When starting a new business, no matter what niche you reside in, one of the most crucial decisions you will make is choosing the right domain name. The name has to be memorable, relevant and simple so potential customers can find your site easily. If you end up with a domain that is complicated or incompatible with your business, chances are you won’t get much traffic.
The domain name your business ends up touting can have either major benefits or major drawbacks related to SEO depending on how well it is constructed.
To ensure that you do not end up will a regrettable name that will prevent you from making it big, here are several vital elements to a domain name with serious SEO value.
Keep it Catchy and Concise
A domain name with a hook can be an invaluable asset to your business and marketing endeavors. Having a great product or service is all well and good, but if people are unable to find your offerings online, it truly doesn’t matter how good these commodities are.
The first thing you’ll want to do is sit down and brainstorm keywords that are related to your business and that you are trying to rank for. For instance, if you are in the clothing business, words like, “clothes,” “garments” and “wardrobe” would all be acceptable.
You will also want to ensure that your domain is unique. If you end up with a name that can easily be confused with other brands, you will likely just be sending your business to your rivals. Be on the lookout for domains that have plural, misspelled, or hyphenated versions and avoid those at all costs.
For your site to gain the traffic it needs to compete with already established businesses, it needs to be memorable. For this to be accomplished, keep the name as short as possible yet still related to your market. Also, be sure that it is easy to type too; if you have to breakdown how to spell your domain name, you’re doing it wrong.
There’s a bona fide trend around domains with unique word spellings; feel free to get creative. These can be the perfect solution to limited domain options but a familiar sounding word. Just accept you’ll have to educate your audience about what the word really means because it will likely not be obvious. Since no solution is problem-free these days, this is a very viable option.
Make it Meaningful
While a catchy domain name is important to have, it also needs to reflect meaning and create (and fulfill) an expectation. When it comes to content, only two out of every 10 people will read past the headline. In all honesty, a domain name is nothing more than your website’s headline, so approach this like you would for a content title; with intent to hook the reader while clearly reflecting the subject matter ahead.
Your domain name should say something meaningful to the potential visitor and let them know they have found exactly what they are searching for. Associate words that clearly reflect what your company does. For example, no one would know what Amazon.com does without its global reputation, however, without visiting WebMD.com you know exactly what to expect. Be sure that visitors will know precisely what your business is about before even clicking on your site.
Steer Clear of Numbers
Sometimes selecting a domain name can be exceptionally difficult simply because of availability issues. For this reason, people often resort to utilizing numbers; this is almost always a bad idea. The only time using numbers is acceptable would be in instances such as 247newyorktaxi.com or online365.com. If you are looking to save space by using numbers to replace words like “to” and “for,” don’t. This is not only tacky and outdated but it will often confuse your customers and cause them to search multiple times. If a potential visitor needs to make several attempts at finding your domain, chances are that they will move on to another site fairly quickly.
Another element to avoid in your domain name is hyphens. This poses the same misspelling problem as numbers do and you could potentially be sending visitors to one of your competitors. Additionally, Google isn’t too keen on sites that utilize these characters so it is best to bypass them altogether.
Creativity Versus Uniformity
Coming back to the availability issue of domain names, often times all the best, wittiest, and catchiest .com and .net names are already spoken for. While these types of addresses often times build trust, it can still be difficult to find an appropriate and powerful name that falls under these categories. For this reason, it may be useful to flex your creative muscles.
Recently, new domain endings such as .me have become available and are growing in popularity; even big name brands are getting in on the action.
Mercedes-Benz recently employed domain.me for one of its marketing campaigns which allowed for a series of clever domain names such as move.me to be created. If you are having trouble obtaining a .com address that you feel will be beneficial to your business, it may be best to consider one of these types of alternatives.
Your domain name is one of the most significant assets your company owns. Be sure to take the time to cultivate something that is relevant, memorable and meaningful to get the most benefit and traffic possible.
What do you consider paramount when searching for a powerful domain name? How has your company’s domain affected your business positively or negatively?
By Tina Courtney-Brown