Domain name is an integral part of online marketing. Selection of a right domain name for online business has over the years been a source of debate among webmasters and online marketers. Many issues were generated on how to choose proper domain names. This is not unexpected as having a great perfect domain name for a business website is a fundamental factor to the success of the businesses in the internet crowds.
There are lots of resources on the web which discuss tips and clues for choosing a winning name for business online. Lots of information sprang out questions more than answered. I hope this article will put light on the issues based on what is obtainable on the internet at present. This article explains 3 cardinal issues on registering a perfect domain name:
- Domain Name Questions: This answers burning questions on choosing a right domain name for online business.
- Domain Name Checklist: It provides a quick way to check the quality score of your chosen name
- Domain Name Quick Tips: Read this quick tips to get right domain name registered in no time.
Domain Name Questions
1. Long or short domain names
2. Generic or brand names
3. Should domain names contain hyphen?
4. .COM, .NET, .ORG, which domain extension should I use?
5. Is singular domain name anyway preferable to plural name?
7. Should I use number (0,1, 2, 3 …9)?
8. Which abbreviation is right?
Long or short domain
Domain name can be as long as 67 characters. This gives room to come up with a domain name that is self-explanatory (domain name that can explain what the business is all about by itself). Some webmasters and internet marketers held the belief that a long, keyword-rich domain names helps influence Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This is not really true nowadays and if it is, has little effect on the search engine result pages (SERPs). The Google search engine now places penalties on Exact Match (EM) Keyword domain names through its Penguin update unless the effect of such over-optimization is annulled on page contents. The key here is picking the shortest possible meaningful characters for your domain names.
The shorter the domain name, the better.
Generic or brand name domains
Some webmasters conceive that your domain name needs to be a generic name like coal.com, gate.com or car.com. The fact is that almost all single words generic names are not available for new registration and, can cost you a fortune if you are to purchase the names on a premium domain marketplace.
If you have a particular business brand name that you want to place online or promote a brand product online, you can easily go for a brand name describing the business. For example, in a car market, Toyota is a brand, Mercedes is a brand, and Peugeot is a brand. So, if you want to promote a Peugeot car, registering a domain name that contains the brand Peugeot is more targeting and can attract more visitors.
Both generic and brand domain names attract type-in-traffic, especially if the brand is well-known. If you don’t have a brand, why not start working to build one?
- Brand names create a unique feel for your business
- Brand domain name converts traffic better
- Brand names aid your marketing and advertising campaign
- Brand names can easily be coined and registered for all desired Top Level Domains (TLDs)
LinkedIn.com, Adobe.com, WordPress.com, MSN.com, eBay.com, WallMart.com, Google.com, Yahoo.com, and Bing.com are online brands known with personalities and businesses. For what brand you want to be known? Start building your brand now.
Register a short brand name or go for brandable generic name for your business.
Should domain names contain hyphen?
Hyphenated domain names were given preference for readability and the ability to spell out words on exact match keywords for SEO purpose; it is not an effective SEO strategy as it was. With recent update of search engine algorithm, hyphenated names have little or no effect in SERPs. Hyphenated names, on the other hand, are very poor in generating direct traffic. How many times have you typed in a hyphenated domain name in your browser? Unless you want to solely rely on search engine traffic, don’t consider hyphenated names.
- Hyphenated names have speakability and spelling difficulty
- They are not easy to type and so reduce type-in traffic
- Hyphenated names are not easily branded
- They look horribly
- Names containing hyphens are not easy to remember
.COM, .NET, .ORG, which domain extension should I use?
A number of domain names TLDs are available. The answer to the question which domain extension should you use depends on the nature of your business and the target community of audience.
Unless your products or services benefits and only meant for local people and the name is not meant for organization, it is a best deal to go for .COM names which connote commercial site. Due to the familiarity and large volume of .COM domain names, the extension has become the industry standard for domain names registration. You might give .com names preference because:
- Most browser algorithms are configured to look for .com first in case a user adds no extension in her browser. For example, if a user type aceclue on the browser instead of aceclue.com, the browser tries to open aceclue.com before looking for other extension. This is an additional type-in traffic for .com domain names over other TLDs.
- Search engine spider ranks .com names over names with other extension.
- Unless those that are tech savvy or familiar with internet, people think of .com extension even to names that don’t end in .com. I can remember a particular website with .net extension; I used to attach .com to the name for few years each time I typed the name to a browser despite my awareness of other extensions. It is only when I landed on the wrong .com site that I retyped the name with the right .net extension.
Take note of the followings:
- If your business is offering products or services for a local community or country, you may consider country-based extension like .us(united state), .in(for india), .com.ng(Nigeria), .lb(Lebanon), .co.uk(United Kingdom), .sa(Saudi Arabia), .ca(Canada) and others.
- Choose .ORG domain names to represent non-profit organization online. It is surprising that some marketers deliberately chose .org domain names for their commercial site for SEO and rank purpose. It is however, a blemish to integrity and trust. Use .org domain names for non-profit organization and nothing else.
- If you must go for an exact match domain (EMD) name that is keyword rich for the affiliate product you want to promote for international community and is not available in .com, consider registering for .net, .cc or .biz.
If you are promoting your business with domain extension other than .com, make sure you get the .com version of the name handy if available and use 301 redirect. If otherwise, ensure you type your full domain name with extension anywhere you type your web address. You can also improvise the extension in your logo so that your loyal readers will be kept reminded that you aren’t running your website on .com extension. For instance, if your name is AppDeveloper.org, mention it as “AppDeveloper.org” and NOT “App Developer”.
Is singular domain name anyway preferable to plural name?
This is perhaps more difficult to answer than you might think. This is why most bloggers and webmasters including SEO experts recommended having both names. The followings may help you reach a logical conclusion:
- Is your domain name a brand name? If yes, you don’t need the plural form of the name as this may harm the trademark of the business brand associated with the name. As the business grows and the brand becomes well-known, it will become trademark or copyright infringement for anybody to register the name in plural form.
- If the domain name is generic, single-word, especially those nouns that form their plural by adding ‘es’ ‘ies’ etc, go for singular form of the names.
- If you choose a keyword rich or EMD name, then your keywords analysis will answer the question. For instance, your keywords research will give you ideas which of “deal” and “deals” has the highest search volume and hence helps more for search engine traffic (SET).
The keyword analysis gives a measure of people use of words on internet. If the keyword research gives high volume for plural form, this is an indication that you have to register the plural form or closed variation of the plural name and vice versa. However, always have the singular form handy, if available to leverage type-in traffic. The experience shows that users tend to type the singular form of names.
Should I use numbers (0,1, 2, 3 …9)?
Avoid alphanumeric domain names. Never use a number in your domain. Sorry, I might sound too stiff or authoritative on this. In fact, all the response I give here do not represent hard and fast rules. Any of them can be broken to suit your business and instinct. I’m trying to give insight so you look before you leap and accurately measure your risk and responsibility to all decision you might make regarding your online business domain name.
It is best not to have numbers in your domain name. The speakability of number domain names is poorer than the hyphenated names. If you want to spell out 1goal.com, listener ‘ll be confused 1 or one (figure or words?). the worst in this are domain names that contain 0 (figure zero or letter o).
Which abbreviation is right?
While abbreviation shortens domain names, sometimes it poses problems to the name and generates more questions. For instance, if you mean to establish a site on coaching affiliate marketing, you may choose either AFC.com or AffiliateMarketingCoach.com. The second name, though long, is better; it is self-explanatory, easier to remember. You can register the two names and use redirection appropriately. However avoid the use of slang totally.
Domain Name Quick Tips
- Use thesaurus and brainstorm for at least 5 keywords or brand names if you don’t have any.
- Put branding in mind when choosing your domain name for long-term investment.
- Make the domain name simple and short.
- Unless you are testing the marketability of a niche, register the domain name for the maximum numbers of years; say 10. This protects the website from appearing spamming to search engine and hence helps in search engine ranking. Testing a niche may be done on a sub-domain of a website under your control.
- Choose a domain name that doesn’t need more explanation.
- Consider spelling variation such as American and British format e.g. optimise and optimize.
- Avoid hyphenated names and numbers. They are difficult to type.
- Never choose any other extension apart from .com unless the domain name is EMD or single generic words domain name whose .com is not available and you must use the keyword rich domain name to promote a particular products.
- Never choose other extension aside .com for your main domain name if you are going for brand names. All other extension, if acquired should be redirected to the main .com variant name.
- Don’t choose a brand domain name if not available in all TLDs. This is a signal for trademark infringement.
- You can protect your brand names by registering other TLDs along with .com and .org.
- Use .org extension for your main domain names if the website or blog to be built around the name is for non-profit organization.
- Keep it singular. If the keyword research shows more traffic volume for the plural form, register both if available; build your website around the plural form and redirect the singular to the website.
- Avoid the use of slang. It makes you appear unprofessional
- Make it easy to remember
- Value people’s right, don’t try to infringe on copyright name.
Domain Name Checklist
The more ‘YES’ you can provide for the checklist below, the better the domain name:
- Is your domain name simple and short, less than 12 characters before the TLD?
- Is the name brandable?
- If it is brandable generic name, does it explain your business.
- Is it a .com, .org or country code TLD (ccTLD) name?
- Isn’t it prone to spelling error?
- Does it flow in mind and can be easily remembered?
- Doesn’t it contain hyphen and number?
- Is it singular generic name?
It is a great beginning to have a good domain name for your business. You don’t have to get yourself stuck to unnecessarily long tail, keywords-rich, hyphenated, domain name for SEO purpose. Search engines have become sophisticated and can easily rank your website base on the contents around the domain name. You should go for a good brandable, short, easily communicable, rememberable domain name. These kinds of domain names are good for type-in-traffic, catchy for human and well ranked by engine.
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