Choosing A Website Domain – 7 Tips To Avoid Disaster

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When choosing a website domain for your new business, you may well start off full of optimism.  But there are millions of websites in the world, and finding a website domain that hasn’t already been taken is a challenge in itself. And there are plenty more pitfalls to avoid!  Here are our 7 tips to choosing a website domain.

1. Brand Name vs Company Name

If you have a company name, is this the same as your brand name?  You may have an overarching company which operates a number of businesses ie. sells a number of different brands.

It's important that you promote your brand name online by choosing a website domain around your brand. This is what you want people to remember, and this is what they will search for online.

Your company name can simply sit quietly in the wings.

2. SEO vs Brand

It’s a darned competitive online world.  So do you choose a domain name that is purely your brand name?  Or should you consider search engine optimisation?

For example, if your brand is “Uppa” (well we have to come up with a random example) and you sell handbags, should the domain be

  • www.uppa.com
  • www.uppahandbags.com
  • www.womenshandbags.com

The former focuses solely on the brand, the next tells people what your company does, and the third one is an “exact match domain” (EMD).  In the past, poor quality sites were able to rank well just because their domain name was generic and matched search terms.  But Google put an end to that with the EMD update in 2012 which prevents such websites from ranking well.

However the domain name itself continues to be a ranking factor and having a keyword in your domain name can still be of benefit.  So the best advice is to strike a balance between brand and keywords, and don’t make keywords your primary consideration when making your choice.

3. How does it read?

Always be careful with certain words, which when run together in a domain name have the potential to give a completely different meaning.  “Expert” is a great example.  Consider:

www.athleticsexperts.com

Depending on how you read it, you’ll be expecting a website about athletics experts… or alternatively a rather energetic person whose favourite reading is the Karma Sutra.

4. Domain Length

This links into the memorability factor – a shorter domain name is easier to remember and is less prone to typing errors.  Of course if you choose to combine your brand name with an “SEO” keyword, the domain name is going to be longer, so once again it will be a balancing act.

5. Availability

GoDaddy is a great place to check for domain name availability.  Simply type in the domain name you’re interested in and it will flag up if it is taken or not.

Note – sometimes the domain name will not be available, but it is not in use.  If you are desperate for the name, you can go through a domain broker such as GoDaddy,  who will try to purchase it for you off the current owner.  Of course you’re going to pay more than the non-premium domain names you can get for under £10.

6. Similar Names

Before you rush into purchasing the seemingly perfect domain name, you must do some thorough research to see if there are similar names already taken.  There’s no point having a website with a memorable domain name if another company has one practically identical – your potential customers will struggle to differentiate between the two.

When choosing our company name, we came up with some absolutely stunning company names and found relevant domain names were available (woo-hoo!).  However on closer inspection, we kept finding that other bright sparks already had a variation on the domain we wanted.  Think Creative Waves Digital, Creating Waves Ltd, Creative Waves with a mix of .co.uk and .com

It was back to the drawing board for us.  And it will be for you too if there are simply too many similar sounding domains.  Keep on searching for that sweet spot!

7. Block others

You may have purchased a .co.uk domain because you’re a UK company. Makes sense right.  But over 75% of websites in the world are .com domains. Consequently if people remember your domain name, they may firstly type in www.yourdomainname.com

So what happens if another company has purchased, and even worse, has set up a website at the .com of your site?  Your potential clients will be going to the wrong place.  This could frustrate them or worse still, send them off to one of your competitors.  As a minimum we recommend purchasing both .com and .co.uk domains (if you are a UK based company).

CONCLUSION

These 7 tips for choosing a website domain have hopefully got you thinking.  If you want to get the perfect domain name for your business, you’re going to have to quite a bit of brainstorming and researching.  But we’re confident you’ll get there in the end!

If you need help with any aspect of digital marketing, please feel free to drop us a line.

 

2 Comments
  • Paul

    Great advice – struggled to find a great domain for my business. So many competitors already had the names I wanted!

    05/06/2017 at 11:38 pm Reply
    • mishee50

      We feel your pain!

      11/06/2017 at 8:17 pm Reply
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