What name should you choose for your website?

There is a lot of misinformation about domain names. Some of the information is just outdated and rules seem to change so often that what may be true today will not be true tomorrow. However, there are a few rules of thumb that you should follow.

Keywords have little impact on your search engine standing

Domain names that are keyword rich are great if you can keep the full domain name short. However, the search engines give them very little weight and it becomes a trade-off with memorable and easily typed.

If you can get 2 short terms in your domain name, great. However, if you try to add more keywords, then you are more than likely hurting yourself. If you can’t get the name you want, try to come up with a short domain name that is memorable.

Examples:

ohiosbestwebdesign.com

Bad

rgwebdesign.com

Good

rainbowgrowers.net

Good

 

Domain names must be easily remembered and easily typed

You need to be able to tell a person your domain name and have them remember it. Don't pick a domain name that's hard to type or hard to remember. People you have just met are more likely to check out your URL if you've got a memorable name that is easily typed. Between 5 and 15 characters is short enough to remember, and if you combine two simple words (that don't run together with strange vowels), you can achieve a very usable name.

Don’t hesitate to give someone a way to remember the domain name. For instance, I like to tell people that I grow rainbows on the net and rainbowgrowers.com was already taken, ergo “rainbowgrowers.net.”

Develop a Brand

Don't choose a generic name. Create a brand. Unless your name brand is “websites.com” or “flowers.com”, it is much better to develop a brand that is individualized if you are shooting for long-term recognition. For example: hp.com; ford.com; sirrius.com.

Don’t worry about Anchor Text

When someone links to your site they will often just use your domain name as the text. For instance, “For more information see www.rainbowgrowers.net.” If your domain name contains your primary keywords then you may have an advantage over your competitors. However, this is becoming less important. In fact, search engines are using other means to establish the subject matter of a link and ignoring the actual domain name, itself.

Dashes to separate keywords

Websites known for spamming will often use dashes to separate keywords in their domain names. For example “cheap-websites.com.” Because of this, the search engines will look more closely at a site that contains dashes in its name. Even so, Google doesn’t care, one way or the other, but will downgrade a long domain name regardless of dashes.

Multiple domain names for the same site

You should consider using multiple names for several reasons. If there can be multiple spellings of a word, or your domain name is frequently misspelled, then you will definitely want to use multiple domain names. Sirius Radio is a case in point. In addition to sirius.com, you may also want to use serious.com and serrius.com.

Also, if an individual also uses a business name as their domain name, I will recommend that they purchase an additional domain name using their personal name. For instance, one of my clients is Elizabeth Goodwin. She wanted to use “lifespectrumcounseling.com” as her domain name. Since her clients know her name and not necessarily her business name, it would make since that they should be able to easily find her website by typing in her name. In addition, if they recommend her to other potential clients, they will most likely provide her name, not her business name. So, I recommended that she also have elizabethgoodwin.com pointing to her site.