Choosing a domain name for your enterprise is a crucial decision that has a lasting and tangible effect on the future success of your website. The name you choose will create a first impression for your visitors, so it needs to portray your website or brand in a positive light. It will also have an impact on how highly search engines like Google will rank your site, so the importance of the decision cannot be understated. Consider these four things when choosing your domain name to give yourself the best platform from which to launch your online endeavor.
- Brand relevance | It goes without saying that your domain name should be related to your brand. If the site is for an established company with a pre-existing brand name, try to secure your name as your URL. However, the URLs of many common company names are unavailable, so you may need to think outside the box. Whatever route you end up taking, the domain name needs to have an obvious and clearly recognizable association with your brand. A website with content that isn’t clearly connected to its domain name will be ranked poorly by search engines. The algorithms that calculate search results factor in relevancy of content to domain names and will judge seemingly disconnected sites as disingenuous. Therefore, if it isn’t possible to use your exact brand name as your domain name, pick something that is still undeniably relevant to the purpose of your site so that search engines know what they are listing and visitors know what they’re getting.
- Keywords | It can be tempting to overload your domain name with keywords that you’ve identified as important to your brand, but it’s not always the most efficient choice. Search engines don’t tend to rank keyword-heavy domains as highly as they once would’ve after having learned to associate them with websites that produce high-volume, low-quality content with the goal of achieving short-term gains. Any keywords you use in your domain name need to be completely and unequivocally appropriate for your brand and service. If necessary, supplement your domain name with a single keyword that complements and reflects your brand but be wary of overdoing it. The word you choose shouldn’t be too specific, but rather something that a wide range of people can understand and will instantly understand.
- Unique| Standing out from the crowd is important. A brand name that is factually correct and ranks well with search engines won’t have the added benefit of strengthening your brand unless it’s suitably unique. Craft a name that is memorable for being different from your competitors while still being suitably relevant to your brand or business. There is a fine line between being unique and being obscure, so choose a name or a combination of words that is recognisable yet stands out from the crowd. If your name is too similar to others, your website risks getting lost in the competition and never carving out its own foothold in the market. Conversely, if the name is too esoteric or outlandish then visitors may have a hard time remembering it and solidifying the connection between it and your brand.
- Pronunciation | Your domain name needs to be easy to pronounce. A witty and ingenious name is worthless if your visitors struggle to articulate it. Names that are easy to say stick easily in the mind whereas complicated words are difficult to remember. Don’t obfuscate the pronunciation of a name by skipping vowels or through other deliberate misspellings in an attempt to be cool. It doesn’t work. It frustrates potential customers and it harms your search engine rankings. Choose a name that is easy to pronounce. If the domain is already taken, go back to the drawing board and pick another.
Choosing a domain name is often the first decision an online business is faced with and there are few that are more important. Your name forms a visitor’s first, and often lasting, perception of who you are, what you do and what you represent. A badly thought-out domain name can sink your enterprise before it even begins but one that is well-crafted can propel your site up the search engine rankings and into realms of increased exposure and greater success.