What's In A Domain Name? Everything When It Comes To Your Cannabis-Related Website

It's actually way more important than you'd think.
What's In A Domain Name? Everything When It Comes To Your Cannabis-Related Website
Image credit: MJobserver.com via Daily Marijuana Observer

Free Book Preview Cannabis Capital

Learn how to get your business funded in the Cannabis economy!
COO and Digital Strategist
8 min read
This story originally appeared on Daily Marijuana Observer

Maybe you’ve just started a cannabis-related business or a CBD brand. Or, maybe you’re thinking about starting a marijuana news site or a cannabis consulting firm. Either way, every brand and business in the 21st century needs to have a website. Since every website needs a domain name, choosing the right one is actually a pretty important decision.

RELATED: How to Start a Cannabis Business On a Budget

Why Every Cannabis Business Needs a Website

If you’re already convinced that you need a website, then feel free to skip on to the next section. If you’re on the fence, however, you’d be doing yourself a disservice not to read this section.

Recent research from Salesforce covering 6,000 consumers and 1.4 billion e-commerce website visits showed that an overwhelming 87% of shoppers are starting their hunt online. The prior year’s study showed that just 71% of consumers were beginning their search on the web, so this trend is clearly rising.

Weed is Already Being Bought Online

To be clear, this data is just as applicable to a cannabis-related company as it is to any other type of company. Many Canadian adults already order their cannabis, and even cannabis seeds online, and meanwhile, app and web-based platforms like Eaze are already delivering marijuana in legal states all across the U.S., and delivering CBD products everywhere else. The future is now!

To cite a recent study that is more specific to the cannabis industry, nearly 62% of CBD users that were taking cannabidiol for medical purposes did their research online, rather than going to family, friends, or physicians. As general awareness around CBD, and cannabis for that matter, increases we may see that number climb higher and higher.

After all, 91% of online adults use search engines to find information on the web according to a Pew Internet survey. That means that if your cannabis business or brand is not on the web, then potential customers are not finding it. That also means that if your marijuana-related company’s website provides educational resources in addition to information about your business, it may stand an even higher chance of being successful.

RELATED: She Started Her Cannabis Business With $1500 And A Dream

Now that you’re convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that having a website is an absolute must, let’s move on to picking the right domain name.

Deciding on the Best Domain Name

When selecting the best cannabis-related domain name to purchase for your site, the best two choices are a grouping of keywords for driving traffic to your website or product name, or your business. While these are essentially the same thing, any existing business should obviously try to pursue its own name before going after its related keywords.

For instance, if you’re already doing business under the name Alfred’s Prerolls, you should try to buy a domain name that best fits your business name. To see if your desired domain name is available for purchase, just perform a quick search.

It Depends on What’s Available

Under the example above, it would obviously be great if you could lock down www.alfreds.com, but unfortunately, that’s already taken by some beautiful resort in Jamaica. The next step would be to check to see if www.alfredsprerolls.com is available, which it actually is as of today for just under $12. If Alfred’s Prerolls was your brand name or company name, it would be a smart move to buy that domain name up immediately.

An alternative to getting a domain name to match your cannabis business is getting a domain name that is a combination of related keywords. To continue with the example above, if Alfred’s Prerolls was known for having the fattest pre-rolled joints around, a good choice might be something like http://www.fatprerolls.com, which also is available to buy for a bit more money.

That way, anyone Googling for “fat prerolls” has a pretty good chance of finding Alfred’s, which offers exactly what they were searching for – fat pre-rolls. With literally millions of pre-rolled joints being produced and consumed each year in the United States alone, a domain name like that could be worth far more in the near future.

Keywords vs. Name Matching – Which One is Better?

If your business or brand name isn’t available, you should consider looking for a fitting keyword combination. If both are available, then you’ve got some deciding to do. Or, if you’re willing to spend a little more to bolster your cannabis business’ web presence, you could buy both.

Whether you build out two different sites, or just implement a simple redirect, two can sometimes be better than one. That being said it is always better to focus your efforts on one site, to begin with.

If you had to decide on just one, I’d recommend getting the one that matches your business name first. Not only will this help to prevent confusion down the line if competitors were to pop up, but it will also ensure that your company’s website comes up when its name is searched for.

If awareness for your products is more important than awareness for your business, a combination of keywords may be the way to go. If awareness for your business is more important, or you plan to build your business by word of mouth, then try to match your domain with your business name to solidify your consistent omnichannel approach to marketing. There’s no perfect formula for deciding though, and it will always depend on who you ask.

The same goes for picking the right top-level domain, which is the tail of a website’s domain name, such as .com.org., or .edu.

RELATED: Examples of Cannabis-related Business Ideas

But What are the Best Cannabis Keywords?

If you’re looking to buy a keyword-based domain name for your cannabis business, deciding the best keywords will make all the difference. Using unrelated keywords will make it harder for people to find your website, and it will be misleading to those who do find it.

Tools to Help

One of the best places to start is by analyzing the search engine frequency for some of the keywords that you’re considering using. For this, you can use free basic tools like Google Search Trends, or you can pay professionals like ZNETSEO to create a top-to-bottom search engine optimization plan for just under $200.

While a brief comparison between searches for the term “fat joints” versus searches for the term “fat prerolls” shows that fat joints is the more popular search, it costs a whopping $1999 to buy www.fatjoints.com, compared to only $750 to buy www.fatprerolls.com. And, searches for “prerolls” outpace searches for the term “fat joints” by a long shot.

Also, someone searching for fat joints actually might actually be referring to fat elbows, knees or other anatomical joints. According to Google, I’m not wrong, as one of the most relevant search results on page 1 for the search “fat joints” include the Arthritis Foundation’s article on how “being overweight can make arthritis, gout, lupus, fibromyalgia and other joint diseases and conditions worse.” On the other hand, every single result for the first few pages for the search “fat prerolls” is cannabis related.

While this may seem like an overly detailed analysis stemming from the initial made-up business, Alfred’s Prerolls, the level of thought should be seen as an example of how detailed your own domain name considerations should be.

2 Final Tips to Picking the Right Pot Domain

Before sending you on your way to picking a domain name for your cannabis-related business, there are a few more tips to consider:

  • The Shorter, The Better: While the RFC specs say that domain names can be up to 256 characters in length, shorter is better. Longer domain names can simply be too long to expect individuals to type or remember if they are not coming from a direct link or bookmark in their browser. Shorter domain names are easier to remember, and that’s good for any business that thrives on repeat customers or word-of-mouth marketing.
  • Location, Location, Location: If your cannabis-related business is a brick-and-mortar retailer, or only offers its products in a specific geographical area due to regulations and licensing restrictions, be sure to think about localized keywords as well. That way, you’re not competing for eyeballs you can’t even convert into customers. To keep with the ongoing example, if Alfred only sold his prerolls in Albuquerque, New Mexico, then www.AlbuquerquePrerolls.com may be another domain name option to consider.  

Conclusion

As mentioned above, picking the right domain name for your cannabis-related brand or business is not an exact science, but it is certainly not just an art. Logical, pragmatic decision making surrounding your company’s name, offerings, goals, location, and more will lead you to the right domain name.

The right domain name will lead you to the right customers.

More from Green Entrepreneur

Kim's expertise can help you become a strong leader, pitch VCs for capital, and develop a growth strategy.
Each week hear inspiring stories of business owners who have taken the cannabis challenge and are now navigating the exciting but unpredictable Green Rush.
Sign up for our weekly newsletter for winning strategies, exclusive features and all the tools you need to strike gold in the Green Rush.

Latest on Green Entrepreneur