When creating any website or blog, there are going to be a number of factors that play a big part in it’s overall success. These include the content and search engine optimisation, but ultimately the domain name is probably the most valuable asset, so selecting the correct domain name is crucial.
Here are a few pointers to choosing the right domain name:
Choosing the right domain name extension
The domain name extension can play a very big part in the success of your website, and choosing the wrong one can be a deal breaker as far as the success of your site goes in the long-term. Understanding which extension to use even before choosing the domain name is important.
.Com – Commercial, global domain name. If you are setting up a website for a global audience you want to be a commercial entity. The .com domain name is designed to also rank better for this reason.
If you plan on creating a site just for your local area or country than choose your local regional domain extension (eg, .ca for Canada, .com.au for Australia, etc) If you are in the USA then just stick with the .com.
You’ll find Google will rank the local domains differently from the .com global domains when you do your search locally, and is more likely to usually show a local site closest to your regional location first. For example, here in Australia if I do a search for ‘English furniture’, I will be shown .com.au sites sleling english furniture rather than sites in England.
Other domain extensions you should avoid if you are setting up a commercial site or blog are .net (network domains), .org (organisation domains), or anything other than the .com
These domains have a purpose (eg .net domains are used by internal networks) and therefore aren’t set to rank well. Avoid any of the new ‘top-level’ domains such as yourname.travel as these are only going to work if you are prepared to visually market the domain on billboards, magazines etc. They won’t rank well organically, ever.
Make it Memorable
If you are starting a blog or an online business you want to ensure that people remember the name. A catchy domain name can create interest, and as you build an authority ranking you’ll find the domain name will rank just as well as any other name. Let’s look at examples such as ‘Google’, ‘Linkedin’, ‘Fiverr’, ‘Upwork’ etc.
Don’t make it too long!
A long domain name not only increases your chance of people incorrectly spelling the domain or confusing it with other long domains, but can become an issue when it comes to creating banner ads, business cards or even social media accounts where the domain is simply too long. Keep it short, simple and memorable.
Some SEO experts will argue that keyword-rich domains have less value now than they used to, but do a search for two or three words on a Google search and you’ll find in most instances at least a few of the top 10 results will have one or both words in the domain name, with the remaining ones using their authority ranking and SEO to get them on the first page.
A keyword rich domain name may not be ideal for your site if you want something catchy, but if you are providing a professional service, for example ‘Boston Lawyers’, than the obvious and best choice would be bostonlaw.com or bostonlaywers.com, if it is available.
Searching for available domain names:
When it comes to registering your domain name, don’t be surprised if you can’t get the first choice, as anyone can register a domain name. So go to a site such as Godaddy.com first and see if the domain name is available. If it is, don’t procrastinate about it too long..buy it! There is software available that allows others to see what domains are being searched, and some will work on an opportunity to buy it first and then offer it to you at a premium price. Godaddy.com offers domains for around $10 per year, so grab it while you can.
Trademark your domain name
Just because you have registered your domain doesn’t mean you actually own it. When you register a domain name you are ultimately just buying the the licence to use the domain name. This means that any domain is open for dispute, so ensure you trademark the domain name for online use, particularly if it is a word you created yourself (eg Google), so that if anyone contests ownership of the domain you are safe from losing it. The domain name authorities can take the domain from you if they feel a registered company with the same name has an entitlement to that domain name., even if you have ‘owned’ it for years.
It’s an extra cost, but worth protecting the name if it is your revenue earner.