A key part to a making a website successful is in trying to pick the right domain name. There are so many things that you should consider when picking the name that can affect how easy (or tricky) it is for both visitors and search engines to find you.
Most people take picking a domain name for granted – just pick something that sounds good and that’s all there is to it, right? Wrong. Picking something that sounds good is definitely worthwhile, but there is way more to it than that.
Picking A Domain Name Extension
The rule of thumb here is usually to try and get a .com domain name. If you are a business then getting .com after your business name is way better than getting .co.uk, .au, .ca or anything that is localized.
For this website we obviously went for a .info extension, so you may be wondering why I am encouraging you to go for .com when we haven’t. Well, this website provides you with information. geeky.info isn’t the name of a new restaurant on the high street or a fancy marketing company, it’s a website that provides its visitors with information, so the .info extension was absolutely right for us. Were we a business selling products or services then a .com name would have been the route we went down. There are, of course, other reasons why we went for the .info, which we’ll explain in the next section.
Pick A Short URL
Don’t pick a really long website address that is going to take people ages to type in and remember. Try to pick something short and snappy. If your business name is New York Window Cleaners Limited then don’t go for www.newyorkwindowcleaners.com – it’s just too much! Go for something like nywindows.com or nywindowcleaners.com (this is still long, but at least it’s a lot shorter than it could be). If your shortened name isn’t available in .com then don’t stray over to a .net domain or anything other than .com if you can help it – just try and think of something else.
I’ve been working with a wide range of businesses for years from big organizations to small startups. My advice for any startup business is to make sure that the domain name (.com) is available before registering the company name. Without the website address your going to be virtually invisible on the web.
As mentioned in the previous section, this site is .info rather than .com which we generally wouldn’t recommend for a normal business looking to showcase its offerings online. If we had been able to get geeky.com then we would have done, but names like that are rarely available. With being and information site we managed to buy geeky.info from its (now former) owners for a lot less money than it would have cost us to go after the .com
Don’t do this if you are selling goods or services. Setting up an information website? This could be an option for you as you can get a fairly short domain name a lot easier than you can with a .com name.
Don’t Use Hyphens
Don’t use hyphens in the domain name you pick. Nobody likes hyphens and it makes your URL look cheap and unprofessional. If your company name has 2 words then put the two words together with a .com at the end. Never use hyphens to separate words.
If you aren’t going to have your company name as your domain name then you should consider using keywords in your website address. This will help you show up higher in search engine results when someone searches for those keywords. Let’s say your company name is Marquee IT Consultancy & Web Design and you are based in Austin, Texas. Turning your business’ name into a website address will leave you with a really long URL that won’t look professional and people won’t easily remember. You specialize in search engine optimization, so why not go for something like austinseo.com – people looking for help with SEO in Austin should be able to find your website without too much bother – keep the focus on SEO on your main page and link to other pages of your site that go into the other services that you provide.
If you do manage to shorten your company name to get it into a URL then buy austinseo.com anyway and have it redirect to your site so that you can get the benefit from this great keyword-rich URL.
The success of your website can easily be determined by picking the right domain name, so put a great deal of thought into it and you’ll reap the rewards. Pick the right domain name and you’ll have no problem in finding some degree of success with your website.
Image Credit: Descrier