Why Every Small Business Needs a Domain Name

By Sivan Kaspi, Updated on June 10, 2024, 7 min read
Buy A Domain Name

Starting a small business? Then you need a custom domain name


Having an online presence is critical, and the most powerful option out there is actually one of the cheapest: to buy a domain name for your business.


A strong domain name is fundamental to building a strong online brand, and even if you’re not planning on having your website, buying a domain name allows you to:

  • Use a professional business email addresses

  • Avoid other malicious actors impersonating you

  • Give yourself the option of getting a website in the future

  • Redirect potential clients to your free social channels

If you think it’s complicated to buy a domain name, think again! It’s actually a straightforward process, and we’re going to walk you through it right now.



What Is a Domain Name?

A domain name is the address of your website; it’s what users type into their web browser to view your site. For example, you’re reading this on spikenow.com – that’s our domain! It’s the internet equivalent of your house address or your cell phone number in that people can use it to find you and get in touch.


Getting a little techier, a domain name is a human-readable stand-in for a server’s IP (Internet Protocol) address, which is a unique numerical code given to all devices connected to the web, including the servers that host all your favorite websites. An IP address will look something like this:


That’s no fun to type into a browser.


So instead, domain names are attached to IP addresses via the Domain Name System – a giant unified database. This offers a far more user-friendly way for people to navigate the internet.


It’s important to note that a domain name is not the same as a website. A domain just directs traffic to whichever IP address is listed in the database, which is often a website.


Components of a Domain Name

Domain names are broken up into parts:

  • Top Level Domain (TPD)

    This is the part of the URL that follows the final dot, e.g. https://www.spikenow. ‘com‘.

  • Second Level Domain (SLD)

    This is the part you can choose. It’s typically the name of your small business (www.spikenow.com).

  • Subdomain

    The subdomain sits beneath the root domain, and precedes the SLD in the URL. For example, the root domain is google.com, but Gmail sits under a subdomain – mail.google.com


Types of Top-Level-Domains

When Top-Level domain names were first introduced back in 1984, there were only seven: gov, edu, com, mil, org, and net. Now, however, there are hundreds to choose from depending on your location, business and needs. These are what’s called Generic Top-Level Domains (gTLD), and include addresses like .biz or .art, for businesses and creatives, respectively.


However, many small businesses will still use .com or a Country-Code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD), which are two-letter domains created for countries or territories, such as  .co.uk for UK based domains, .de for Germany, and .fr for France.


What’s more, sometimes domains aren’t used for their intended purposes. For example, .io is the country code for the British Indian Ocean Territory but is far more frequently used by startups, tech firms, and browser games.



Why You Need a Custom Domain Name

Owning a domain name can have many benefits for your small business at very little cost. Here are several reasons why owning a custom domain name is critical for small businesses:

  • Professionalism

    A custom domain adds professionalism and credibility to your brand, differentiating you from companies that are stuck in the old ways of doing business.

  • Visibility

    A unique domains gives online visibility to your small business, which can attract potential customers and reassure leads about the integrity of your operation.

  • Finability

    Having a domain makes it easy for real-world customers to find you. A good domain should reflect your business name, so typing it into a search engine gets people to the right place.

  • Expansion

    It also provides the option of expanding your small business online, optimizing how search engines (like Google) find you to increase customer visits.

  • Email ID

    Having a domain enables a custom Email Id – these are the professional email accounts that use your domain.

Get a professional email domain for your business


How to Buy a Domain Name

Buying a domain name for your small business is easy using a few simple steps. First, think about what your domain name should be. Normally, it will be the name of your small business. That said, there are some best practices when selecting a domain, including:


Step 1: Choose a domain name

  • Keep it short and simple. The domain should match the name of your brand

  • Avoid using hyphens, numbers and homophones

  • Don’t use capital letters, the SLD should always be lowercase

  • The domain name should match the name of your brand. If the exact match is taken then make it as close as possible

From there, check if the domain is available to buy. If your business name is unique, you should be able to buy a domain name of your choice. However, more common names may prove challenging. If it’s not available, it’s probably best to go back to step one.


Step 2: Choose a domain registrar 

Next, you need to choose a domain registrar. These are companies that manage internet domain names. There are plenty out there, such as NameCheap, GoDaddy, Google Domains, DreamHost and more. The biggest difference between these registrars will be price and user experience, so shop around to see which one gives the best rate.


Most domain registrars will offer introductory discounts, so read the fine print. Also look at the length of the contract; while some hosts offer discounts for multi-year signups, it makes it harder to switch if you don’t like their user interface or customer service.


It’s also worth checking what extras the domain hosts offer, since some will throw in website builders, cheap website hosting or even free business email with certain packages.


The exact process of buying a domain will differ for each registrar, but it will generally follow a few steps:

  1. Enter the domain name you want to buy

  2. Select the Top-level Domain (or domains) you wish to use (.com, .biz, etc)

  3. Select the length of contract

  4. Add everything to your cart

  5. Enter your information (this is the public contact info for your domain in the WHOIS database)

  6. Add any extras or privacy packages

  7. Checkout as you would with any online store

Regardless of the length of contract, domain hosts should offer the option to auto-renew. This is really important as forgetting to renew means other people or companies can register the domain! Think you’ll always remember? Even Google forgot once



Creating A Strong Online Brand

Buying a domain name is an important part of building a strong online brand. It is often the most identifiable part of your online presence, reflecting who you are and what you do in a handful of letters. Once you are familiar with how to buy a domain name, you might even find yourself purchasing several to broaden your online footprint or act as touchpoints for different market segments.


Once you have your domain, a good next step is actually building a website. However you build it – whether that’s using an online web builder or a freelance developer – make sure that it’s in line with your brand. That means thinking about the visuals, colors, user experience, and everything else that a customer might see or do while using your site.


Once set up, you can share your domain on your social platform and business listings (like Google). This gives more authority to your small business and helps direct traffic to your new website.


In addition to building a website, one of the most important things you can do with your newly-acquired domain name is set up a business email. This is an email account (or accounts) that use your domain name rather than a generic one. For example, instead of yourname@gmail.com, you would use yourname@yourcompany.com. This, like your domain more generally, adds a layer of professionalism and trust to your small business, among many other benefits.



Welcome to Your Domain

As a small business, you need a web presence to attract potential customers, establish credibility and build your brand. Buying a domain name is a cheap and powerful option that allows you to create professional email addresses, direct clients to/from social channels, and build a bigger online footprint in the future.


To buy a domain name, think about what would fit your business and brand before selecting a registrar, checking the domain’s availability, choosing a TLD, selecting the length of the contract, and turning on auto-renewal. A solid online brand starts with a strong domain name, so go out and find yours today.

Sivan Kaspi Sivan is the Director of Marketing at Spike. A firm believer that the right kind of tech actually helps us use it less, she is passionate about tools that improve our lives. She starts off each morning reviewing her Spike feed over a good cup of coffee.

Gain Communication Clarity with Spike

You may also like