Choosing your URL

Once you’ve chosen your business name, you’ll need to choose a URL (web site address) for your business. It’s really nice if they match – I factored in available web site addresses into my choice if business name. But they don’t have to match. And sometimes it’s helpful to choose something else that might be helpful to your SEO by highlighting your location.

Some things to consider:

The Domain Suffix While .com is the most common for businesses, it’s getting really hard to get a good .com suffix. You could choose from any number of other suffixes like .net .biz or .info – but make sure that what you choose matches what you do, and that you’re very clear in all your marketing about the domain suffix.

Using a hyphen If the name you really want, say fakedoulabusiness.com is taken, you could see if fake-doula-business.com is available. This has the advantage of giving you the name you want – sort of – but the hassle of constantly reminding people you come in contact with about the hyphens. Choose carefully.

Including your locality or specialty When I set up my doula business, this wasn’t really a factor. Now it is something that is factored into the search engine rankings. So you may want to include your locality and/or the name of what you do. Say your business name is “Heart and Hands” – you might choose “heartandhandsdoula.com” or “heartandhandsofmiami.com” as your URL.

Getting multiple URLs for your business Once including locations in your URL became important, I decided to buy some extra domain names and forward them. For example, if you visit www.parkcitybirthphotographer.com it forwards to my main birth photography site, which is my business name. Generally this works better if you actually build the site with one of the location specific URLs as the original, but I did that backwards because of how my business has evolved. Changing that is on my list of things I can do if business slows and I have time to make the change.

Keep it current Domain names MUST be renewed every year, and if you let that slide, you can lose your domain name, or end up paying huge premiums to get it back. I strongly recommend using an auto-renew and never ignoring renewal notices.

Own it yourself Some hosting companies will give you “free” domain names. But really, they buy the domain name, register it in their name, and just let you use it. This means that you can’t ever take your web site anywhere else, even if you are unhappy with the service. That “free” domain name ties you to them as a customer forever. Not worth it.