One of the most important decisions you could make for your business is picking the right domain name. Choosing a domain name may seem like an easy task but before you do it, you need to make the following considerations.
- Does the domain name match your brand?
It important to have a domain name that matches your brand name. Here’s why:
- Having a domain name which doesn’t match the company name is bad banding.
- It ensures consistency. People will associate your domain name with your company hence strengthening your brand.
- It will enable people to find your website quickly. When they hear about your company they will type it into a search engine.
- Is the domain ‘Well Branded’?
Good brands share the following characteristics:
You also need to think about:
- What it looks like when you write it down.
- How relatable it is.
- If you’re going to create it through a combination of words or if there’s a hidden meaning.
- How it sounds.
- What appears when you type your brand into a search engine?
Conduct a Google search for you brand and get to know what kind of resources are ranking using the name you picked.
Chances are you’re going to compete with some powerful domains, making it difficult for you to rank. Ensure that you’ve chosen a name that is unique so that you don’t struggle to rank.
- Is the domain easy to read/spell?
This is quite straightforward. It has to be one which people will easily remember and can quickly find you on the internet. This makes your brand stronger.
- Don’t go heavy on keywords
You need to be creative in order to find a good brand name. A good domain name shouldn’t be filled with keywords. Include a keyword in your domain name only if it makes sense, for instance, if you’re creating a city guide for Manchester, go for a domain like manchesterguide.com or manchestervibes.com.
This way, you will have derived the domain from the brand name and avoided spammy SEO. Note that in 2012, Google identified low quality exact match domains (EMD) and lowered their rankings. Despite this, there are still a few EDMs with poor content still ranking well in the SERPs.
- Avoid hyphens
Using hyphens in your domain name might look cool but it doesn’t do any good to your brand. Here’s why:
- Your domain won’t look attractive.
- It makes your domain look spammy (e.g manchester-city-guide.com).
- It’s not easy to remember or even tell it to someone else. You always have to include the hyphens to get it right.
It’s only a few brands, usually the world’s best and biggest that use hyphens in their domains. You wouldn’t want to do the same for your unknown brand.
- Optimize it without making it spammy
We have already mentioned that a domain name shouldn’t be filled with keywords. That’s not to say that you cannot optimize it though. If you are a Manchester-based business, it is okay to include ‘Manchester’ in the domain name. Just ensure your don’t spam it.
If you feel like adding a keyword to your domain name, you’re allowed to do it. It should be one that fits seamlessly to your domain name and if you notice that it doesn’t look right, leave it. A creative domain usually beats a spammy one with a keyword.
- Check to see if it’s short
A good domain name should be kept short and neat. A short domain name is not only easy to remember but also attractive and better for your business cards and email addresses.
If your root domain – that is, the main part of the domain is short, it means that all your URLs will also be short (if you’re smart with your subpage architecture and URL structure).
- Pick the right TLD
TLD in full is top-level-domain. It is the part which comes after your domain name and before your subpages. Some of the commonly used TLDs include:
With so many TLDs, to choose from, what factors should you consider if you want to pick the right one for your brand? There is one rule that apples to almost all domains. Ask yourself if your target market is local or global.
If it is global, consider using the “.com” TLD but if it is local, choose one that represents a country you’re in for instance, “co.uk” if you’re in the United Kingdom. Why should you follow this rule?
- If you’re targeting a global market, go with “.com”.
- Most of your prospective customers will assume that your domain name ends in “.com”, just like your email address.
- A country TLD or a “.com” is more common and trustworthy than keyword TLDs.
- A country level TLD helps you rank better in a particular country, for instance a “co.uk” would perform better on the search engines in UK. This works well if your target is local/regional.
- Google won’t rank you better because you have a keyword in your TLD.
The above rule applies to 90% of websites, though there are a few exceptions. If you are a nonprofit, you would consider using “.org” and if you are an IT or Internet company, “.net” would be a suitable TLD.
Make sure that you check to see that no one else is using the domain name you have picked. In most cases you’ll find that a domain you have chosen is being used by someone else but with a different TLD.
This means you have to pick a domain name that is completely unique. One trick you can use is to purchase many other TLDs and prevent other people from using them.
The extra domains can be redirected to your main domain. A domain name can be acquired from various domain providers. It’s advisable to get one from the company that hosts your site.
- Check if All the Social Media Handles are Available
What would you do if you found out that after coming up with a creative brand name and domain, someone else is using the name on social media platforms? This tool will help you determine if the social media handles for your brand name are available.
Get hold of the profiles even if you don’t intend to use the name immediately. This will prevent other people from taking them.
- Be on the lookout for trademarks
Do not be on the rush to buy your dream domain. It is important to first check if someone else has already trademarked it.
If you discover that it’s not, consider trademarking the name to avoid trademark issues in the future. Trademarking your brand name also prevents other people from using your name for their marketing campaigns.
Nowadays, every almost everyone is creating a website. This rise in the number of websites means it is more difficult than ever to choose a domain name.
You have to be creative when coming up with a domain name that will last a long time. Have read the article to this point, you can now easily create an incredible domain name.