thought do you put into choosing a domain name?
Surely it's the easy part of setting up a website, right?
You could be missing out on well-deserved traffic and not even know it if you haven't been savvy about choosing your domain name.
So what can you do to make sure you're not sending your hard-earned traffic to someone else's website?
You need to put yourself in your customers' shoes. Say your fancied domain name out loud and see how many interpretations you can get out of it (you don't want more than one!).
If I said "Hey, check out my website called See Too", this could lead to numerous interpretations. Following are just a few examples:
And my actual
address might be see-too.net.
Of course it's not always possible to get a domain name that has only one interpretation (and even less likely you will get one ending in .com). In this case you need to take extra care to market your website as close to your domain name as you can. You might also buy the domain names for the other interpretations and set up redirects to your site.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- While it's not as important as it once was, using a keyword or phrase that you are trying to rank highly for in your domain name can be helpful. This goes hand in hand with the necessity of choosing a domain name that is related to the topic of your website, seeing as you will use this as the name of your website.
- Make sure the phrasing of your domain name makes sense, for example ‘dogbarkinghelp.com' is a lot better than ‘advisedogsbarking.com'. You want your domain name to be memorable, so keeping it short is also a good idea.
- Check if the term you want to use is trademarked. No-one wants the sting of receiving a cease and desist notice after they've put in the hard yards building backlinks for the domain and got it working as a good money earner. Contact your local Government Intellectual Property or Trademarks Office to check this out first.
- You will also want to check a domain name for penalties (for example penalties given to the previous domain owner for aggressive link building campaigns and so forth). You can do this by pointing a link to the domain from a trusted site, and waiting to see if Google will index it.
- .com's are the best. It's the default suffix for type-in traffic, and search engines will tend to return results for the .com equivalents first. However, if you're after local traffic then a local suffix, such as .co.nz, will actually work in your favor for search results.
- Don't use product names (unless it's your product). This isn't allowed, and would make it difficult for you to promote other products on your site.
- Use hyphens, numerals and words that are difficult to spell with caution.
- Don't place words that end and start with the same characters together (for example, worddrool.com). It's confusing and can be prone to typos.
- Be careful with words that are spelt one way in US English, and another in UK English (for example, ‘favour'). Try to use real words too (and avoid text language).*
- And finally, check your
spelling before clicking buy! It's not just our website visitors that can make
typing errors and I'm sure you don't want to end up with a misspelled domain
Are there any
other tips you have that would be useful for those at the stage of choosing a
domain name? Share your thoughts below.
*This is a general rule of thumb of course. ‘Affilorama' is not a real word, and once upon a time you wouldn't have heard of Facebook, eBay or Google either. Maybe you could invent a word, brand it well and be the next big thing too...