How to Choose A Domain Name That Best Represents Your Online Business

choose a domain name

One of the most difficult decisions to make when starting a online business is choosing a domain name that best represents your company.

There are 2 ways to go:

  1. Brandable Domain Name
  2. Keywords Within Domain

Let’s look at the pros and cons of each:

Brandable Domain Name

Pros

1. Differentiate your business from competitors

Many large corporations select a domain name that brands their business for years to come by investing large amounts of advertising money to make it stick in peoples’ minds.

Examples:
Some of the most notable companies such as Apple, Yahoo, Google, Verizon don’t use keywords in their domain name. If you’re a small business that doesn’t have a large advertising budget it will be harder to brand your company however you can build it up over time.

2. Resale value

If you wanted to sell your business a branded domain name would be easy to transfer to another owner provided it didn’t have your own name in it.

3. Avoid search engine penalties

On September 28th, 2012 Google announced an algorithmic change for exact match domains (EMDs). This refers to using the using the exact keywords in a domain. For example [web design in maryland] is an exact keyword phrase. If I registered a domain containing those exact keywords Google would penalize it by lowering it’s rankings.

Selecting a brandable domain name avoids any penalty from Google because it doesn’t include exact match keywords.

Cons

1. Takes time to establish a brand

If you’re starting your business from scratch it will take a long time for your potential customers to recognize your brand unless you have deep pockets.

2. New visitors won’t immediately identify what your business is about

When a new customer first hears or sees your brand name they won’t have a clue what you’re selling because there are no keywords in the name.

Watch on YouTube: How To Choose A Domain Name

Keywords in Domain Name

Pros

1. Easily identifies what your business is about

Having a keyword related to the topic of your business within the domain name helps visitors to immediately know what your business is about. For instance my main website iSiteBuild.com infers the business is about building websites.

2. Helps search engine rankings

A keyword-rich domain name that reflects your business may help search engine spiders index and rank your site because search engines rank sites according to the keywords used.

Also when someone links to your site without using anchor text (linked text) you’ll still receive some benefit because your keywords are included in the domain name.

Note: Keywords within a domain are not necessary for gaining high rankings if they can be included in the title and description meta tags. These carry more weight than a keyword-laden domain name.

Cons

Since Google penalizes exact match domains it would be better to avoid using any keywords in a new domain when registering it . It also may adjust its algorithims in the future to penalize all domains containing any keywords resulting in lost sales.

Here are 10 steps for registering a new domain name

1. Keep it short and relevant
2. Make it easy to remember
3. Avoid using dashes between words
4. Register it for several years to reduce the costs of higher renewal fees
5. Make contact information private to avoid spammers
6. Register the domain in your own name or your company name
7. Brainstorm an appropriate Brand Name
8. Register the .com extension if it’s available
9. Register alternative extensions to avoid copy cats ie .net, .info, .org, etc.
10. Set-up auto renewal to prevent the loss of your domain name

One of the biggest problems when registering a new domain name is that all the .com addresses have been taken therefore you have to get creative.

For Example
Say I wanted to sell soft slippers. A quick check on GoDaddy shows softslippers.com is already taken however if I place the number 1 in front (ie 1softslippers.com) it shows it’s available (for now).

Alternatively you could register a domain name using different extensions ie

1SOFTSLIPPERS.NET
1SOFTSLIPPERS.ORG
1SOFTSLIPPERS.INFO

Another alternative is to think of a unique brand name. This avoids the hassle of selecting a name someone already owns.

Follow the steps above next time you need to choose a domain name that best represents your online business. It will help you avoid future hassles.

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Comments

  1. If you want to build something long-term, going with a brandable domain name (which can, of course, contain keywords) might be a good idea. In the long run, SEO benefits from keyword-laden domain names are modest. Also, brandable and catchy names get shared much more likely in social media, which is highly beneficial from the SEO perspective.

    Of course, the ideal situation would be to somehow combine brandability and keywords.

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