Choosing the right domain name is the first step to bringing your business online, and there are certain factors to consider when you do so.
A good domain name is one that can touch on all the above. But the relative importance of each of the above factors may vary depending on your business and target market. For instance, a company that markets itself nationwide might want to focus more on the brand aspect, wherein the shortness and uniqueness of the domain are most important. On the other hand, a small local business might focus more on keywords and the readability of a domain name.
For this post, we’ll use a fictional example of an Ottawa-based dental office which we’ll call:
Happy Smiles Dental.
Being the highest in demand, it’s almost unheard of to find an available domain name at three letters or less. If you can find one for your business though, get it while you can.
Short domain names are easy to remember, plus they also convey an image of trust and authoritativeness since generally only big name brands can afford them. They are also very useful for offline marketing since it’s much easier to remember a short domain name than a longer one.
So for our example of Happy Smiles Dental, if we were only concerned about shortness we might consider something like:
However, this is for one, not available, and two, is an abbreviation for many other organizations. Always do a Google search for the abbreviation or series of letters you’re thinking of to see what else it stands for – and especially to make sure it doesn’t stand for something that you don’t want to be associated with.
Having an easily readable domain is not only good for visitors to your site, but also for Google. When people come across your website listed in the results page of Google, you’ll want them to easily and quickly determine what your site is about, or what the company name is. If you use too many conjunctions you will lose readability for users and search engine robots.
Here’s an example of a domain that is not very readable based on our fictional example:
This is too long and not easily readable at first glance. A better example would be:
The hyphens make it more readable however it’s much harder for someone to remember that there are hyphens in a web address or where they appear in the address. So although they help with readability, they are not good for remembering.
Keywords in the domain name are a big part of search engine optimization and can make a strong difference to how well your website ranks for given search terms. They can mean the difference between a first page ranking and a 5th page ranking.
However, it’s worth noting that Google ‘says’ it’s putting less focus on keywords in the domain name and more focus towards ‘brands’. Based on our observations though, keywords in the domain still play a significant part.
So for our example, a domain name strictly for keywords might look like:
That domain might help them rank well for a keyphrase like ‘Ottawa Dental Office’ but it doesn’t communicate anything about their brand, and doesn’t help them stand out from all the other domain names in the search results composed of just keywords.
You’ll want your domain to stand out from the rest and be easy to remember. Oftentimes having your brand name in the domain helps to make it unique, but sometimes you want/need to have keywords in there, too.
An easy to remember domain for our example might be:
This could be a good domain name for our fictional example company of Happy Smiles Dental, but if they are really counting on ranking well for ‘Ottawa’-related dentist keywords, it might be worthwhile to include the location in there as well.
So we work to strike a balance between the brand name and keywords, and we come up with:
It may not have their whole brand name in there, but it at least includes part of it so as to not be completely generic, and it incorporates important keywords for ranking.
The last part of your domain is choosing an applicable TLD, such as:
Generally, a .com is the best, but if your company needs to stand our as being Canadian for instance, you might prefer .ca.
In any case, it’s always best to buy all versions of your domain name’s TLDs so that they can’t be taken by competitors or bought by someone else and used for something you don’t want to be asssociated with. A common setup is to have the .com as the main TLD and have all other versions (.ca, .net, .info, etc) redirect to the .com.
If you need help or advice on selecting a domain name, we’ll be happy to help. We’ve been doing it a long time.