Challenges in the Selection of a Domain Name
Decisions, decisions. Someone has said “they can make anything other than a decision”. There are some decisions that you clearly don’t want to rush and the choice of a “Domain Name” may be one of those decisions. I don’t mean you prevaricate for days or weeks but you do need to consider your choice of name very carefully.
Selection of a Domain Name for an Existing Local Business.
If you have a business name, are a local business and the “Domain Name” is available then choice of name is probably straightforward. However, if your desired choice of name is not available then the search for an alternative is where a “choice” becomes important. Hence you may want to consider alternative names and “mull” over them or even discuss them with third parties to use them as a sounding board for possible choices.
Selection of a Domain Name to appeal to a Wider Market.
For other types of business enterprise where your Internet Site my be your main or only “shop window” then the name selected may not be as obvious or straightforward. It may also be the situation that a Local Bricks and Mortar Business has the objective to promote their products/services to a wider market/audience.
In these instances name selection and the implications can have long term consequences to traffic and business viability, especially if you are working on a limited budget (which will be the case for the vast majority of people reading this post). What I am really saying here is that most people will not have large sums of money to promote a Business Name or Business Domain Name via a huge advertising budget. Therefore the name selected needs to be suggestive of the service supplied so that “search engines” (i.e. Google) will pick it up.
Summary “Must Have” of a Domain Name.
In my post “What is a Domain Name” I have went into detail on the characteristics of name selection. I will not repeat all the detail contained in that post but summarise the main points below.
1. Make it easy to type. Therefore it should not be complicated, but be memorable hence it is easy to type.
2. Name should be short; maximum length is recommended as 10 letters, however the shorter the better i.e. “Skype”
3. Keywords will become important (will be discussed later), so the name should lend itself to being a keyword or becoming a keyword.
4. Maybe “area specific” depending on the business – see my post on Domain Name Extensions where I go into great detail on their implications and importance.
5. At all times try to ensure a Domain Name uses letters only – avoid numbers and hyphens. Remember the “KISS” principle (Keep it Simple Stupid).
6. Ideally the name should be Memorable or suggestive of service/product promoted.
7. Use an Appropriate Domain Name Extension.
8. If you are going to use Social Media such a Twitter/YouTube etc you should check if your Domain Name is available as an address. CHECKUSERNAMES is a Free Web site that will check the availability of any proposed Domain Name on 160 Social Media Networks.
Key Words in the context of a Domain Name.
You need to understand what a “Keyword” is and “file” its importance in the back of your mind for constant reference. I am not going to provide you in this post with a comprehensive “paper” on Keywords but I will highlight their importance and necessary features.
Keywords are ideas and topics that tell a person or electronic search tool what your content is about. In terms of Search Engine Optimisation (S.E.O.), they’re the words, phrases and terms that searchers enter into search engines (i.e Google). On a Web page — all the images, video, copy, etc. — down to simple words and phrases, are your primary keywords.
While the content of your Web page is vitally important in respect of “Keywords” in our case we want to focus particularly on the Domain Name as a “Keyword”.
Why are keywords important in respect of a Domain Name?
Keywords are important because they are the connection between what people are searching for and the content of the Web Site you are providing to fill that need. Your goal in ranking on search engines is to drive organic traffic to your site from the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). The keywords you choose to target (i.e. the ones you choose to include in your content) will determine what kind of traffic you get.
So, you may be asking yourself; what has all this to do with my Selection of a Domain Name? Think about this a moment! For most people starting out on a limited Budget their Domain Name will be their “Most Important Keyword” . The more relevant to the service/product you are supplying/promoting that your Domain Name is, the more likely it is to be referenced and picked up by a Search Engine. Keywords are as much about your audience as they are about your content.
If you take as an example the present page you are reading and the Domain Name “MyProDomain”. The name “MyProDomain” was purposely selected because it contained the word “Domain” which was what the blog was going to be about. However, it was not possible to purchase “Domain.com” so a compromise name had to be sourced. Eventually after searching various alternatives the name “Domain” was prefixed with “Mypro”.
The expectation is that over time anyone seeking information on Domain Names will turn up on the Search Engines “MyProDomain”. O.K. granted, it would be better and more effective for Search Engine Optimisation if the prefix “Mypro” was not part of the name, but this is an example of the compromises and improvisations that are a regular part of suitable name selection on a limited budget.
Where do I find available Domain Names?
Well, you could go directly to a “domain registrar and web hosting company” such as GoDaddy or NameCheap to name two of the most common and popular of literally numerous companies in this business. However, in order to provide you with ideas and options and help let you see a wide variety of options and ideas I am advising that for the moment you consider tools that will provide you with both ideas and options. These tools will also help you “brain storm” all sorts of ideas.
Options for Searching and Suggesting Domain Names.
This online software simply asks you to input some text (i.e. a keyword) to a text box and after a few seconds provides literally hundreds if not thousands of available Domain Names which have your keyword as part of the name. The site focuses on “.com” Domain Names. If you click on any of the suggested names it will offer to Register the Domain Name, create an account with “WordPress.com” and also Blue Host. At this stage I would not do anything until you consider my next Blog which will detail a series of Options.
Like the previous site this online software operates in a similar manner, but provides less names of available Domain Names, but does provide a variety of available Domain Name extensions. The site also gives indications of “Premium Sites” and their likely sales value. The site is set up to promote “BlueHost” a company which hosts Domains. My best advice is to have a look at the site, but as stated previously take no further action until you read my next Blog post.
Like the sites above you enter a “word or words” (keyword(s)) into a text box and are provided with a comprehensive list of suggested names although there is no indication of their extensions. When you click on a name it takes you straight to “BlueHost” which as stated is a company which hosts Domains. This would be my least favourite site of the three and appears to have been set up primarily to promote “BlueHost”.
If you have got this far then hopefully you have selected or finalised the selection of a suitable Domain Name which will rank well in a “Keyword” search. At this stage when you know what name or a number of name options you may have, we then need to look at two other important matters – the cost of the Domain Name and the Hosting of the Domain Name. These two items will be the content of the next Blog.