The domain name of a website is just one of the many factors used by search engines to position the website in search results. But when every website owner strives to be on page one of Google, choosing a good domain name is another opportunity to score points.
Experience tells us a domain name should be all of these:
1) Easy to remember
2) Contain key search word or words.
3) Not similar to existing names.
Easy to remember
Domain names are allowed to contain up to 67 characters. One client wanted us to register a name he had created with 54 characters.
It certainly contained key search words and was nothing like any existing name. But when I asked the client to repeat the name so that I could check what I had written down, the client himself had forgotten the exact name.
A name which is easy to remember helps customers of a website come back for repeat business. It also helps them refer the website to other people.
One client wanted a name made from the two initials of each of his three children. That was certainly very easy for him to remember and made a new word that could be pronounced although it didn`t mean anything. But did he expect everyone else to know the first and middle names of his three children, or even that he had children?
It`s okay to have two names, one for search engines and a short one for emails, both opening the same website.
Contain key search word or words
This is another opportunity to get your website indexed by Google under your key search words. What are the key words that you want people to search Google for and find your website?
If you are an electrician in Kentucky then electriciankentucky.com is the best name for you. But that`s already taken. So you can qualify the name with say your name. E.g. smithselectricianskentucky.com
We find some people want their personal name for a domain name, e.g. joesmith.com. This is fine if Joe Smith is already a celebrity and a lot of people know him, but not if he wants people who don`t know him to find his website. Personal names for domain names are suitable for politicians, authors, artists, musicians, film stars, sports stars and celebrities.
A client wanted a name for his business website which didn`t represent any product or service, i.e. with no key words. When asked why, he explained that he wanted to keep the name available to cover any future business that he might expand into. Well the answer is that without keywords in the name he must work much harder to become big enough to expand into other businesses. We suggest future businesses deserve their own name.
Even businesses on the main street recognize the importance of keywords. E.g. you don`t see a butchers shop without signage that says “Butcher” even though you get a clue from the meat in the shop window.
Not similar to existing names
Naturally if your name is similar to an existing name then its possible the existing name already has a good position in search engines. Then the existing name will be listed before your new name and steal your potential visitors.
One client chose a good name that included two key search words. They then found that name existed with just an “s” on the end. Beware of plurals and singulars of a name that you choose.
Some people try to start up with the .net version of a .com name. This is like hitting your head against a brick wall. If someone has established a position in the search engines with a .com name then it will not be easy to take that position from them with the .net version.
Put your energy into selecting an original name that can`t be confused with another.
To give a domain name every chance of success, make it easy to remember, contain key words and be not simiar to an existing name.
Another factor considered by search engines is the age of a name, so do select a name that won`t give you cause to start again in the future with a new name. Choose a name you can stay with.
These articles were first published on www.platywebs.com.au and have been re-published on many other websites and ezines over the years. New readers are still finding them to be of value and up to date with today’s conditions. We believe they illustrate common sense and the value of thinking through situations. Please check out the other articles advising on small business, web design, search engine optimisation, web hosting and domain names.