If you’ve ever had to choose a new domain name – whether you’re starting a blog, digitalizing your company, or building an online business from scratch… you’ll know that this can be an extremely hard decision to make… and so it should be!
Your domain name is more than just a Uniform Resource Locator (URL); it is the identity of your business online, and something that will represent your business and your brand. As such, choosing your business domain name should certainly not be rushed into or taken lightly…
Having said that! You also shouldn’t let your domain name hold you back. We know there is A LOT of information and opinion floating around, and its easy to get caught up on the act of choosing your domain… which can stifle your business momentum, and cause you to potentially miss the availability of a desired domain as you procrastinate.
To help, we’ve compacted a lot of this information into a concise list of:
5 Important Rules to Consider when Choosing your Business Domain:
1.Make it Brandable
Your domain should represent and be associated with your brand. If you’re marketing yourself, then sure – www.”yourname”.com is a valid domain. However for a business, your brand needs to be relevant and unique in order to stand out in someone’s mind, and be remembered and associated to you.
For example, a generic like DanceStudioMelbourne.com, and awkward domains with hyphens or numbers, like www.DanceClass123.com, or move-your-body.com, don’t sound like brands, are confusing, and most probably won’t be remembered. Whereas DanceLab.com or BodyMotion.com sound like a brand names that can be marketed, remembered and are instantly intuitive to your business.
2. Do Your Research
This is a broad rule, applying to a few different areas of concern in the domain name game:
Trademark Problems – You should do your due diligence in to other companies that may claim trademark infringement of your domain name. Remember, its not your opinion that matters, if it’s the Court decides there is likelihood of deception or confusion. If you have concerns, you should seek professional legal advice before operating under a specific domain.
Similar Websites – Aside from trademark issues, having a similar website to someone in your industry could cause confusion with your audience, and potentially play in to your competition’s hands.
Buying a Previous Domain – If your desired domain name is only available to be bought from a current owner, its best to see what previous websites were associated with that name, in case you inherit a reputation you don’t want.
Social Network Availability – Its always a good idea to check social networks for your domain name availability, as keeping your website and numerous social outlets constant helps to build your brand. For example, check Facebook.com/”your domain”, and secure it if available. KnowEm is an excellent tool for checking availabilities of a brand name across many social networks.
3. Consider ‘Processing Fluency’
Without getting to deep into human psychology – ‘processing fluency’ refers to the ease of which our minds processed certain information. It proves there is a cognitive bias that causes us to positively associate and remember things that are easy for us to process – easy to pronounce, easy to say, and easy to visualize in our minds. When it comes to choosing a domain name, it is important to:
Keep it short – One memorable word or a flowing combination of two words, are much easier to process, as well as easier to type, share and speak about. Good examples: Twitter.com, LifeHacker.com, TechCrunch.com
Make it pronounceable – Though you may not think ‘pronounceability’ is relevant for something that will only be typed, not spoken… being pronounceable helps a lot with processing fluency in our minds, as well as building a strong and shareable brand identity. This is why hyphens, numbers and acronyms are not encouraged.
4. Make “.com” your Preference
While there are many extensions available these days, “.com” is still easily the biggest and most renowned website extension, making up around 75% of all websites! If you want the best chance at building a very brandable domain, that will be easily remembered, you want “.com”. Of course, if your business has a purely Australian audience, “.com.au” is fine; but if you want to grow in to an international market, you’re probably going to end up trying to acquire the “.com” extension anyway!
5. Don’t be Keyword Crazy
Sure, having broad keywords in your domain has its benefits, mainly in helping your brand to be intuitive to your business operations… but from an SEO perspective, it doesn’t hold as much weight as it used to.
While it will still help with keywords in the anchor text used in citations or links to your website… trends show that Google are leaning away from exact and partial match keywords in domains, as Search Engines develop to be less dependent on keywords to determine a websites value, and place greater value other ranking factors like quality of content and links.
If you can include a keyword in your domain when sensible, that helps make it clear what your business is about, go for it – but we wouldn’t recommend forcing or stressing about keyword inclusion, especially if it affects your domains brandability.
Check out esteemed Google Technician Matt Cutts’ explanation for further information on keywords in domain.
For further information or advice on choosing the right domain name for your business, contact the Online Professionals at Webfirm today!