Squarespace website.

However, there have been a growing number of complaints about GoDaddy’s customer service...so take that recommendation with a grain of salt.

People who use WordPress as their website platform speak highly of SiteGround, and both Domain.com and Namecheap also have solid reputations. My personal experience with connecting a SiteGround domain to a Squarespace website was not intuitive or particularly simple, but their customer service team was top notch and helped me sort things out quickly.

Once you’ve chosen your domain registrar, you’ll type in your new domain name, give them some information and create an account, and pay for the domain.

Bonus tip: if you’re building a website within Squarespace, you can also purchase your domain directly through them from a third party. Easy!

Connecting Your New Domain

The method you use to connect your new domain to your studio website will depend on where your website is located (WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, etc.).

If you have a WordPress website, you can read all about connecting your domain here.

If your studio website is on Wix, here are the steps for connecting your domain.

If your website is on Squarespace (have you heard about why I’m obsessed with Squarespace?), find the steps to connect your domain here.

When I’m connecting a domain to a Squarespace website, it’s usually a simple process.

Bonus tip: If you get a new domain name, don’t kill your old one! You can point more than one domain name to your website, and keeping your old one around for a while will ensure that anyone who uses your old domain name will land in the right place. It will also take some time for your new domain’s search results to improve.

You can always decide down the road to stop renewing your old domain name once the new one is established - and your new domain’s place in search results has risen.


Your Turn:

Is your domain name serving you well?

Is it time for a new one?

If you have questions about choosing the right domain name, comment below. I’ll get back with you!