Selecting a domain name for your Shopify store is a major decision.
Your domain is the first thing a new customer interacts with, even before entering your store. For this reason, it needs to accurately describe your brand and what your customers can expect shopping with you.
A memorable and well-selected domain name is a key part of your online store’s branding strategy. And it helps establish your online presence.
If you’ve been wondering how to choose and set up a Shopify domain name, read on. We’ll share the best tips and tricks, as well as how to register your new domain on Shopify.
What Is a Domain Name?
A domain name is simply the name of your website. It’s the word(s) that come after the “www.” in a web address and after the “@” in an email address. So, for example, our domain name is skuagency.com.
When you own an e-commerce website on Shopify, Shopify becomes your DNS host, meaning they register and manage your domain configuration.
You can buy a custom domain name from Shopify, import your existing domain from a third-party domain provider, or set up a free domain with a MyShopify subdomain.
We’ll go into more detail on these options ahead.
How to Choose a Domain Name
Choosing a domain name is an exciting step in setting up your e-commerce business. Ideally, your domain name strikes a perfect balance between describing your brand and appealing to customers.
Now you may be wondering, how do I make that happen?
Consider the following tips:
Include Your Brand Name If Possible
If you have a distinct store name, then it may be possible to set your domain name as simply [storename].com. But there’s always a possibility that someone already has that domain name.
More generic store names need to get creative, maybe by adding a noun or adjective to the brand name. For example, if your store name is “The Smith Store” and you specialize in candles, your domain name could be www.thesmithstorecandles.com.
Make It to Stand Out (In a Good Way)
Your business already stands out, but you need a domain name to reflect that. The wrong store name can put off potential shoppers.
Really think about your customer, or dream customer, and go from there.
Are they high-income earners?
If so, a mature domain name is best.
Are they young and trendy?
Then consider a name that speaks to their subculture.
Capture Your Store’s Experience
You want your domain name to evoke the same feeling shopping at your store does.
Whether you sell clothing, household goods, sports equipment, or skincare, your store’s name sends a message. You want that message to be appealing to customers!
Keep It Short, Sweet, and Succinct
There isn’t a potential customer out there who wants to type out a 27-character domain address.
The more concise you are, the more likely customers will bother visiting your store. They may only have to type it in once before saving it, but they probably won’t deal with ridiculously lengthy domain names in the first place. That is a risk unworthy of your time.
The shorter the name and better it flows, the more memorable it will be. And being memorable is the foundation of a successful online store.
Ready to Choose a Shopify Domain?
Write out a list of ten or so words that describe your business; words that you want your customers to associate with your brand.
One or two at a time, pair these words with your brand name and plug them into Shopify’s domain name search engine.
This is a smart way to figure out what sounds good to your ear and which names are available.
How *Not* to Choose One
We have a few other tips to keep in mind when choosing your Shopify domain. Namely, how not to go about it.
The SEO Route
Do not choose a domain name just to improve your SEO rankings. This is tempting, but it can hurt your business in the long run. A keyword may be hot one week and very much not the next.
You should consider the keywords your target shoppers are searching for when looking for stores like yours. But relying only on keywords to improve your rankings will not yield positive results.
Instead, you should find natural ways to incorporate those keywords into your website. No need to make your site feel spammy!
Let’s do SEO the right way. Learn more about our Shopify SEO services.
Your domain name needs to be an honest depiction of your business. It should tell customers exactly what they will find in your store.
Failing to meet your customers’ expectations will only result in disappointment. A dishonest domain name is a wasted opportunity and may make customers leave fast and empty-handed.
Getting Sidetracked by a Favorite Word
Maybe you think you have the perfect adjective that encapsulates your brand experience, only to find that it’s not available as part of a domain name.
Do not let this deter you. Keep playing with it.
When in doubt, visit the thesaurus for an instant selection of synonyms that can take its place.
Make sure the name is not in use by other organizations listed on the web. A quick Google search should help you be extra sure.
Is your inspiration starting to drain out of your fingertips? Browse the list of Shopify’s 50 best stores and check out the domains of popular e-commerce stores. These Shopify stores were once where you are now!
How to Set Up Your Shopify Domain Name
Shopify lets you search for available domains and register your store here.
You will have to buy a custom domain from Shopify if you do not own one already. Prices start at $11 per year but can go as high as nearly $100 per year, with pricing depending on root domains and subdomains.
You can also choose a domain name for free, but it will end with “myshopify.com.” Using The Smith Store example from earlier, if you go the free route, your Shopify domain name would be thesmithstorecandles.myshopfy.com.
To see the exact cost of the domain name you plan on using, enter it in the Shopify Domain Name Generator.
Setting Up a New Domain
Once you’ve chosen your new domain name, it’s time to register it.
Here are the steps to follow (you need a registered Shopify account to do this):
- Log into your Shopify account and go to your admin page.
- Click on Online Stores.
- Click Domains.
- Click Buy new domain.
- Enter your chosen domain name and click Buy when yours pops up.
- After reviewing your personal information and agreeing to privacy statements, click Buy domain. An email will be sent to the address associated with your Shopify account to confirm your purchase.
That’s it! Remember that it may take up to 48 hours for your new domain to get up and running.
Once you set it up with Shopify, they provide a free SSL certificate. The domain you buy is under your ownership; should you ever decide to leave Shopify, you can take it with you.
Existing Domain Names
Perhaps you already purchased a domain name from a site like GoDaddy or Namecheap and you want to import it to Shopify. If you bought a domain from a third-party hosting site, Shopify does let you transfer it to your Shopify store.
Additionally, Shopify automatically configures and sets up your custom domain for you. It only takes five minutes!.
Here are the steps:
- Log into your Shopify account.
- Click Online Store and then Domains.
- You’ll see the option Connect Existing Domain.
- Click on it and type in the name of your existing domain.
- Click Next and it will automatically transfer.
After, you’ll need to alter DNS settings on your third-party domain account so it configures your Shopify store.
You can do this by following a couple of simple steps:
- Change your A Record to 188.8.131.52 (Shopify’s IP address).
- Change your CNAME record to shops.myshopify.com to match Shopify’s.
That’s it. You have retained your existing domain and can start selling on your Shopify storefront.
Managing Your Shopify Domain
Your Shopify admin page has a section where you can manage your domain settings through a dropdown menu.
You can also use it for:
Set up subdomains to organize your Shopify store. Subdomains categorize separate pages on your website, all managed under the same domain.
For example, your contact page may be something contact.yourstoredomain.com, with “contact” being the subdomain of your primary domain.
As mentioned, if you do not purchase a domain from Shopify, your store will automatically be under the myshopify.com subdomain umbrella.
To initiate sales with customers across the globe, you should set up an international domain. This turns your primary domain from yourstorename.com to:
- yourstorename.fr for customers in France
- yourstorename.jp for customers in Japan
- yourstorename.ca for customers in Canada
- … and so on and so on
This makes it easy for shoppers in any country to find, access, and purchase products from your store. Creating an international domain is ideal for large-scale e-commerce businesses with the infrastructure to ship internationally.
Keep in mind that certain countries have restrictions. Canada, for example, restricts the use of their .ca root domain depending on specific business and residency requirements.
Shopify Basic and Lite plan users do not have the option to set up an international domain at all. If you are on one of these plans and wish to open an international domain, you must upgrade your Shopify plan.
You might also be interested in Shopify for B2B [Our Shopify Plus Review]
WHOIS Privacy protects your personal information. Someone may try to look up your online store to find your info, but if your store is enabled with WHOIS Privacy, that information stays hidden.
You must purchase WHOIS Privacy from your domain provider to keep your personal information safe. It is included when you buy your domain from Shopify.
You need to keep your customers’ data safe, too. Read our article about Shopify Trust Badges for more info.
Shopify lets you connect your email address to your domain name, no matter what provider you use. All customers will see is an email address like email@example.com.
This is another thoughtful privacy feature offered by Shopify. It also helps streamline backend services, allowing you to take control of your Shopify store immediately.
Choosing your Shopify store’s domain name is exciting. It gives you the chance to brainstorm and decide how you want the world to perceive your business.
When choosing your domain, remember to include your brand name if possible, and make it reflect the experience you want to provide to your customers.
To set up your domain name, be sure you:
- Use Shopify’s domain search engine to find unique ideas.
- Buy a custom domain through Shopify to better manage your site.
- Import your domain name if you purchased one elsewhere.
The goal is to have a name that perfectly captures your brand and your shoppers’ experience in your store. Once that’s complete, it’s time to start selling and enjoy the financial rewards of all your hard work.
If you’re looking for ways to create a Shopify store that works for you and your brand, reach out. We offer Shopify design and development services that could help take your eCommerce business to the next level.
The first step is setting up a Shopify account. Get started now.