Things to keep in mind when choosing the perfect domain name for your business
Getting your domain name right is one of the most important things you can do for your business. Getting it wrong and having to change it later on can hurt your brand, interfere with whatever momentum you’ve built around your online collateral and damage your search engine rankings.
The following tips will help you with your choice and hopefully to avoid problems further down the track.
New domain extensions … a second chance?
New domain name extensions (such as .SYDNEY) make for different and clever domain names but can you trust them? We say not as much as you can trust a .com.au domain name. It’s the most established and credible however if your domain is taken and your target market is a city then .sydney or .melbourne might be a good 2nd choice at getting the name you want.
Keywords make your domain name stand out
The name of the game is getting noticed by search engines and then providing for a great user experience. The best way to tell search engines what you do is to include keywords in your domain name.The right keywords in your title, domain name and throughout your content, especially when you are consistently contributing new content, will significantly increase the likelihood of being found by search engines.
There is strong evidence to suggest that domain names that include keywords accounted for 63% of the top page search results. Obviously some industries were more prevalent with keywords than others, but across the board it is good practice.
Short domain names are best
Keep your domain name under 15 characters if you can. There are a couple of fundamental reasons for short domain names: They’re easy to remember; and it’s less likely that anybody could enter the wrong name or make mistakes when they search for your business.
Another mistake is long or complicated spelling that’s hard to remember and easy to mispel; that could mean the loss of more traffic … And on the subject of interpreting domain names, make them easy to pronounce. If people are passing on information about your business it doesn’t help if they can’t pronounce your domain name.
A unique domain is good for your brand
Avoid treading on competitor’s toes by using a trademarked name or a domain that’s either identical or identifiable with another business. But you do want to make your core activities as a business identifiable with the name of your business, so a clever domain name will really stand out in your audience’s minds.
For example, here at Online Consulting our marketing, and the hard work we put in for our customers, is built around making Online Consulting identifiable with digital marketing and as a website development company.
Therefore onlineconsulting.com.au is easier and more memorable than say, wedodigitalmarketing.com.au. Even though the temptation might be to spell it out for your audience and it may include some keywords, the down side is it’s a mouthful and as you’ll see further on, it’s limiting and a bit on the unimaginative side.
This in no way contradicts our earlier passage on the use of keywords. Use your business name and a / and then the keyword for the business activity.
Anyway, research other businesses in your area of expertise and see what they’re doing. Learn, but do your own thing!
Don’t use hyphens
… under any circumstances. They’re identifiable with spam domains and they spell warning signs for potential visitors to your site. Hyphens are also a sure sign that you’ve added a hyphen because the domain name that you wanted was already taken. That’s bad for two reasons: Firstly as a business you’re not very imaginative and a bit of a copy cat and secondly, if your audience skip the hyphen during their search they’re at the site of your competitor. Don’t do it.
Oh, and on the subject of adding characters because you missed out on the domain you wanted. Don’t use double letters ; for example oonlineconsulting.com.au or some derivative of that. Same issues with lacking imagination and the potential for spelling errors.
You may diversify, grow and expand your activities
Your niche business may not always be a niche business; you may want to expand your activities. In that case, your activities may expand and you may find that your domain name is too limiting. Getting so far in your business and then changing your domain name is what we warned against at the beginning of this article.
To use Online Consulting as an example again; we do pretty much everything to do with IT Consulting in Sydney so we are probably ok when it comes to diversifying our activities. But in the very unlikely event that we decided to sell widgets for some reason, then we would seriously need to consider changing our domain name to make it relevant to our new activities. That’s a pretty outlandish example, but it illustrates the point, have a bit of foresight when it comes to choosing your domain name.
We provide web hosting services on the Northern Beaches and IT support on the Northern Beaches. So if we had registered our domain name 10 years ago when we started out we would have neglected our later role in choosing effective domain names and business domain names across Sydney and all of our other activities to do with digital marketing, web development and IT support.