Updated: Jun 15
So you're starting an eCommerce business, and you've chosen a brand name. Now you need a domain name and website. But where do you start?
This article will show you best practices on how to choose a domain name and connect it to a website host for your eCommerce business.
What is a Domain Name?
A domain name is essentially just the name of a website. The name you see in the toolbar up the top of your web browser that usually follows "www-dot."
Most professional businesses with an online presence will purchase a domain name for their business. The domain name is usually their business name or part of their business name.
Do I Need a Domain Name?
You don't need a domain name on most website hosting platforms just to create a website. Most platforms, like WIX or WordPress, will give you a generic free domain name that you can use to access your website, which is useful when you're in the design stages, i.e., before you go live to the public.
But if you continue using a generic domain once you go live, it can look unprofessional and turn potential customers off.
So, if you're setting up an eCommerce business, we highly recommend purchasing a professional domain name before you go live.
They're inexpensive—as low as just a few dollars a year—so there's no excuse not to get one.
Here are a couple of hosting platforms that we recommend:
BlueHost: These guys are leaders in website hosting and have been around for almost two decades, so you know they must be doing something right. Prices start at $2.95 a month and include a ton of extras with 24/7 support.
GreenGeeks: A personal favorite as they are one of the only hosting platforms that are committed to reducing their environmental impact. Prices are competitive, starting at $2.95, and also include a ton of extras, plus one tree is planted with every new customer.
Keep on reading to learn how to choose a domain name for your eCommerce business.
How Do I Choose a Domain Name?
One of the biggest mistakes I see when businesses choose long brand names. And I get it; you want it to be meaningful and explain what you do. But, here's the thing, having a long business name is not very user-friendly.
So then if you have a long business name, your domain name needs to be the same, right? Not so.
The thing to remember here is, that you don't need to use the full business name in your domain. And in fact, it's sometimes better to shorten or abbreviate it when choosing a domain name.
This is because you don't want your customers to have to type out the entire business name just to get to your website. As I just mentioned, this makes for a poor user experience, and it leaves room for typographical errors, which can take them to an incorrect website.
If your business name is long, for example, Sustainable Solutions at Home, an exact domain match would be www.sustainablesolutionsathome.com. That is far too long a domain name for your customers to type.
Some better alternatives would be:
Keep your domain name as simple as possible.
A little tip; purchase your domain name as soon as you decide on it to reduce the risk of someone else purchasing it.
What is a Website Host?
A website host is a place online where you build your website and it lives there for a fee. There are hundreds of options available, but you'll want to find one suitable for your eCommerce business.
Try one of these website hosts for your eCommerce business:
WIX: WIX used to have a bad rep. It used to perform poorly and had pretty negative reviews. But in recent years, they’ve made some significant improvements and are now a go-to for many professionals across many industries—including eCommerce businesses. Prices for WIX start at $27/month.
Shopify: This platform is designed for eCommerce brands. Using the platform can be a little overwhelming initially, but it takes all the guesswork out of starting an eCommerce business. I find it to be excellent for beginners. Prices start at $29/month.
Now it's time to connect your new domain name to your website host for your eCommerce business.
How Do I Connect my Domain to a Website Host?
Connecting your new domain name to your website host has become a lot easier than it used to be, and your providers will have instructions on their websites if you get stuck.
And while every host is slightly different, you basically want to go into your website provider settings and find where it says "connect existing domain."
At the same time, you'll need to open a new tab and log in to your domain host dashboard. Find your DNS records where you'll add the website host's settings.
Adding those records essentially "points" your domain name to the host so anyone who visits your website goes to the correct place.
Et voila! You've connected your domain to your website. Note that it’s usually instant but can take up to 72 hours to connect.
eCommerce Domains and Websites
When shopping for a domain name and website host for your eCommerce business, always think about your customer’s experience. They’re the most important thing when it comes to your success.
If you need help with your eCommerce business, get in touch. We’re here to help.