How to Choose a Domain Name
Naming Your Domain
One of the first steps, when building any website, is carefully choosing the correct name. The name of your website, known as the “domain” or “URL”, is an important marketing tool and requires careful consideration.
Over 80 million domains have been sold worldwide with the instantly recognizable “dotcom” extension. In addition, millions of other domain names have been registered, using the name extensions .org, .net, .biz, and .us, as well as country specific endings.
Thousands of domain names are registered, every day, as more companies seek to build an online presence and unlock the potential of the internet.
Where Do You Start?
The closer your domain name is to the actual search terms your new customers are using…the more traffic you’ll attract to your site.
And the more you target that domain name to your local business area…the better chance you have of ranking in Google search results.
For most businesses, the dotcom (.com) domain extension is highly recommended, immediately identifying you as a business. This extension is, by far, the most popular type and gives the website name a ring of authority and gravitas. We recommend using a dotcom (.com) extension on your business name, whenever possible, as it is an internationally recognized extension.
However, if your business is primarily local to your community in a specific country (for example, Canada), and your keywords or business name is not available as a dotcom, you could register your website with the “.ca” extension (.ca = Canada).
Type of Name
There are two major ways that businesses use domain names to project the right image:
1) To reflect and project a brand identity
2) To describe the products and services offered by using strong keywords in the domain name.
Know Your Purpose
Is the purpose of your website to:
• provide credibility for your business?
• provide a service to your clients?
• generate new business from prospects searching on the internet?
Once you have established the purpose of your website, you can decide whether to use a keyword-based domain name or a brand-based domain name, which incorporates your company name.
When to Use a Keyword-based Domain Name
If you are a new business, using an appropriate keyword phrase can bring about higher rankings in search engines and directories. For example, if you wanted your website ranked highly in online searches, for the keyword term financial advisor Vancouver, you might register your website domain as www.FinancialAdvisorVancouver.com This type of name is also powerful when used in combination with traditional advertising methods, as it can be easily imprinted into people’s memories.
The top three search engines, Google, Yahoo, and MSN/Bing, all appear to give a higher ranking to websites containing relevant keywords in their domain name. If you want to create new business from prospective clients who are searching for a specific product or service on the Internet, use a keyword-based domain name.
When you use a keyword-based domain name, you may not be easily found if your business name is already well known in your local area. There are, fortunately, some workable solutions to this problem.
For example, you can register the website under your business name in the Google Business Directory and various local online directories. The other useful option is to include your normal business name in the page titles and amongst the page content of your website, making it much more visible to the search engines.
When choosing a keyword-based name:
1 – Use short words that are easy to spell
2 – Use keywords that relate to your core business
3 – Use real words with correct spelling
4 – Domain names consist of:
a) lower case letters
A domain name may not exceed twenty-two characters, excluding the extension, and you cannot use any other symbols, or spaces.
When to Use Your Company Name
If you have a strong brand name, or a company name that is well known and recognized in your community, choose a domain name that utilizes this identity.
If it is important that your clients can easily find you on the Internet through your established trading name, use the company name for your website’s domain name.
Unfortunately, there is always a possibility that the domain name for your company name is no longer available. In this case, you have to use creativity and lateral thinking to find the best and most fitting domain name for your site.
If your business name is not available as a dotcom, try a few variations where you add the name of your local town. Often people will add the city or town where your business resides, to try and narrow down the search, so your business location is often an important component for building a search engine optimized website.
Registering a domain name costs only $10 per year. So you could try some other strategies. One approach is to register two different domain names: for example, “YourCompany.com ” and “YourCompany.net. ” This not only gives search engines more to see, it gives you the opportunity to use one domain name as your main website and use the other domain name to point to that web site
You could also register several versions of your company name, including common misspellings of your name, or an easily remembered nickname that refers to your business identity.
Brainstorm Possible Names
• List as many words and phrases that you can think of that are related to your business. These can be used to select a powerful and focused keyword-based domain name.
• Now, list as many words and phrases that you can think of, that are related to the content of your website, products and services. One useful tip to be aware of is that people typing search terms in Google often type in a specific question or problem. For example, if your business was insurance – a prospect may type in Google: How Much Insurance Do I Need? Or What is Critical Illness Insurance?)
• Use Google ADWORDS, KEYWORD TOOL to brainstorm possible keyword phrases for your domain name, noting how many results they generate. (If the link below does not get you to the correct location (google changes the URL periodically) , ‘google’ – Google adwords keyword tool – to find the correct link.
Login to your Google account and use Google’s ‘free’ KEYWORD analysis tools.
Find out if any of the keywords or domains that you would like to own are available at Catch8.com . . .
Use the domain checking service to try out various alternatives. While you are there, you can easily purchase available domain names for only $10 per year. To register a domain name at Catch8 . . .