Selecting a domain name is one of the first steps to consider when building a new website. If you really want to make money online, start with a solid foundation – a memorable and search engine friendly domain name. Your website’s domain name affects it in every area, including search engine optimization (SEO) and social media marketing (SMM). Over the years, with the need to improve website visibility on the internet and page rankings, some individuals decided to put the keyword of their websites in their domain names.
To increase the visibility of their websites on the internet, some individuals choose domains contained with keywords about their website. For years, SEO experts increased a website’s click-through rate (CTR) by placing the site’s target keyword in the domain name. For a time, this technique worked as the site gained better rankings with search engines, and then people started to get exact match domains (EMDs). This is when the site’s domain is the keyword, for example, if a site’s target keyword is “used phone retailer”, the sites domain name would be registered as usedphoneretailer.com.
This technique worked well for a specific period, to improve the search engine ranking of a website. However, in 2012, Google released the EMD update. This is a filter that prevents poor quality sites from ranking well just because they have a keyword in their domain name. With this, the cheat sheet was torn and SEO experts went back to the drawing board. Now you actually need quality content and regular updates to get a better ranking. Keyword domains still offer some benefits if you take the time to manage your site properly but building your brand might be a better decision in the long term.
Branding is important. To run any business today, you have to take your brand into consideration at all times. Branding your domain shows that you believe in the strength of your brand. It also shows your clients that your business is uniform and it increases the weight of your brand. If your online store name is Zuplux, try to get a domain name with Zuplux as the subject (and better yet just Zuplux.com). This also makes your brand easily recognisable and easily found when searched for on the web. It also helps to make your social media marketing (SMM) more straightforward. Branded domain names help a website maintain authority and an identity, The Guardian’s top 50 most powerful blogs use branded domains to further show the power of pushing a brand.
You can also incorporate both into your domain name and you can choose a brand name that already incorporates your keyword. One big website that does this is Engadget.
Think about your future
Whatever format you want to use, be it keyword domain or branded domain, make sure you take out adequate planning before doing so. You have to think about the future of your website, would it remain the same no matter how successful it gets? Or would you expand the website and it becomes more than what it is when you start? Try to pick a name that would accommodate your future plans because you don’t want to outgrow your domain name. For example, you don’t want to start a website about selling vegetables and call it Vegetabletrader.com. Then expand to selling more than just vegetables- your domain name would not properly fit anymore.
You also have to choose a name that’s not bound to get old soon like if the domain of your website revolves around a currently trending topic, for example, a dance instructor who builds a website and gets a domain name like DabbingTrey.com, eventually the dab (a dance move) would stop being trendy and the name would seem out dated and overused.
The maximum number of characters you can have in a domain name left of the dot is 63, but it is generally more advisable (as the average domain length is around 6 characters long) to use short domain names because shorter names are easier to remember by your audience and customers. Picking a short domain name is advised, but don’t pick a short one that’s not easy to remember, for instance rty678.com is not a memorable domain name, and that would be lost quickly in your user’s memory. You have to combine short length with memorability, for instance crankjack.com is longer than rty678.com, but it is much more memorable.
Also, you have to consider how the name would be pronounced and if it is not a name that can be easily misspelt by people. Word of mouth referrals help a lot of websites thrive so consider making your domain name one that would be written as read without causing confusion.
There are quite a number of options when it comes to picking up the extension to use after your domain name (.com, .net, .org, etc.). The most popular domain extension is the .com and most users type this in without even thinking. It is advisable to use the .com extension especially when you want to reach a global audience, but based on some other factors like legalities and target audience, you may decide to use another extension, for example, if your website is aimed at members of a particular country, it is worth considering a local extension. For instance, a website aimed at Australians you can use the .au domain. This would make it easier for search engines to index you in the area.
Getting outside opinion when choosing a domain name is advisable. Bounce the name off a few friends. You can become too focused on picking the right name based on your own preferences and forget how others might receive it. Also, you might want to research the possible meanings of your domain name across the world, as different words have different connotations depending on where in the world it is read. You don’t want to unintentionally slight your target audience.
All that being said, there’s more to a website’s success than just the domain name, you still have to work hard, but a great domain name gets you off to a good start. Pick a good domain name and register with a great domain name registrar today and get to work.