To own a great domain name or not, this is the question!
For aspiring entrepreneurs or veteran webmasters alike, it is often a challenge to decide which domain name to register when they are about to launch a new product or service online. This is not an aspect of business development to be taken lightly, as your domain name can make or break your business.
Think of the major Internet brands you consult regularly, like amazon, google or webmd. They all started with a simple domain name that turned out to become so universal thatsome of them are evenwords in themselves today, like google.
The 6 letter word domain google.Comcare initially from a misspelling of the word googol, which means the number 1 followed by 100 zeros, clearly a huge number only used by math geeks; Google is known to manipulate extremely large datasets, so this a great fit. Amazon is a 6 letter word well initially meaning a river. Jeff Bezos liked "Amazon" because it was a place that was "exotic and different", just as he had envisioned for his Internet enterprise.Finally, WebMD is even shorter with 5 letters and this domain name is so perfect anyone can tell right away what the site is about by just looking at its name.
Unfortunately such beautiful short domain names are long gone. Because there is a high chance that your first choice for a domain name is already taken by another webmaster, deciding and finding your domain name can be overwhelming.
To help you go through this process, here are some tips for selecting the right domain namefor your business.
What is your budget?
The first question to ask yourself is if you want to:
- Invest in an existing domain name (already owned by someone else), or
- Register a new domain at no cost (other than the registration fee which is about $10-15$ annually.
Regarding option (1) there are auction markets for domain names. The more meaningful the name is, especially if there is a commercial intent attached to it, the pricier it will be. For instance at the time of writing this article we checked the site namejet.com (in itself a great domain name), which lists domain name auctions. The domain suchi.com was bid $110,000 with a reserve of $700,000, not for the faint of heart.
(Check this out: Here is the list of 10 Most Expensive Domain Names ever sold)
If your domain name choice is not too common and includes your business name, such as johnedwardplumber.com (by the way this domain was never registered before), then you can take option (2) and get it for free.Hence it all depends on how common or not the words in your favorite domain name are, and if your number one choice is freely available or not, and at what price.If you want to register Domain Name in India, you can buy it from GoDaddy.
As your domain name is the face of your business, making it brandable should be your primary concern. The question now is, how?
Keep your domain simple and memorable. Stay away from characters like numbers, hyphens, or anything that would make the domain sound complicated. For example, Yatra.com is short and simple. This domain name is beyond superior compared to bus-ticket-offers.blogspot.in
Here is another example of a great brand, bestbuy.com. Again this domain name is fantastic for an e-commerce website and you cannot find a better one: it is short with only 7 letters, it includes the word “best” often used by shoppers searching for products, as well as the word “buy” which is a synonym of their intent.
As all the good domain names have been acquired long ago, you need to use your imagination and creativity to come up with a domain name that can become a great brand. Take fiverr.com as another example. Only 6 letters, this name completely invented from scratch by its owner is now synonym of online gigs at a cost starting at only $5.
Is the extension ".com" available?
Thankfully there is more than just the extension .com. The extension ".com" remains the major one to own if you can, but other options exist such as the popular .net or .org. If your business is more local, you could also opt for your country’s extension such as .co.in or .fr, which are easier to get than the abovementioned mainstream extensions.
As the domain space has gotten more crowded, dozens of new domain extensions have become available in the recent past, providing a wider range of options to business owners looking for their Holy Grail domain name.
Oftentimes a compromise has to be made between the domain name itself and the extension. If you absolutely want a specific domain name that is hard to get, then you may find a domain extension where it is available. On the other hand if you must have the .com, use more flexibility in the domain name.
Use Sensible Keywords
Including one or two keywords in your domain can help customers better understand what your site is about. But you should not include them just for the sake of having them as this can possibly hurt your brand from a SEO standpoint.
Google regularly updates its algorithm regarding how it assesses Exact Match Domains (EMD), and such domains may be harder to rank than purely branded domains. An example of an EMD would be bestSEOagency.com (which incidentally is for sale), which uses exactly the words that a surfer would employ to seek such an SEO service online.
Conversely a domain like cyberworx.in does not use any keyword, as this is simply the name of an India based Digital Marketing Agency . The domain is equal to the brand in this case. Here again, it is a matter of compromise and balance depending on what terms you want to emphasize and what type of business you want to promote. In summary, take your time, explore various ideas and options, ask the opinion of your friends or even run a survey about your domain name before you commit to it.
About the author
Olivier is a director at Comperio, a London based digital marketing agency specialized in SEO for small businesses in the UK. His 10+ years’ experience in growing businessesin a wide range of markets helps his customers increase online traffic and brand awareness. Always on the cutting edge, he keeps on researching and testing the latest SEO techniques and innovations. You can follow him here on Linkedin.