Whether you’re an existing company, a brand new start-up or a couple of university students looking to start a blog about mushrooms, you need a website. Why? Because the UK internet economy is currently worth around £100 billion and is growing all the time. If you don’t have one, you’ll be left behind fast.
So you know you need one. But where do you start? Is it by choosing your CMS or the colour of your homepage?
The answer has to be your domain name. It’s the single most important thing you’ll ever choose. And because changing it is a world of hassle – think business cards, letterheads, t-shirts, van prints – you want to make sure it’s right first time.
Brand, Brand, Brand
It was a long held belief in SEO that having something along the lines of www.electrician-plumber-bath.com, which is an exact match domain, was the best type of domain name you could get. As well as featuring some strong keywords in there, you’re also adding a location.
However, Google (as usual) cottoned on to this and released multiple updates, including the most recent one at the end of September, which largely de-valued exact match domain names.
Now it’s all about brand. They’re looking to provide the results that are most relevant to the user and the sites most likely to give them a good experience. Online, this is usually reserved for big brands. That might not seem fair to the smaller businesses trying to make it in the online world, but unfortunately Google don’t care.
Start your road to becoming a big brand by using it as your domain name, and Google might eventually see you as one of their top, relevant companies.
Keeping It Memorable
This is the trickier part of choosing domain names. If your brand is a string of text, it’ll be too hard to remember. No one is going to say to their friend in the pub,
“Hey, you should check out this great site – it’s www.goober-electricals-and-showers-for-your-bathroom-denby-dale.org.uk.”
It’s just too much. Yet if it’s too short, people might not remember it at all. Because of this, it’s something you have to accommodate when you’re choosing a domain name.
If it’s colloquial and easily spoken, then it’ll be easily remembered. StuffIshoutatmymum.com is just as valuable as gooberelectricals.com, because it’s memorable and rolls of the tongue.
Always Get The .com
If you’re serious about your business, you need the .com. Why? Because much of the internet still thinks .com is the only suffix to a web address and will automatically type that at the end of gooberelectricals without thinking.
You need to do some serious consideration if all you have available is org.uk. B&Q, for example, went for www.diy.com instead of their brand name. It’s short, catchy and is actually a keyword that people search for.
If getting that .com means rethinking your brand, it might just be that important to go for it.
There’s also a lot of value in making sure you have your country code top level domains too. It’s great for SEO to have both the .com and .co.uk (with the ccTLD redirecting to the .com) if you’re based in the United Kingdom. So if it’s a new brand, make sure you buy up everything before someone else does and charges you a fortune for it.
Follow these simple rules and you’ll find yourself with a domain name that’s easy to remember and catchy. Maverick your own without these and you’ll almost certainly find yourself staring at a flat lined traffic graph in analytics one rainy Friday morning, wondering where it all went wrong while reaching for the nearest bottle of whisky.Choosing The Right Domain Names by Dave Langdale