Creating a new website is a whole new exciting ball game, but it also requires strategic thought. Sure, you can pluck the first name that comes into your mind, but will it be memorable? Next, you’re going to need a place to host your website. Rather like buying a slice of real estate, this will be your virtual place of business. It will have an address so that you’re locatable online and it will have a memorable name that will be easy to remember and difficult to forget.
This is not something you leap into without due consideration to what you are all about, what you intend to market and what your market niche is. There are literally thousands upon thousands of names to choose and to make matters a little more overwhelming, you also have the choice of extension. There is no earthly reason to leap into something as important as your new domain name until you’ve given it the thought it deserves. You wouldn’t buy a home without giving it serious thought so why just jump in and choose a random name.
The name will brand you. It will be the inspiration for your logo. In a word, this is probably going to turn out to be one of the biggest decisions you’ll make. Imagine choosing a domain name that didn’t really resonate. Now turn that image into a home that doesn’t really resonate with your personality, your character, the essence of who you are. You bought it. You’re going to have to live in it.
We’re going to take the whelm out of the over and toss as much information as we can at you. It will all make sense because none of us enjoy making a bad investment.
First things first, we’re going to provide some tips and ways to consider so that you not only enjoy the exercise but you’re assured of choosing exactly the right name that reflects who you are.
Is it Wise to Use Keyword Based Domains?
Way back in the early days, say about six years ago, yes it would have been. Often, when one was searching for information on how to climb the SEO ladder, it was considered sensible to have a keyword based URL and Google Penguin didn’t exist. But Google refined their algorithm updates which means any SEO tactics you might try to get a leg up in the unearned ranks will be useless.
That doesn’t by any lengths mean that you should rule out the use of keywords in your domain name all together. It does mean however, that a URL stuffed with keywords doesn’t seem to arouse the SEO any more. When you consider a domain name, if you’re going to use keywords, rest assured they’re going to give potential visitors an understanding of what you’re all about, and you probably won’t get a stern warning from Google via a slap on the wrist.
Let’s say you are an interior designer; your site will focus on your expertise; your domain name may be openplanliving.com which gives us an idea that you are about homes. Digging a little deeper, intrigue sets the wheels in motion, and someone clicks on your website. But, given the name has several facets that reflect upon the suggestion that it is, in fact, a dwelling, it doesn’t mean it’s going to hit the Google High Striker.
5 Guidelines when Choosing a Domain Name
We talked earlier about potential branding; a logo and this is where the thought processes begin to meld.
A brandable name should not be put on the back burner. It needs to be dealt with before anything else it put into motion.
Because Google loves brands. Brands are valuable, and they’re unique, and they come with an eventual stamp of approval. Any blog or website that has built a good following, a great brand and reputation, think Amazon, Google gravitates to it like a moth to a flame. Names that are memorable standout. They can also do a lot without your having to do very much except keep your blog up to date. So choosing a name that will assist in building your brand and make it easier for people to find you will be a boon to you. Complex names by the way, also went out the window when Penguin waddled in.
The Dot Com
Without a doubt, it’s the dot com that has the authority. It is on the top shelf, and as people became used to it, anything other than a dot com made one think twice about the site. There’s a whole lot of trust involved and whether it’s just psychological is debatable, but SEO’s seem to favour the dot com better.
One is often encouraged to buy the dot com and then buy a secondary extension so that it locks your domain in your own garage. For example, openplanliving.com and an additional domain like openplanliving.com.au or openplanliving.org might be your choice, but also too it is encouraged that you buy the dot net. Maybe it’s just me, but there doesn’t seem to have that authenticity about the extra extension, or in the latter case, none at all.
On the unbuttered side, there is also the variation that needs consideration. For instance, if you run a not for profit organisation then you would probably consider a dot org.
Keep it short and simple. Simply because it is easy to remember. And for good measure, we’ve thrown in some examples for inspiration.
They are short and sweet. They are easy to remember, and their brands are so well established they’re etched into the minds of billions of people all over the world. They’re unique and while they are easy to remember and hard to forget, they are the catalysts of brand building and building a brand is what Google focuses on.
You must be unique. You are as unique as your name. A domain name needs to be similarly unique so that it isn’t mistaken for someone else’s site. Even similar domain names have had people driven mad that they’ve clicked right off both of them vowing never to return and they usually don’t.
Ditch the Hyphen
A hyphen is like a cough or a stammer. And the real truth of the matter is the name you wanted is already registered so a hyphen would suffice, wouldn’t it? Read the paragraph above. I rest my case in that regard.
Finding a Great Name
- GoDaddy is probably the first name that crops up. With much of their experience buried deep in the first launching days of the internet, GoDaddy is where expertise is. They offer very good prices when you register with them for the first time. However, renewal with GoDaddy is a little more expensive when it’s time to renew your domain. The WHOis privacy, a necessity, is not free and the average cost to renew a domain for two years is about $50. They also auction domains which give you an opportunity to buy from someone who has the URL you’re looking for.
- crazydomains.com.au denotes crazy prices rather than crazy names. This is where you can register and purchase your new domain name at very affordable prices. They also offer free domain management, parking and transfer. A dot com will set you back about $12.50 per year and a dot net $11.50.
To be competitive, many host providers offer a buy one get one free package when you sign up which adds to a convenience factor. Having all your eggs in one basket as it were, rather than separating your domain name and your provider seems the better way to go. Bluehost offers a free URL when you sign up with them and with around twenty providers world wide, provides unlimited hosting, hosting space, file transfer, email accounts and a free domain name complete with free site builder.
The above guidelines are provided to do just that, give you guidance.
As stated, and we’ll reiterate, time for consideration is paramount. You don’t want to register and purchase a domain that does nothing but irritates you for the next 12 months or two years. However, you opted to pay for it. The domain you choose will reflect your uniqueness, your individuality and your brand. It will also give you the incentive to post attractive visuals, great content and a trumpet call that sounds shouts, “I’ve arrived”.
Enjoy your new property.