Choosing a domain name is one of the most important decisions you will make for your online business. Not only does your name need to be logical and recognizable for your business, it also needs to be search engine friendly so you rank well and can be found by Internet searches.
While this is no easy task, the tips below will put you on the right track to developing a good domain name. The tips are divided into three areas: general, internet marketers, and local business owners. This will help to tailor tips specific to your particular business needs.
Tips Everyone Needs to Know
1. Use a web hosting company:
While there are a range of ways to buy a domain name, going with a large legitimate web hosting company is the best way to go.
If you buy your domain from domain registry you’ll need to change name servers from the ones with domain registry to those of your hosting account – an unnecessary step.
With a hosting company like BlueHost, which is the one we use, not only will you get good support throughout the process, it is easy to set up hosting for your site and you will have access to a range of value adding services. What’s more, web hosting companies are generally cheaper.
2. Stick with dot.com:
If you’re like us, when you’re typing in a URL, you automatically end it with .com whether that is the correct extension or not. Unless you are targeting a local community or promoting a non-profit organization, stick with dot.com. It is internationally recognized by every internet user, and more importantly, by Google. In addition, top level domain names are always best.
3. Don’t use hyphens:
While domain names with hyphens may be available, they’re not a good option. For one, they are harder for people to type. Search engines may or may not identify the keywords in your name better with hyphens, but visitors will have an easier time remembering your domain name without them.
When thinking of a good domain name, try and think of words that have only one possible spelling. This way you won’t run the risk of people missing your site by misspelling words or by using American or United Kingdom English. An alternative is to buy the similar spelling name as well. And be sure to spell your domain correctly when you buy it. Once upon a time we did a typo that we didn’t catch when buying a domain name. Oops. Had to go back and buy the correct one. Silly waste of money.
When it comes to domain names less is more. You can use up to 67 characters for a name, but that doesn’t mean you should. The smaller the name, the easier it is for people to enter, and the less likely people are to make mistakes. Choose the smallest domain name that still makes sense. Shorter is also easier to remember.
6. Don’t take short cuts with words:
Slang and numbers instead of letters (e.g. biz2biz) don’t have a place in your domain name. They can create confusion that can result in fewer visitors to your site. You don’t want this. Stick with proper spelling and proper words.
If You Are an Internet Marketer
If you are in Internet Marketing keywords are your friend. A domain name is now one of the most important places to put keywords, so use it wisely. As an example, if you are selling golf balls, then a web address of www.buygolfballs.com would be perfect.
8. Keyword order does not matter:
If the name you want is gone, then remember that Google doesn’t necessarily look at the order of words. For example www.golfballsbuy.com will still rate the same if golf balls was your keyword phrase. Do remember, though, if you want word of mouth to play a part in building your traffic, GolfBallsBuy.com is memorable for sure. People will remember it for sounding stupid.
9. Take advantage of old domains:
Several sources recommend buying old domain names that have expired. If they are based on strong keywords, then there is a fair chance that with a little revamping they will still do very well.
If You Are a Business Owner
10. Relate your domain to your business and industry:
If you already have a business name and it’s available, you should go with that. Your next choice, while this is sometimes dictated by what is available, is to link your domain name to your business and industry. For example, if you run an engineering firm, then www.davidengineering.com could be a good option. This way, when people search on the industry they will find your site.
11. Local businesses:
While using a dot.com is recommended, if you work only in a local area, region or country then it is well worth considering using a country dot.com. For example www.davidengineering.com.au. This will have a lot more appeal with locals, and will also have you ranking highly in local searches.
Do you want to brand your name? Or have you already done so? If you are starting from the beginning, keep things simple and memorable. Having a powerful brand name is a huge asset for any business. Google and Yahoo are very powerful names. Who knows, in the future your website and company may be as well! So choose a name that sounds like a good brand.
Choosing a domain name is a big decision for your business or online marketing venture. The tips above will help you choose the right name for your particular business, and will also help you rank well in the search engines.