If you’re starting a business or looking to take your business online, you need to know how to choose a domain name. If you already have a name for your business, then you’re kind of pigeon-holed already, but if you’re starting from scratch consider yourself lucky in regard to this aspect of your business.
Choosing a Domain For SEO Purposes
How to choose a domain is based on a variety of factors. Choosing a brand that enhances your brand is always the best idea.
Let’s say you’re in the transportation industry and your company name is ABC trucking. Is it right to make your domain something other than abctrucking.com? No, your business name is always best. “Trucking” is still related to transportation, so you’re not completely off the mark, but what you’ll realize in this article is your domain name can be virtually anything.
If you’re looking for an in-depth guide to getting on the first page of Google. Check out the Top 10 Steps to Getting on the First Page.
Branding With a Domain
You might think that you should insert the main keyword of your niche into your new domain. If you can great, but don’t sacrifice the integrity of your brand just to jam a keyword in there. It’s not as important as you might think.
It definitely helps to let Google know that you’re interested in ranking for that particular term, but sometimes it’s not possible or needed.
What is important is your branding and website copy. Those two things must be very targeted towards your target audience and must let Google know your intentions to rank.
You can do this by entering the best keywords or phrases frequently on your website. How many times and the density you place that keyword will depend on a variety of things. Check out this quick guide to know all you need to know about optimizing your website content.
Search engine optimization or SEO has much more going on than just keywords. If you spam keywords and you will hurt your brand integrity, and ultimately get de-ranked by Google.
Why Does Amazon.com work?
You might be thinking there are plenty of examples of companies with great brands and online presence that have nothing to do with what they sell. Apple sells computers, Amazon is an e-commerce store, and Nike sells shoes.
It’s not a must that your company name and website domain explain exactly what you are. These companies chose to create a symbol and teach people to identify their products with that symbol. They had the vision to be different and made it work for them.
Whether or not you take this method is up to you. Both approaches work quite well if you are consistent, have great products, and market the hell out of your brand. Amazon sought to have everything under the sun on its website. Nike got the biggest sports stars to endorse their products. Apple said their products needed to be high-quality and easy on the eyes.
Competition for Domains
If you’re entering a niche that is already online, odds are that you won’t be able to get the domain you want unless it is unique to the industry. Let’s take the example from above and say your company is named ABC Trucking. What should you do if that is already taken?
One option I love is to introduce a location to your domain. ABCtruckingnashville.com is a great way to add distinction to your brand and help your local SEO, which is a huge help for your business. Google loves specificity and adding specific terms to the domains you create will help you get your business ranked higher on search engines.
Another option is instead of buying just abctrucking.com, you could try to purchase abctrucking.org, or .net. These will work too. Just remember, your name isn’t everything, but it does help.
How to Choose a Domain Name
Identify Your Niche
This step should be already done, but if you’re not sure what your niche is then you have to start here. The trick is to make it broad and narrow at the same time.
Let’s say you’re a digital marketer. You focus mostly on social media marketing and see tremendous value in making video sales funnels. You could niche yourself as the social media video marketer, but how will your customers know that you can help their particular business.
The fact is that without picking an industry to go along with your niche skill, you’ll have difficulty building trust with every audience. You definitely don’t want that, so think about what you kind of companies you enjoy working with. Maybe your specialty could be making Instagram videos for pet food companies. There are plenty of pets that need videos, so this might be a good path for you.
When it comes to picking a domain for this kind of business, you could think of something lets people know instantly what you do. Something like dogvideoinstagramguru.com definitely lets people know who you are, but that’s not the most memorable domains. How about Instadogvideo.com? That’s kind of catchy right?
Whatever it is that you choose for your business is up to you. Remember, you could even make it your name.com or something like peaches.com if you market it right and connect it somehow to what you do. The choice is yours.
Understand Your Audience
Not all audiences will respond well to domain names that are serious in nature. The same goes for audiences that prefer more casual and transparent brands. Knowing your audience better than you know yourself should become a priority before you spend any time or money.
How to choose a domain is not an exact science, but there are definite do’s and don’ts for your particular brand. Use some of the tools outlined in this blog to figure out your messaging, brand, and domain. This article on Facebook Audience Insights is a great place to start.
If you’re still wondering how to choose a domain name, think about being memorable more than being functional. Using a slightly poetic approach or something rhythmic when pronounced definitely a good idea.
How about something that insights a mental image? I definitely don’t think of fruit when I hear the word apple. I think computers and smartphones with tons of apps.
Odds are your first few choices, unless you’re choosing a domain like your name, will not be available. Make a list of your top 10 and see what works the best for your budget and your brand.
Also, when you’re making your list, don’t make all your selections closely related to each other. Think of some off-the-wall options too. Sometimes using slang terms work well too.
For example, if you’re a company that sells custom sneakers, you could name yourself Customshoes.com, but that’s not very memorable. It would be better if you named your business in alignment with your audience. Maybe something like Kustomkicks.com would work better. How about sneakysneakers.com? It’s up to you, but don’t forget to be creative whenever you can.
The picture below should be used as a guide. Most people still associate websites with .com, .org., and .net suffixes. This means that if you’re an unknown or new to the industry you should seek a domain with the .com suffix to make sure you don’t alienate non-tech savvy people.
Buy All Surrounding Domains
Given all the options for suffixes, you should purchase all the related domains surrounding your company. If you can afford the yearly costs of purchasing instadogvideo.net and .org. and .co etc, you should purchase them even if you don’t develop the websites.
This can be a major issue for large companies because domain prospecting and flipping is a huge business. Even when most people think buying domains is an old business, there are new trends coming every year. Think about the fidget spinner epidemic that showed up a few years ago. There was definitely money to be made during that time.
Best Places to Buy Domain Names
There are a ton of places to buy domains these days, but here are some suggestions for you. If you can try to buy your domains more than a year at a time. These domains can sometimes cost more to renew each year.
GoDaddy, Namecheap are two of my favorites. Do yourself a favor and always look for some promo codes before you buy.
Buying domains are simple, but a lot of businesses struggle with the process. It’s really not that complicated.
What gets people stuck is the permanence of the purchase. It is important to pick an excellent representation of your business, but a skilled marketer can make any domain work for your business if they have to. Consider how many companies sell something that without marketing, has nothing to do with the product.
The reason for me bringing this up in the conclusion is if you’re stuck with a name that you’re not completely ecstatic about, don’t fret. it’s not the end of the world. Just focus on making your product and content better than your competition. After that, it’s all about how you sell it and how much you sell it.
For more information on marketing and selling your business, here are two articles to get you started. Crush Your Sales with Social Selling and How to Master Content Creation for Your Business.