The 9 most important questions to ask when choosing a domain for an e-commerce system

Young organizations and startups most often use the first approach. The second one is characteristic of large organizations, which delay the choice of wanting to transfer the moment of decision making closer to the actual launching of the system, thus minimizing the risk of mismatching the domain to the tool.

Over the years, I have been observing 2 different approaches when choosing a domain for an e-commerce system:

  • quick domain selection in one of the first steps of business creation
  • procrastination with the choice almost at the end of the process of creating an e-commerce system

Regardless of the strategy, choosing a domain is extremely important because it is the first point of contact with the brand for many users.

What are the questions to answer when choosing a domain?

1. Will the e-commerce to which the domain will be directed be available only in one country or will it operate internationally?

If it is a system available on one market, yourshop.de or yourshop.fr domain will be sufficient for a domain with a national/local extension. For international solutions, the extension should be equivalent to: .com, .eu.

What to do if your system is multinational and multilingual, occurring in many instances, only slightly different for each country? Then you can consider the first part of the domain + national extension common for many countries:

  • yourshop.de
  • yourshop.fr
  • yourshop.nl
  • yourshop.com (do not forget about the wide extension)

The choice of this type of domain requires verification of its availability for particular geographic areas, most often such searches end with the necessity of mediation upon the acquisition of one of the national domains. e-point has many years of experience in achieving excellent results in such domain mediation.

2. Does the domain name for e-commerce conflict with the existing brand on the market?

Searching for domains with a similar burden should be one of the first steps, mistakes in entering the address, mistakes in remembering it may cause redirections in traffic from your e-commerce e.g.:

  • yourstore.de
  • yourstores.de
  • yourstories.de

It is worth using a tool that generates synonyms of domain names and automatically checks their availability:

Source: Domain Name Generator

3. Will the domain contain hyphens?

In 90% dashes in the domain name should be avoided, as it will make it difficult for customers to enter the domain name, but there are exceptions, e.g. in the German market the need to use long words causes usability, e.g. berliner-sparkasse.de.

4. Will the domain use the new gTLDs extensions?

As the Internet is constantly developing, ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) released some 1,400 new extensions to cover other fields, such as science, technology, and other leisure activities. Unfortunately, although there are many, using them can be problematic because users are not used to using sore extensions, online, bar etc.

It is believed that the more extended .com domain will always be better than the shorter domain of the new group of extensions. Currently, 43.44% of all sites in the world use the .com domain. The .shop extension is used by less than by 0.1%. An additional argument for sticking to the old group of extensions is the fact that all Fortune 500 companies have .com domains. Below are the statistics of the most commonly used domains in the world.

Source: Domain Name Statistics

5. Should the domain be short?

So the shorter the domain, the easier to remember, spell it and save, and the smaller the chance of a mistake when typing it. The domain should be associated with products or the industry in which the e-commerce operates.

6. Should we only buy one extension for the domain?

Try to buy as many as possible TDLs domains, having them allows you to direct traffic from them to your e-commerce, as well as in the future protects against the appearance of solutions imitating your business: 

  • youreshop.com
  • youreshop.co
  • youreshop.net
  • youreshop.edu

7. Is the domain related to social media?

Yes, when choosing a domain, it is good to check the availability of handlers in the most important social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn).

8. Do you need to register related domains that sound similar, have a few variations in them, contain elements of service names?

It is a widespread practice that guarantees fewer losses in users' traffic. Most large e-commerce systems (10K SKU) can be found by several to a dozen different domain names. In the first period of running a business, it costs them little; however, after the success of e-commerce, the price of related domains will increase significantly. youreshop.com youreshops.com youre-shop.

9. What if the only domain that you are interested in is occupied?

The first step is to check if there are no offers on the market for its sale, for example via https://looka.com/business-name-generator/ examples of related domains for yourshop.

If you decided to buy a domain from which someone used it is good to check its history so that in the future it was not a medium for journalists. WayBackMachine is an excellent tool.

Such a result requires caution and a thorough check of what happened to the domain during that time.

Such a result indicates that there was not much activity and it is easy to check the history of domain use.

About e-point

For 20 years the e-point team has helped many companies (Amway, ING Group, Coca-Cola, Inter Cars, Toyota and others) to build e-commerce systems, conduct a methodical process of defining domain names, testing their validity, and helped to obtain domains that appear to have been already taken a long time ago.