Choosing the right domain name for your business is a critical part of the startup process. There are many different elements that could impact the effectiveness of your domain, and by considering all the variables up front, you’ll have a much better chance of securing the best, premium domain name from the very start.
We’ve covered a number of tips for choosing a domain name before, and that blog recommended:
- Keeping your brand and domain together
- Protecting your brand by purchasing similar but different names
- Staying relevant to your products
- Using correct spelling
- Choosing shorter names when possible
- Avoiding numbers and hyphens
- Trying to be memorable
- Using the .com if possible
- Keeping the name singular
- Not settling for non-premium domains
Of course, while all those tips remain valid and important, things in the online world rarely stay the same for long. So, in this installment, we’re going to take a look at 5 more things that you should consider when choosing a domain name.
1. Target your local area
if you offer a specific service in a localized area, consider making the location part of the domain name. LasVegasHeatingCooling.com or ArizonaArts.com can help you get in front of customers in those areas, and the names are very memorable and relevant to the products or services.
This can also have some impact on the search engine rankings, as well, because when people search for a local HVAC company or art dealer, they’re likely going to type their location into the search bar in hopes of getting the most relevant results.
2. Do your research
It’s extremely important that you take the time and do the research to ensure that the name isn’t already trademarked or copyrighted by someone else. You also need to look into the history of the domain name and ensure that it wasn’t, at any point, owned by unscrupulous types.
Some domains have been owned by questionable companies who may have previously built a ton of links to it that all originate from questionable sites. If you buy a domain that is in this situation, you’re going to have an uphill battle to remove those links and start ranking well in the search engines.
On the other hand, you may find a domain that already has a significant number of valuable links pointing at it. In which case, you can leverage that authority to get a head start on your new business.
3. Be verbally pronounceable
Okay, you’ve got a short domain, you aren’t using any hyphens, it’s even fairly memorable. But can you pronounce it? And can you pronounce it properly?
Word of mouth can still affect a lot of your business, and that means that when someone recommends your site to someone else, it’s got to be something that rolls off the tongue. This is tied very closely to the rule about being memorable, but the actual pronunciation has implications for your overall brand. If you have to use a pronunciation key to make sure that everyone knows how to say your name right, you’ve already done something wrong.
The easier it is to say, the easier it is to think about, and then we’re more likely to remember it when the time comes to visit a website.
4. Don’t force keyword inclusion, but don’t forget it either
Keywords in the domain name can definitely have an impact on your search engine rankings, but not to the extent that they once did. Google doesn’t put as much emphasis on exact match keywords as it once did, but remember: the best optimization strategies focus on targeting the user as much as it does the search engine.
That means if someone is searching for specific words, they’ll be more likely to notice your site if those words appear in bold in your domain name.
Also, it’s important to remember that you may offer more than one product or service, so if this keyword doesn’t encapsulate your entire company, then you may want to avoid it.
5. Word associations may work
So, if keywords aren’t the best choice for your business, maybe an association with that keyword could be more effective. Say you want to sell books online, you could get a domain name like buybooksonline.com but that’s a little bit on the nose and doesn’t leave a lot of room for creative marketing and branding. booksellersellingbooks is likely overkill and clearly trying to fit in too many keywords.
Why not go for something that is associated with your industry, products, or services, but not tied directly to the keywords. ChapterHeading.com would have some wonderful branding potential while still being closely related to the products in question. CreasedSpine.com may be good for a used book store.
There are a lot of variables tied to choosing the perfect domain name for your company. Keep some of these guidelines in mind and you can get your business started on the right foot.