Domain Name Do’s and Don’ts
It’s a story as old as the first commercial domain name to be registered on March 15, 1985. In the beginning, Symbolics.com registered the domain name for their company. In so doing, they initiated what has become an important part of every company’s online presence. By now, you’ve probably already heard tips of what to do when you select and set up your domain name for your website design, but it’s also important to know what not to do.
Knowledge really is power, and understanding what not to do can save you time, money, and most importunately of all, your reputation. You just can’t afford to make embarrassing mistakes when it comes to selecting the right domain name for your company. Here are tips on what to do… and what NOT to do.
Do Select the Perfect Domain Name
It’s easier said than done, but you really do need the perfect domain name. You’ve already got a business concept that will rock everyone’s world. It’s hot. It’s trendy, and it will be the next big thing as part of your web design. The only problem is you need to find a name for the company, and perhaps even worse yet, you must find a domain name that suitably establishes your brand identity, authority, and SEO strategy, while setting the right tone. And, oh by the way, 1.94 billion of the most creative and perfect domain names (mostly) have already been registered. If the task of finding the perfect company name was not enough of a challenge, you’re faced with the stark reality of all the brilliant domain names that are already taken.
So, what don’t you do? Don’t settle for just any domain name.
Do Keep it Simple
It’s challenging to find the right concept that will tie into your company purpose and brand identity, so it’s tempting to pick a domain name that nobody else could possibly own. You’ve seen these domain names. The URLs are gibberish. They misspell words. They throw in long names, impossible to-understand-abbreviations, and hyphens. If you didn’t know what the domain name was when you set it up, there’d be no way to guess it. Worse yet, the domain name has no correlation with your company. It’s certainly important to find a domain name, but it must mean something. It should be so simple that you could tell the domain name to a stranger, and that person could immediately find your company’s website by typing it into a browser.
So, what don’t you do? Don’t suffer a fool. Do not make your domain name too complicated.
Do Mean Something
Your perfectly simple domain name has made its way into the next stage. It’s available. It’s simple. But, what does it mean? The meaning could be the denotation or connotation. You should know and understand what the domain name means, but also how that meaning will change if it’s misspelled, misspoken, or misunderstood. The name is part of the brand story, your corporate identity. If you don’t do your homework now, what you don’t know about your company name could really hurt you. Your domain name signifies something, whether you understand the meaning or not. Your domain name can be a force in defining your corporate image and culture, or it could be an embarrassment.
So, what don’t you do? Don’t use a domain name when you don’t know what it means. Do not allow your domain name to become an embarrassing faux pas.
Do Consider the Future
As the founder or principle player in your company’s development, you’re focusing on the future. You’re looking at your SWOT: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Beyond just being unique, available, and full of meaning, your brilliant domain names must hold up to the challenge of critical analysis both now and for the future of your company. It must do something for you. It’s not just dead weight, a made-up anachronism, or a meaningless series of letters and numbers. Your domain name must stand up to all the challenges of competitors, the market place, and every mean spirited attempt to pick it apart. When you tap into SEO services, it should be something that’s easy to differentiate. As an exercise, select a couple of your competitors. Look at their domain name and examine how well it has stood up to the test of time. Has the domain name become outdated, cliched, or just plain irrelevant?
So, what don’t you do? Don’t rely on trendy lingo or buzzwords. Do not select a domain name simply because you think it will live up to the current keyword hype.
Do Consider Search Traffic And Keywords
It pays to know what traffic is around your core products or services. If you can actually fit the most prized keyword in your domain name URL, and it makes sense to do so, then you are already streets ahead in terms of SEO and Google rankings. Obviously the search term needs to be very relevant to your product or service, but if it is then this is one of the core components of SEO. With all other things being equal on a site if a person is looking for, say, plumbing on the north shore of Sydney, then a company called north shore plumbing, at www.northshoreplumbing.com.au is perfect. They win hands down in the SEO and Google rankings battlefield over say Joe Blow Fixes Dunnies at www.joeblowfixesdunnies.com.au. Your business name and therefore domain name should always incorporate extensive keyword research beforehand.
So, what don’t you do? Don’t throw up any old name that has nothing to do with the actual service or product you provide, if starting a new business. Unless you are a well established brand this use of keyword research and SEO will give you an automatic leg up over competitors.
It’s not easy to pick a domain name. If
someone told you it is, he or she was either misinformed or lying to you. What
you should really be looking at is how your domain name will become a part of
who you are. You don’t have to decide your domain name immediately. So…
- Don’t rush into a domain name selection.
- Don’t get caught up in the hype.
- Don’t ignore good advice from people you trust.
- Don’t be afraid to learn the rules (and then break them).