If you are just beginning to build your business on the web, one of the first things you will need to do is choose a domain name for your website. The point of this is to determine how people will be able to find you and your business online. In actuality, you should think about SEO before building a website because your site structure is such an important factor when it comes to search engine results and ultimately more business for you and your company.
What's in a domain name?
Here’s a little refresher course for web addresses and domains. A website address consists of 3 parts: A root domain; the extension at the end- .com, .net, etc. The subdomain of a site comes before the domain name (http://subdomain.domain.com). The "domain" in "domain.com" is the domain name you choose for your website initially. A website’s URL is the whole address, beginning with "http" all the way to the root domain (.com). The URL usually contains a word or phrase than relates to your business. As you can see, the domain is very important for your brand and should be chosen carefully for maximum SEO benefits.
Why is choosing a domain name crucial to the success of your business?
Choosing a domain name can greatly affect your ranking in search engines. It affects any benefits you get for search engine optimization purposes. Too often, businesses take the time to build a great, concise website and then go live with it. Afterwards, they wonder how to generate traffic to their site. Generating visitors through search engine optimization will get your website higher in Google’s search results. Simply put, more traffic means more potential clients, which means more business for your company.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when choosing a good domain name for SEO purposes:
Decide if you want your domain name to be your brand or keywords.
There are two ways of choosing a domain name for your website: by keywords and by brand.
You should consider securing your brand as your domain if your brand name is unique and you want to be found online when people search for your brand name. You should also secure your brand as your website domain if your brand is your own name, and/or it is already established and well-known. If you plan to advertise in order to promote your brand, you should make your website domain your brand name. Remember, the goal of making your domain name your brand name is to get your website to rank highly in the search results for your brand.
You can also make your domain name using keywords that are associated with your business and what it specializes in. If your business is called “Carrie’s Writing Service” but your website focuses on editing services, you might consider making your domain “editingservices.com” rather than “carrieswritingservices.com”. Unless you plan to heavily advertise and build Carrie’s Writing Service into a brand, it would be wiser to choose a domain name that is keyword-centered.
The best thing to do is to combine your brand and keyword in a memorable and user-friendly manner.
Consider the length of your domain name.
A good rule to remember is that shorter is better. There are many reasons for this. One reason is that people can remember a short URL better than a longer one. Another reason is that the name of your files that you send to clients and customers can be shorter. It is easier for people to type shorter URLs into their browser window, and they will be less likely to misspell your domain name. Keep your customers in mind when choosing your domain name.
Make use of hyphens to separate words.
Many site domains use multiple word brand names in their domain names, and running them together is the best practice. If you must separate words, use a hyphen to do so in order to make sure that the site name can be easily understood. Don’t use underscores as they count as alphanumeric characters. You should avoid using more than one hyphen in a domain name, since this make your site appear as spam to the search engines.
Choose a name that will stick for the long-term.
You will probably be stuck with your domain name for quite a few years, so it’s a good idea to think long term and make sure the name will still be relevant and fresh years from now. Don't fall for naming your domain with a year or time period in it, such as "millennium". Times will change, but your company should remain timeless as far as its name.
The bottom line? Choose a domain name that is easy to remember and that makes sense. It’s also a good idea to add a keyword or two to the domain name. It is not necessarily the domain name that will give your site good rankings in search engines; good SEO practices ultimately raise your website’s rank. If it is carefully chosen, your domain name could be a great asset to your business.
TJ Moynihan has been designing effective SEO strategies and websites for customers in all industries. Swing by and say hello today!