Whats in a name?
With so many new startup companies in need of a website, I am often asked what makes a good domain name. There is no right or wrong answer, however there are some considerations that help make a good decision when selecting the URL.
The trials and tribulations of choosing a domain name.
One of the first tasks to determine what your domain name should be is to name the company. Sometimes this helps select the domain name. Sometimes it just creates another variable that should be considered.
How important is the domain name for SEO?
It’s very important and affects brand, memorability as well as impact the website’s ability to soar quickly in the search engines.
10 Tips (Considerations) For Choosing The Domain Name:
1. Use keywords for search engine optimization
It’s a great exercise to do keyword research before picking a domain. Keyword research is more than just making a list of words you ‘think’ customers may use… it’s an exercise that should be done with a keyword tool. One free tool that’s great is Googles keyword tool, and another is the Google wonder wheel. Both of these suggest alternatives, and the Google keyword tool also gives an idea how many monthly searches are performed for each word or phrase.
2. Make it easy
Don’t be too clever or over-think your domain name. If it’s easy to be confused you can bet your customers will be. Spell things correctly.
3. Dot com first choice
Although there are many other options, .com is still the number one choice for a domain. If the .com is not available, second choice is .net. You may want to also buy additional domains to protect your name, such as .info, .co, .me, .us, .biz. Remember that com is typically for a commercial entity, and .org is typically for an organization.
4. Consider the alphabet
If you start your company name or your domain with a ‘Z’, don’t expect to come up first in an alphabetical listing. If you want to come up first, you may want to start with a number, which will come up before any of the alphabet. Of course, it’s not asa easy for customers to understand. An example of considering the alphabet is AAA. or creating a domain such as 1-A.com.
5. Avoid Copyright
Especially when it comes to slogans or using a phrase or name that may already be copyrighted, it’s best to avoid using one of these for a domain name.
6. Avoid number for words, slang
It may seem cool or cute to use a letter instead of a word, but it gets lost in translation when sharing your domain name with someone. If you insist on using ‘2’ instead of ‘to’ and ‘4’ instead of ‘for’ you may want to buy the domain with the number spelled out and 301 it to your domain.
7. Identifies what you do
Don’t try to hide what you do with a clever name. The easier it is for a customer to identify that you can serve his or her needs, the better your Internet investment will be. Coming up with a cool name for your company, like (www.sunsweptgroup.com) aka SunSwept Group, does not help customers to find you.
8. Pros and cons of hyphens
Hyphens are a great way to get a domain name that has already been taken without the hyphens, and the irony is that it does help search engines figure out what the words are in your domain. The con is that it’s difficult to convey that you have hyphens in your domain name. The pro is SEO. If you can buy both the hyphenated as well as the non-hyphenated name, that’s your best option.
9. Singular or plural
Again, since domain names are relatively inexpensive, I’d suggest buying both the singular as well as the plural version of your domain, just in case someone types it into the search engines incorrectly. For the small investment, it’s a simple solution. You can direct the less desired name to the more desired url so they both ‘get you there’!
10. Branding, memorable, unique
Whatever you decide to use for your domain name, it has to be something that you are proud of and that you feel will represent your company and brand the way you want it to be perceived. Names that sounds like everyone else tend to fade into the background. The old days of acronyms and using letters just doesn’t seem to work as well in today’s environment of search engine optimization and being found.
Whether you elect to use your company name or be creative and use a unique spelling, it’s important to do so understanding the pros and cons, and making an educated decision.
What were some of the concerns you had when creating your domain? If you ignored the advice above, what was your rationale? Please share your thoughts and comments.
WebMarCom is an Internet strategy and Web Marketing Communications Agency based in South Jersey and Philadelphia.