Choose a Good Domain Name
When you first think about going into online marketing one of the question that your going to ask is how to choose a good domain name. What is a good domain name?
This is a question that gets people stumped or heading off in the wrong directions, so we will spend a bit of time covering this. I have picked up a few pointers since I started online and have made a few basic errors too, as have most people when they start out, so I hope this will help you to reduce the ‘learning by mistakes’ bit.
What I have learned from my peers has also helped me in deciding the names that I use now.
A key element is not to use confusing or difficult names.
OK .. now for some generalisations. That is, the following are the norms and not the rules. So if you don’t agree with this I’ll understand.
Try to avoid using numbers, underscores, hyphens and deliberate misspelling as these tend to lead to confusion and people enter them incorrectly or don’t remember them. Its only really a problem if your website name is being verbally communicated or written down or if someone sees your domain name briefly then tries to recall it later.
For example, recalling or read out a name like http://how-2-raise-petz.com is made a bit harder with all the dashes etc. Its trivial, but worth considering not doing this unless its the only way of getting the name you want.
If you had to tell someone your domain name, its hard to say and type ‘how dash, number 2, dash, raise dash, petz (with a Z) dot com.
There have been some case studies that also show that domains with dashes rank the lowest naturally too. However, there are still some high ranking sites ( even #1s) with hyphens, but generally, from what i can see , they will have one only, not multiples.
Domain Name Extensions rank too.
Search engines also pick up on and rank the domain name extensions. Be aware of this and try to buy a domain name that has one of the following (in this order). Just do a search on anything and look at the top couple of pages of rankings and you see MOSTLY .coms and some .orgs.
The extensions (.info) and (.com – with multiple dashes in the name) rank at the bottom.
Additionally, in general, sub domains also don’t rank as well as the full domain name. BUT this also has exceptions and ALWAYS, it will ultimately be the CONTENT that defines the website ranking. Note that my first websites where subdomains. These were free websites and hosting that help my business get off the ground.
Exact Match Domains (EMDs) and Brand Names
This stuff is pretty interesting. I came across some info on this recently and it stuck in my head, so I have adapted some of it for myself to help explain this.
An example of a brand would be a name like coke.com or Toyota.com, words that don’t mean anything (maybe a Person’s name), but are associated with a product or service.
An EMD would be something like workfromhomejobs.com. This domain name would be chosen because it matches a set of keywords that rank well as common typed searches (see Jaxxy.com for information on Keyword rank assessment)
As side note –
Earlier, before 2013, EMDs ranked really well for the keyword in the domain name. For example, highqualityleatherjackets.com would rank well, and easily for High Quality Leather Jackets when someone typed that into Google search.
As a result, a lot of people created low-quality domains to rank for these keywords, and made lots of money with tiny websites.
But earlier this year there was an updated to Google’s algorithm that caused many of these sites to lose rank. There was a lot of talk in the industry that EMDs were now poor for ranking, but apparently this is not the case.
EMDs still rank just like any other domain, and after all the ruckus following the Google update you can see more than a few EMDs that rank well for their intended phrase and their keywords
So you still have a choice of using EMDs or Brands.
What If You Choose An Exact Match Domain
And EMD will probably give you the best advantage for ranking for your chosen keyword. If you get a low competition (not many websites contesting a particular keyword), high traffic keyword (a good number of searches on that particular keyword) in your domain name, this could mean easy traffic, and lots of it.
Also, people will immediately know what your website is about.
If you are searching for a chemical free cleaner for septic toilets, and land on chemicalfreecleanerforseptics.com, it’s not hard to figure out that you’re in the right place.
What if you choose a BRAND name
A brand can be used in many places, and for many different things. Basically, it’s a lot more versatile.
Because a brand domain name wouldn’t be associated with and one specific (niche) product or service, you have options to market more than one product or niche.
For example, if your domain name was menswinterunderwear.com you would be (credibly) limited to selling just winter underwear. But if you were able to get mensunderwear.com you would be able start selling summer and winter wear as well – giving you some flexibility between seasons.
Choosing a brand name for your website can also give you authority – meaning once you start actively posting and participating in social media and online communities, you will become known as your brand name, not just a set of products. This is a much longer term strategy here.
Best advice for new marketers?
I think it would be better for an entry level marketer to start off with a niche and an EMD and find a low-competition, high-traffic keyword in the niche they are interested in. Being careful not to break the earlier discussed rules of no numbers, dashes and misspells.
Understandably, finding a keyword can be a major source of stress for new marketers, so if you get caught try putting your name in the domain, and use a descriptive word about your website topic.
This is also a very easy way to snag your keyword in a domain.
MakeMoneyOnline.com is already taken. JamesMakesMoneyOnline.com is possibly available.
It’s very likely that somewhere down the road your entrepreneur-brain is going to wake up, and you’ll have a million ideas that you want to try out.
Having a perfect domain name will not make or break your website. It’s only the beginning. Pick something you like, and start marketing your website.
What you do, its your business!
In the end, YOU are the owner of your domain. It’s your website, your brand, and your business, no matter what the name is. The most important thing on your website is going to be the CONTENT you write.
Content is what people will read, and it’s what they will care about. It’s what will eventually help you make sales.