Alright, so you decided to open your own ecommerce store. Shopify provides you with a free “yourstore.myshopify.com” domain, but you also have the option to buy and use your own domain name like “yourstore.com”. Having your own domain name is more professional and makes it easier to promote your brand.
With so many websites out there, you often need to be creative to find a domain name that isn’t already taken. Smashing Magazine wrote a great article to do just that and we have highlighted some key points.
The Importance of Domain Name
There are several key benefits to registering your own domain name.
Permanent Address Online
Domain names provide a permanent location for people to find your business online. No matter how your business changes over the years, your domain name can be consistent. Whether your change where host your website, redesign your brand, or pivot your business model, your domain name can stay the same.
Without a branded domain name, it will be harder for your business to stand out. It will always take a backseat to the brand your are sharing your domain with, eg. mybrand.myshopify.com. It will difficult for web browsers ot remember your URL possible even your brand.
Trust and Credibility
Spending a little bit of money register your own domain is a sign that your business is legitimate. Not only will this increase trust and conversions with your customers, but it will make other businesses more comfortable collaborating with you and media more comfortable writing about you.
5 Rules for a Memorable Domain Name
1. The essentials: Be short, catchy and memorable! You should also make your name easy to pronounce and spell.
2. The unspoken rules: When buying a domain name, avoid something too similar to competing domain names and make sure not to violate someone else’s trademark.
3. ”.COM” – The ”.com” is the most popular top-level domain and it can be hard to find one that is available. In most cases, you should favor a ”.com” however if you are planning to sell in a specific country only you should consider a country specific domain such as “co.uk” for the United Kingdom.
4. Brandable: Having a strong brand is important. Even if you're only selling one product right now, you might add other products in the future. Choose a domain name that you can grow into, even as your website or business changes .
5. Be creative: Most single-word domains are taken and you might need to create your own word. Try compounding two whole words (YouTube), using a phrase (Six Apart), blending parts of two words together (Microsoft), tweaking a word (Flickr), affixing a word with a prefix or a suffix (Shopify), or making up a completely unique name (Odeo).
Tools to Help you Brainstorm Names
- Business Name Generator - Free tool from Shopify to generate business name ideas.
- GoSpaces - Free tool that helps you generate a business name. Quick and easy!
- NameStation – Generates a list of available domains based on a submitted word.
- Domaintyper – Checks domain name availability instantly.
- Domain Pigeon – See what others are looking to register as a source of inspiration.
- Domainr – Type a work and it will find “domain hacks”.
Most likely you will not get your first pick; don’t let that discourage you. You will find a great domain name to represent your store.
Check out this blog post for a comprehensive list of business name generator tools to help you find your perfect brand name.
How to Buy a Domain Name
After you chosen a domain name, there are a few simple steps you can take to buy and register it.
Step 1: Choose a Domain Registrar
There are plenty of registrars that will register your domain name for your. Ask friends or colleagues for recommendations and always choose a company that has been in business for a while.
Step 2: Whois
When you register a domain name, you have to fill out some details like your name, phone number, and address. This information becomes publicly available by default but you can also pay to hide it. Some registrars will let you hide this information for free, however, doing so will decrease how trustworthy your website looks for both search engines and website visitors.
If you're concerned about privacy, consider using a business name and contact info rather than your personal information.
Step 3: Hosting
Once you've registered a domain name, you have reserve your URL but you still have a website. That will need to be built and hosted separately.
How to Register a Domain Name With Shopify
If you're setting a Shopify store, you can register a domain name and create your store at the same time.
If you already have a Shopify store, log in and navigate to Online Store → Domains.
Next, click Buy Domain and follow the prompts on the screen.
If you already have a domain name, follow the steps outlined here to learn how get it working with your Shopify store.
Once you have your domain name setup you need to start making sales! Read our free guide on how to make your first ecommerce sale.