A domain name is not simply a reflection of your business name; it has other direct bearings on your SMB success including Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and serving as a buffer against competitors seeking to steal away your customers.
By now most online SMBs are aware that domain names are a key metric evaluated by Google’s search algorithm when determining a search ranking. The presence of a primary keyword in the domain name e.g. “Android” is one example of how your search engine ranking may be adjusted upwards if other sites link to yours using that domain name in the anchor text.
Yes, it is true that Google has been recalibrating its algorithm to give equal weight to domains that have NO keyword in the domain name but instead center on brandability. Twitter is an example of such a site. But, the key point being established here is that a failure to procure either a branded or keyword-centric domain for your offline business means you are losing a key opportunity to gain search engine traction that could mean more website visitors, and consequently lead conversions.
Further, if you are paying no attention to procuring domain names related to your industry you may be letting your online competitors siphon off your traditional customer base.
Tech savvy businesses carefully monitoring vacant domains and pouncing when they see their competitors have not procured a domain related to their industry or business product line. This allows your competition to set up shop online and gradually get their domain name higher up search results on Google, Bing and Yahoo. Your customers may eventually end up on their site without your knowledge; the upshot being you may never see them again in your dental practice, medical institution, and apparel business or car lot. Further, it can be quite embarrassing when you one day decide to build a website and find your competition owns a domain name relevant to your business. This happens all the time!
Further, cost and complexity should not be a deterrent in quickly procuring a key domain name relating to your business. Affordable web hosting packages offered by companies such as Westhost, allow you to establish an online presence for as little as $4 per month. The acquisition of a new domain name is relatively painless and can be acquired in a little as 5 minutes as long as the domain name is available.
Further, it also gives you an opportunity to see what your competitors have been up to. You may find after careful examination that they have built several websites on various domains relating to similar product lines. Or, they may simply be parking the domains to ensure you or other competitors have no access to them. They will keep these in the holding tank until they have the funds, desire or business goals to develop them into full-blown websites. You should be adopting similar strategies. You can go a bit further and make sure your domain is private, thereby restricting competitors from seeing who actually owns the domain. This gives you some breathing space until you are ready to launch a new product website without them knowing what you are up to.
In the final analysis, domain name registration is a great way to buffer your existing or future product lines from nefarious competitors and allow you to one-day boost your search engine rankings. A failure to act may mean losing customers online.