A domain name can help or hinder your online success. Your domain name becomes an asset to your business (which means it has monetary value). So it’s not something you can choose on a whim. Here are tips for choosing a great domain name.
Business Branding vs Keyword
In the past, experts recommended using keywords in your domain name. Since keywords are used by people to find information and resources in search engines, that tactic makes sense. However, marketing works much better if you have a single name and theme branded across various marketing resources. For example, Sally has a freelance writing business called Sally Sue’s Expressions. The words a business would use to find a copywriter aren’t in Sally’s business name. Instead, businesses would use words like “marketing writer” or “content writer” or “copywriter,” in which case a domain such as “MarketingWriterForHire.com” (I don’t know if that’s available, I’m just using as an example.), might be a good choice. Except, if Sally wants to build a brand around her business, she should use her business name, “SallySuesExpressions.com” (I don’t know if that’s available, I’m just using as an example.)
You need to decide what’s going to be the best option for your business; using keywords or going with a branded name. The answer is going to come from how often you think search engines will drive traffic. In the Sally Sue example, I’d go with the branded name (your business or given name) over keyword name. While search engines can deliver traffic, freelance businesses get most of their clients through referrals and other marketing tactics, and it looks more professional to have the business name as the domain. However, a blog of chocolate recipes might do better to have “chocolate recipe” in the domain name since, search engines would likely deliver a significant amount of traffic.
Once you know what it is you want to focus on (Business Branding vs Keyword), the next step is to come up with a list of ideas. It’s harder and harder to find great domain names that are available for an affordable price. There are people out there who buy great domain names only to sell them at exorbitant prices. If you’re using your businesses or given name, the odds that it’s available are better than using keyword-rich names. In both cases, you might need to get creative to find a domain that is available. I recommend making a list of words and like the magnet poetry, mix and match names to make a list you can search on a domain registrar. For example, in the freelance copywriting example, my list would include Sally Sue’s Expressions, copywriting, freelance writing, marketing writing, writer, etc. Then I’d mix and match them to form potential domain names:
Branded Domain Name Ideas:
Keyword Domain Name Ideas:
Tips for Best Domain Names
Once you have a list, here are other things to consider as you check domain name availability:
1. It’s available as a .com. Whenever possible, go with .com
2. It’s easy to remember.
3. It’s easy to type. Don’t use hyphens or alternate spellings. Avoid numbers as it takes more time to tell people if they need to use the number (“4”) or write it (“four”).
4. Keep it short.
5. If your business takes place in a specific locale, include that. For example, NewYorkChocolateRecipes.com. If your business isn’t limited to a location, don’t use any location identifiers.
Buying a Domain Name
Once you have your list of names that fits all the tips above, it’s time to see what’s available. There are many places to buy domain names. I use Godaddy and have been happy with it. GoDaddy will try to sell you other stuff, such as webhosting. Experts suggest that you keep your domain name registrar and webhosting services separate. To do that, you’ll need to sign up for web hosting or use your domain registrar’s forwarding option to link the domain to your website.
Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she's been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
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