Creating a great domain name for your website is perhaps not as straight forward as it seems. Unlike names for physical stores and businesses, naming your web based business requires a very different set of considerations.
If you have a physical bricks and mortar business and wish to set up a website to compliment it, then you may want to use your existing business name, which of course would make sense for branding purposes. But there could potentially be issues with using your existing company name which I will explain, and finally there’s always the situation where you do not have an existing business and need to come up with something new.
Domain names are also vitally important in SEO terms as well. Making your domain name keyword rich will help with traffic and search engine rankings, something which we like to call parasitical value. Being able to include long tail keywords into your domain name can be very useful, helping you to pick up traffic searching for that particular query.
Your choice of domain name could also become your brand. Typically you want to come up with a domain name which is easily identifiable, easily remembered and easy to search for. If customer loyalty is important to you then a domain name which will add brand value should be a primary objective.
So now you know you need to consider keyword terms and brand creation, what else do you need to think about when it comes to the perfect domain? Well there are a few things that you should avoid:
- Spelling: don’t make your domain name hard to spell or include two or more words which end and begin with the same letter. Remember that users searching for your website will type in words as they sound unless they are familiar terms. Misspellings of your domain could cause you to miss out on a lot of traffic.
- Do not be tempted to use someone else’s brand name under a different extension, for instance Amazon.net. Not only is this lazy, but it could also see you in court getting sued!
- Unless it cannot be avoided try not to make your domain names overly long – it doesn’t make them memorable.
- Try to avoid putting in other characters such as lots of numbers or hyphens to make an existing domain name different. Not only is it confusing and unmemorable, but it could penalize your SEO efforts.
- Finally, try to avoid chopping up words to create a shortened domain, unless of course you can create something memorable, a great example of this would be……let say you had a company called ‘Alan Michael Heating and Air Conditioning” it might not make sense to call it ‘Amhaa”….because it is easy to forget and gives you no real SEO value.
What if your preferred choice of domain name is already taken? This is one of the most frustrating aspects of setting up your online marketing. Domain names can be bought at anytime whether you intend to use them or not as a matter of fact there is a thriving industry surrounding the purchase and re-sale of domain names. Competitive domains will be picked up quickly by savvy marketers who realize the value of names and can increase in value at any given moment, for instance, many domainers purchased domains relating to the royal wedding as soon as the engagement was announced. A domain like ‘theroyalwedding.com’ was probably only worth a few dollars prior to the announcement, but afterwards the price increased substantially.
There are a couple of things you can do if your preferred name is taken. The first is to choose a different extension such as .net or .biz which are less popular than a .com extension. But you could still loose a large chunk of traffic to competitors with a .com extension. Another trick is to add words like ‘online’ after your business name, which is particularly popular with existing businesses who don’t want a different name for their website. But again there is a big risk of customers failing to remember the ‘online’ addition and landing on your competitors’ sites.
When it comes to a great domain name it is best to choose something which is relevant, memorable, easy to spell and original. Adding brand value and keyword terms if possible will also help to bring your website to the attention of those looking for the products or services you offer…..plus increase your rankings on Google.