Your domain name can make or break your business. Choose a catchy one that is easy to remember and your name will stick in people’s minds. Choose one that is the opposite and it will slip like water through the sieve of people’s attention. In fact, that isn’t the worst thing that can happen. You might choose a name too close to somebody else and – in which case your entire marketing campaign might benefit them more than it benefits you.
Now that can’t be the point, can it?
In this post, we’re going to look at some of the things you can do to make certain your domain name is the right one for your company, so that it screams personality, beckons visitors and make your partner jealous as you keep whispering it just before you go to sleep.
Make certain it’s both easy to remember and easy type. It seems so easy and so straightforward, but it is something often forgotten. Shorter is definitely better than longer and strange words that can be spelled in many different ways (affect, effect, evict?) are going to be trouble.
Avoid slang if you can. Don’t miss spell ‘you’ as ‘u’ and don’t choose to use ‘nite’ instead of ‘night’ unless your audience really digs that kind of thing.
It’s related to what you’re doing
Again, pretty obvious, but still essential. If you’re going to be writing about the nature of reality, then ‘bob’s pluming’ might not be the best name to go with (Though in a weird way it kind of works…)
A big thing to consider as you’re trying to decide what name to go with is that it isn’t too close to any of your competitors, as this will both confuse your audience, as they’ll struggle to keep your two brands apart. It can also lead to your marketing campaign ending up boosting your competition.
Think that it’s a good strategy to imitate a successful competitor? Think again. Chances are that they’re far more optimized for search engines. That means that if people are searching for your company or theirs, your competitor’s company will shop up first. And that is obviously the last thing you want since most traffic goes to the first few entries.
To make certain that a name is not close to anybody, make certain you search incognito. This will make certain Google doesn’t use what you’ve searched before to figure out what you want to see, making it more likely that you’ll actually get an honest report closer to what an average user might see.
Even better than just using words that are related to what you’re doing, try to add a few keywords into your domain name. Why? Because that will immediately boost your SEO, or search engine optimization. What that means is that the search engines (or google) assume that if the keywords are in your domain name, then chances are might higher that you know something about this topic and are therefore far more likely to steer traffic your way.
So if you make pots, then including the word ‘pottery’ in your domain name might well be a good idea.
Location, location, location
You’ve got an actual brick and mortar place of business? Then include it in your domain name! It will again help with SEO purposes and will also make it more likely that people from your neighborhood know that you’re in their neighborhood!
And that will ultimately be useful to your customers – particularly if they’re actually looking for a plumber.
No to numbers and strange characters
Don’t do numbers. They cause all kinds of headaches for people. For example, if you tell somebody your domain is ‘porn four you’ they won’t know if you mean the number or if it’s spelled out (or they might think it’s ‘for’ all along). So try to avoid that.
Porn-4-u is even worse, as people are probably going to end up forgetting the actual dashes and then you’re even further from home! (We’ve already discussed why you shouldn’t miss spelling words like ‘you’ above, so I’m not going to get into that here as well).
The dot com ending?
Should you have a top level domain because it will rank higher in google? This is apparently a myth going around. It isn’t true. The people at Google themselves have made this clear over four years ago.
That isn’t to say that you shouldn’t dot com.
Dot-coms are easier to remember, which means that your overall domain name will be easier to remember as well. What’s more, people assume it’s professional. For example in the list of the best writing services, sites mostly provided with the words “essay, paper, writing” and dot com at the end.
Of course, if you’re residing in a particular place, for example, Italy or Taiwan, then using those alternative names might actually be a good idea, as it again tells people about your geographical location and lets google know where you’re meant to be located as well.
What’s more, it can be hard to find a dot com that also obeys all of the other rules I outlined above, as this domain name has been around a long time and most of the names have been accounted for. In that case, it might be better to try for something different. There are a lot of options out there.
Protect your brand name
Make certain that you don’t just grab your own domain name, but the whole neighborhood if you can. This will prevent those with fewer scruples from grabbing those of your visitors who might have accidentally misspelled your name and directing them towards another website.
This does happen, particularly if your brand becomes very popular or your product is very valuable.
The best way to prevent this from happening is simply to register a whole group of domain names that are close to what you’ve got and have them all redirect towards your main page. If you’ve found some area that has not been accounted for by anybody else yet, buying up those extra pages will only cost you a few bucks more. So why not be safe rather than sorry?
Domain names get picked up. There is, in fact, a whole business of people who domain name park. They buy up names that look promising and then wait for you to try to buy them back. The domain registration companies try to fight this kind of thing, but it isn’t easy.
And so, if you’ve already got a company that exists physically, make certain you snap up the domain names before anybody else does because that’s exactly the kind of thing these people are looking for.
Don’t decide to use it in the end? The let it go again. It will only have cost you a few cups of coffee. And that’s a great deal nicer than having to pay some jerk hundred (even thousands) of dollars to give you the domain name you really want, just because they beat you to it.
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About the author: Elaina Meiser is a graduate student and an enthusiastic blogger. Elaina loves creative arts, different tips & tricks guides, excursion and backpacking trips. You can follow her on Twitter @ElainaMeiser.
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