Choosing the right domain for your company or blog is one of the most important parts of the web design equation. For 99% of the projects we take on, the domain name is already part of the design equation. However, from time to time we are asked to consult on which domain will work best for a company, individual, or fresh business launch.
The domain name is a very important part of your online presence, and in a lot of cases will determine what your business name will be. It is a direct reflection of you brand and vision, and your URL helps people make that connection.
Below are a few guidelines and suggestions when it comes to choosing the right domain for your company or blog.
When first researching the right domain, you need to break down what it is your business does, and be able to describe it in 5 relevant keywords. For example, if you plan on creating a blog that is mostly centered around celebrity gossip, you would select keywords which describe what your blog content is about i.e.: celebrity, gossip, latest news, stars, entertainment. Once you have your keywords established you can start to pair suffix’s and prefix’s to come up with a catchy domain.
It is good practice to research your keywords, for current trends and marketability. Google offers a free tool to research your keywords, and how they currently stand in the market.
Choosing a domain that is unique is important. You do not want to get your domain mixed up with a similar site that is already established. It will make your marketing more difficult in the long term, trying to get top spots in Google Index. For example, if you are about to start a small video collection site, you would not want to call you domain tubeforyou.com because it carries with it two terms that are already very popular in search listings for youtube.com.
Your domain should be unique, and you should not hesitate to search all variances of the name you think you will select on Google search before setting your heart, and staking your name on a domain, that will be hard to rank in search engines.
If you’re not concerned with type-in traffic, branding or name recognition, you don’t need to worry about this one. For example we have chosen www.toodey.media because the entire domain name contains our company name, making it easily searchable and giving a good search rank. We also enjoy a good challenge, and believe that at some point people will break out of the .com molds.
However, if you are not a SEO person and don’t completely understand the ins-and-outs of how search engines work, you should consider all of these elements, and while directing traffic to a .net or .org is fine, owning the .com is critical. With the exception of the very tech-savvy, most people who use the web still make the automatic assumption that .com is all that’s out there – don’t make the mistake of locking out or losing traffic to this demographic.
Domain names that require a lot of typing should not be used. If your company name is Berkley Aquatic Fixtures, you would not want to choose berkleyaquaticfixtures.com, instead you would want to select berkley.com. Of course this is dependent upon domain name availability, but you get what we are saying here.
The main downside to not keeping your domain as short as possible, is that if your domain name is long and complex, you risk customers mistyping or misspelling it. Short and simple is the way to go.
Websites like United URL make it easy to determine availability of a domain name – just remember that you don’t have to buy through these services. You can find a name you like that’s available, then go to your registrar of choice. In addition most hosting companies have name suggestion tools to help you with your search.
When choosing the right domain, try to stay away from hyphens or numbers in the url. Both hyphens and numbers make it hard to give your domain name verbally when speaking to clients or customers and nullifies the above point on being easy to remember or type. We suggest not using spelled-out or roman numerals in domains, as both can be confusing and mistaken for the other.