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Choosing a domain name is not a small task. A carefully picked domain name can be a great asset for your business. When deciding to get a new website for your business, one of the most important steps is choosing a domain name. Choosing the perfect domain name isn’t easy though. There are many factors to take into account, and once you settle on a domain, it’s very difficult to change it.

Here are 8 tips to help you pick the perfect domain name:

1. Choose a domain that reflects your website’s purpose, not your business name.

The majority of domains registered in Zimbabwe are for company/ brand names. This is not mandatory. One business can own several websites. So it’s very much possible and encouraged to choose a domain name that targets the product or service that you want to advertise. For example, if you run a lawn maintenance business, choose lawncare.co.zw instead of JJ & Sons Investments, because search engines and potential customers alike will give more credence to a domain name that says your business is relevant to what they’re looking for. That said, domains are pretty affordable, so it’s a good idea to secure your business name too for future use.

2. Keep your domain name short.

A short domain name is memorable and less at risk of being mistyped or misspelled. Keep it short and simple. If the name is easy to remember it’s also easy for your customers to share it with their friends and contacts.

3. Avoid hyphens and numbers whenever possible.

There have been misunderstandings about whether to use hyphens in a domain name. The reason that some people say that you should have a domain name with hyphens is to force the search engines to see keywords in your domain name so that your web site does better in search engine results. The bigger search engines can now see individual words without hyphens, however, smaller search engines may not and even the bigger ones may see a word differently than you want. Numbers also cause confusion because when someone recommends your website as ‘flowers for you.com’ but your actual domain name is flowers4u.com the probability of you not being found is high.

4. Include keywords in the name.

When people search online they use a word or combination of words. These words are called keywords. Keywords can be the products or services they want (and you offer). If your domain name includes the service or product you are selling you increase your chances of being found in search results for that keyword. This means more traffic to your website and potentially more customers for your business.

5. Target your geographical area in your domain name.

If your business is location specific then it’s a good idea to target that area in your domain name. Let’s say you a located in Harare and you offer plumbing services. You can choose a domain name like harareplumber.co.zw.

6. Decide on a domain name extension (TLD).

Domain names are available with various extensions, such as .com, .net, .org and many other new domain extensions. If it’s really important to you, you can register domain names in several extensions, however, for most firms only the .com extension is important. For local companies it’s also recommended to also register the local ccTLD e.g. .co.zw  domain for Zimbabwean companies.

The .com extension is the most popular domain extension of all time. If the .com version of your name is available make sure you register it even though you plan on using the local domain. You can simply re-direct the .com domain to the local domain.

7. Avoid complicated names.

When you have decided on a domain name make sure you double or triple check to see if there are no hidden words or meanings in the name. You don’t want to end up with a name like penisland.net

8. Avoid branded or trademarked names in your domain name

When choosing a domain name, make sure to never include a trademarked name, such as iPhonesForSale.com. Trademarks and copyrights are a legal traphole, you only waste both your time and a lot of money in legal expenses if you go down this route.

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