11 Tips to Picking a Good Domain Name
A consistent question for new business owners and the most common misperception that persists even three years after it has been rendered irrelevant by Google is “Should I pick an SEO name for my web address?” Here are our top tips to picking a good domain name.
Some call those “Exact Match Domains” other call them SEO domain names, but after a Google update in 2012 the significance of that part of the Google algorithm is minimal. Google’s EMD Update: The Numbers. By Ben Milleare
The purpose behind these SEO domain names was obvious; they would generate a higher position in the search results. But that was then, this is now.
Keep in mind that your domain name will be more useful if you can keep it a long time and build the credibility of that site over time. It needs to represent your business on the Internet.
So, your primary concern these days is promoting your brand name. Sometimes it is possible to get a .com with your exact business name however, if your business name is too long, then a shorter version of that is probably better. The goal here is getting your potential customers to remember the name.
1. Decide if your business name is one that can compete with on the Internet. What I mean by that is you need to figure out how many other websites are trying to rank for those terms. As an example, Smith Chiropractic. As of today if you do a search on Google for “Smith Chiropractic” you get 61,100 results. That does not necessarily mean that there are that many businesses with that name, but that is the number of results you will have to compete with. So, put quotes around your business name and see what you are up against. There is a fine line between too broad and too specific.
2. Make sure you are not violating any Copyright Laws. Unfortunately, the burden is on you and you need to conduct a fairly exhaustive search. Use the search engines as well as the federal trademark database.
3. Make sure your business name represents your business model today and for years to come. If you are to have any hope of keeping your domain name consistent for years to come, your business name needs to remain the same as well. In this case keeping a little vague is probably a good idea. As an example, a small guy starts out a web design company and decides to call it Bob’s Web Design. After several years of success and growth, Bob decides to add SEO, PPC, and other Internet marketing components to his business. Now he finds his name restrictive.
He could always make his name longer: Bob’s super awesome Web Design, Internet marketing and God of SEO, however, that might not be his best course of action. Also the domain name that Bob purchased only says www.bobswebdesign.com. If he were a little broader with his business name like Bob E-Marketing, then anything under that umbrella still makes sense.
4. Go shopping for a domain name. There are thousands of places to check and see what domains are available. Here is one. eCreations Domains. When selecting a domain name it is probably a good idea to choose a .com primarily because that is what the general public expects. There are always exceptions to that rule. As an example. join.me has made a good name for themselves because it is a good free service and the name is very memorable. The overriding theme here is, make it memorable and represent your business. The name does not have to be your business name, and it does not have to include your city. Here is a good tool to help you find a unique website name. 6 Website for Unique Domain Names.
5. Make sure that the name you picked will bring to mind the concept that you think it will. Here is a good tool to test that theory. Mechanical Turk. Run a survey of 100 people to see what reaction you get from just your domain name. The goal here is that when someone hears your name for the first time, they should be able to guess what it is that you do. There are some exceptions to this rule however.
As an example, there is a bar that has done very well by calling itself “The Gym”, so that husbands can honestly tell their wives that they are going to “The Gym”. Keep in mind this business does not rely much on the internet to bring it new business.
6. Make sure your name is easy to spell. Just because it is memorable not everyone is a spelling bee winner. I’ve always had a hard time with this one myself. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
7. Size does Matter! In this case, shorter is better. You are trying to remove barriers to entry. Keep it simple.
8. Make sure your name sounds authoritative and trusted. Quality stands out. Admittedly there is a certain amount of psychology involved here because what really makes something seem more trustworthy or credible? Normally it is a name that people are familiar with or at least it sounds familiar. That is why companies tend to spin well know names into derivatives of a familiar name in hopes that it will seem like a company they know.
9. Should I get more than one name? As a rule of thumb, don’t have two competing websites. However, for print advertising, you can have a different domain name for that purpose. There are a lot of new TLD’s available like .construction or .music. It is probably not the best idea to use these as your primary domain name, but they are used for print ads.
Then just point that domain over to your real domain and anyone that goes there just jumps over to your real URL. If you just can’t resist the urge to have more than one website, make sure you have a different name and phone number and different content for each unique website. Normally this can be done successfully if you have different business segments that you want to promote independent of each other. Just make sure you treat them as completely separate websites. As an afterthought, it would not be a good idea to use the “.ninja” TLD because nobody will ever be able to find it. List of TLD’s.
10. Try not to use Hyphens and Numbers. When telling someone your domain name it makes it more difficult because you have to define if the number is spelled or not. Same with punctuation. This also applies to roman numerals.
11. If your business relies on a specific geography then it’s not a bad idea to include something like the two letter state designation or a short version of the city in the domain name. This is especially useful if you have multiple locations and a website for each location.
So now that you have made up your mind it’s time to sleep on it so you can question your decision and starts the process over again the next day.