How To Choose The Right Domain Name
Choosing the right domain name is an important part of marketing your business. If it has no relevance to what your business is about, you have lost a great opportunity to promote your company name. Think of your domain name as a title for your business, just like the title of a book and make it work for you.
Domain names should also be rich in keywords, not just because keywords are relevant to your business, but because search engine bots use your domain name to rank your website in their listings.
Find the right keywords
One of the first things to do is to find the right keywords to include in your domain name. You can get some help with this by using a keyword analyzer -- just put in some of the keywords that best describe or summarize your business or website and the analyzer will spit out the results for you.
Selecting a domain name
Once you have your keywords, you can choose a domain name for your website. Start by entering a keyword you want to use in your domain name and see what available domains come up -- this is a tool that should be available from the domain name company you use. If your keyword is available as a domain and the domain name makes sense and describes your business, then use it, otherwise you will have to explore different options.
You should be able to use your chosen keyword with some fillers – basically words and numbers within your domain name. This would be something like your keyword100, with 100 as the filler. Search engines tend to ignore these fillers.
Should you hold out for a .com domain name?
What if you can get all the keywords you want into your domain name but not with a .com extension -- should you go for a different extension such as .net, .biz or.org? A .com business does look more professional but with very popular keywords, it might be better to go for one of these lesser used extensions as they are still okay and are being used more and more as .coms are becoming less available. Be wary of using .org for a commercial business as this is frowned upon.
There is the question of whether the .com extension is overrated these days. People worry about getting a .com domain name and will go for a less effective domain name just to get a .com, but is this the best practice?
The best way of deciding this is to consider what your website aims to do. If it is simply an affiliate page where people will only visit once, then it doesn't really matter what your extension is. Also, if you are hoping for repeat visits from people looking for updated information on your site, then a .com extension is less crucial.
Actually, if you want your website to have a high search engine ranking -- and this is how you are going to get the most traffic -- the best strategy is to go for a domain name that is rich in keywords and memorable. If you have these two elements, it doesn't really matter what your extension is, so go for keywords first along with a relevant and memorable name that describes your business.
Another strategy when choosing domain names is to have several names that all point to your site. This makes it more likely that a search engine bot will index your site higher. Use your most memorable domain name for your customers and for use in all your marketing materials and the other domain names just for the purposes of SEO.
What about hyphenated domain names?
If you have found the perfect domain name but it has been taken by another company, should you put a hyphen in so that you can own the name as well? There are a couple of issues to consider.
Most people forget to include a hyphen and will just type the domain name without it -- that means the other company will get all your traffic. Definitely not what you want!
Conversely, the other thing to consider is that if your domain name is keyword rich, it has a better chance of getting a higher ranking in the search engine than a different name without those keywords. Also, if your website has a high search engine ranking, people don't generally need to type your domain name in, they just click on a link in the search engine results. Once they have been to your site, they might bookmark it if they like it making the need to type your URL into a browser fairly redundant.
So you have to decide between losing some customers who are typing in your domain name (perhaps from printed adverts) and forgetting the hyphen or going for a better chance of getting listed high on the search engines.
It might all depend on how you plan to do most of your marketing. If you're marketing online, you can provide links which will take your visitors directly to your site without having to type in a domain name. However if you are planning to do a lot of marketing in printed media, then you might have more of a problem with people forgetting to type in the hyphen.