If you’re in the position to choose a domain name, you have a unique opportunity. You can’t imagine how many businesses have invested effort, time, and money into a domain name that they desperately wish they could time travel back to change.
When they started out, those business owners treated their domain name like an address to a bricks and mortar location. As long as you give the address to people, does the name really matter that much?
Yes! Never choose a domain name in that frame of mind. A domain name has a huge impact on:
- Click through rate.
- Brand identity.
- Domain authority.
- SEO (search engine optimization).
- Repeat website traffic.
- Online and offline advertising.
Now that you know the gravity of this decision, consider the following points before choosing a domain name.
Make sure there aren’t similar domains out there.
Have you ever had an amazing idea, only to realize subsequently you had picked it up from somewhere else? After you’ve narrowed domain names down to your top choices, conduct a search to ensure your idea hasn’t just been copied and was floating around in your subconscious.
Having a copycat domain name is more than just embarrassing, it can result in legal action. For example, the story of Candyland.
Once upon a time there was a fun board game for children called Candyland. Candyland was published by the toy company Hasbro. Sadly for Hasbro, when they went to purchase the domain name candyland.com, it had already been bought by an entirely different industry. Luckily for them, all it took was a good lawyer to get the domain name out of the hands of an adult entertainment provider.
Remember this story, and do your research before accidentally infringing on a trademark.
Try for .com whenever possible.
.net, .us, .me, .city, .design.. Or our own personal favorite, .biz.. There are all kinds of alternatives for a .com domain.
We’re all for creativity and standing out from the crowd, but when it comes down to it you should always give .com the old one-two. It’s famous and it’s a classic.
Don’t choose an exact match domain name.
What is an exact match domain name you ask? Exact match domains are a group of keywords, or an entire phrase entered into searches.
At first thought it may sound like a genius idea to pick a domain name that is an exact match to keywords. In fact, thousands of others thought this would be a great idea as well.
Before 2012, people were scooping up exact match domain names left and right. Without any hard work or establishing a credible reputation, they’d be ranking number one for those searches. It didn’t take Google long to catch onto this and come up with a solution.
In September of 2012, former head of the Google webspam team Matt Cutts announced, “Minor weather report: small upcoming Google algo change will reduce low-quality “exact-match” domains in search results.”
While speculation remains that exact match domains still have a level of success, it’s best to avoid them.
When in doubt, go the route that Google is driving towards. #SEO@OSC_WebDesign
Use your brand name as a domain name.
If possible, use your brand name as a domain name. Heck, we’d even recommend seeing what’s available for domain names prior to naming your business. That’s how important domain names are.
Incorporating your brand name in the domain helps promote brand recognition, it’s easier to remember, and it has a rising importance for SEO. Google is optimizing to focus more and more on brand signals.
Each time a user searches your brand name in Google, that indicates that your brand is credible and ultimately something that people want to find. When your domain name is your brand name, it gives searchers all the more reason to remember it and type it into their next search.
Look at strong businesses with high ranks for example.
If you don’t believe us and are convinced you’re going to be the next owner of ‘orderchocolate.com’ – the proof is in the pudding. While creative domain names like chocomize.com are ranking in the top three of search engine results for ‘chocolate website’..
Orderchocolate.com has been listed for sale and is bringing in diddly squat for revenue.
Choosing a domain name is an adventure and should be fun. Enjoy it! This opportunity doesn’t come around often. So get creative and search what’s available with a hosting company (our personal favorite is GoDaddy).