Importance of domain name – How to pick a great domain name?
If you’re starting a new business on Internet, next to the product or service your business is going to offer, the first and foremost important detail you’d need to think about is the domain name of the website.
Domain name becomes your major part of your brand. It will welcome all your traffic, and via meaningful conversion it will generate your online success (aka revenue if you’re an online selling entity).
Domain Name Selection in 2016
Selecting a domain should come before website design, as the the tone of domain will impact the design of the website.
This is 2016 and and yet selecting the best possible domain name is still equally paramount as it was in 1997 for a successful website. It is still equally tricky despite plethora of tools available.
- Keep it nice and sweet > So customers can remember it
- Keep it short > So customer can type easily (important for direct traffic) as well as memorize it
- Avoid violation of brand terms, registered trademarks but pay attention to competition names and similarly spelled domains
- Avoid dashes, numbers, typos unless extremely needed but pay attention to singular or plural and variations
- Pay attention to TLDs and international domains, if applies > .com vs .net. vs.org …. as well as .uk, .ca, or .fr … etc
If this blog was simply about 5 things to consider selecting a domain name, we would be done. You’ve yet to see How to Determine the Best Domain Name Step-by-Step? So let’s start with some underlying principles.
Principles of Domain Name Selection for Success of the Website
There are 2 most common ways in Domain Name Selection Methodology:
Keyword Rich Domain
Keyword Rich Domains provide HIGHEST website Relevancy. When you combine a highly relevant domain with laser focused topic, you’d have a extremely successful website powerful enough to beat Amazon or Walmart on their niche market.Keyword Rich Domain, provides search driven value first and foremost upon with website branding is built.
- Exact Match Domain:
On Keyword Richness part, it would always be best to have EXACT MATCH DOMAIN. However, since this is 2016, chances of getting single word or double word or even 3 words exact match domains is not very easy. Most of such domains are already taken. Hence, unless there is significant budget, exact match domain is hard to get by.Keep in mind that due to many recent Google algorithm changes, the value of exact match domain has decreased quite a bit from its peak. So picking a domain name, just from exact match itself may or may not be sufficient.
- Partial Match Domain:
This leads to the partially match domain, where we would have the relevant keyword associated with either
- other common words
- Clever variationsAs long as the website stays on/around the subject matter relevant to the scope of domain, it’s likelihood of success stays significant.
- Exact Match Domain:
Weather.com is an example of Exact Match Domain. Similarly, other examples could be Cars.com, home.com or diapers.com as well. In all of these search comes first, branding comes next.
Just by finding the right domain using “Keyword Rich Domain” principle will get your website found via Search Engines, and influx of free online traffic will quite likely help your website significantly from traffic perspective.
2. Build Irresistible Brand
The second Domain Name Selection Principle is to focus first on Branding and pay little to no thought to search. Websites built with “Build Irresistible Brand” principal, need to have GREAT service or content on their subject matter. They cannot rely on capturing piece of pie of Search Volume as in case of “Keyword Rich Domains” might. Here, borrowing second hand ideas and content of other websites, not being EXTREMELY unique in solving custoemrs needs would spell out to be a major failture. If you’re following this method, goal must be to become one of the top 3 brands in ones’ expertise.
When successful, this strategy will lead to an exceptionally successful website, however, upon failure it will starve for organic traffic. This could be very rewarding if successful however quite risky as well as build brands is easier said than done.
Let’s take an example of “GoDaddy”. It is in business of registering domain names however “Go Daddy” in the domain has nothing to do with domains nor hosting. Personally, I had laughed (in fact, our entire floor had laughed) when I heard about Godaddy.com launch for domain names, but I never forgotten about it either. Their strategy was to follow “Build Irresistible Brand” path and they surely have established themselves as unique provider of those particular services in domains and hosting business.
To summarize, in this method, identity of the company itself comes first and foremost with little of no regard to natural search (by virtue of domain).
3. Can we combine Keyword Rich Domain with Build Irresistible Brand?
For those smart entrepreneurs out there, these principles of domain selection does not need to be one or the other, and surely can be combined to produce the most efficient brand name. This could be the best case scenario for most businesses, where one can build the brands fully while not ignoring the search demand (or search volume). Few good examples that comes to mind are
- SurveyMonkey.com – It has the business focused keyword with clever memorable branding.
- NetFlix – Net Flicks turned to NetFix to refer to movies delivered by Internet, is a clever way to brand a domain while capturing the search.
- Paypal – Domain relates to payment in a friendly manner, and successfully marries principle of search and branding.
The first principle of Domain Name Selection Methodology is “Keyword Rich Domain”, which relies of Search Volume of that keyword. Exact match domains can be very effective and relevant on that subject matter allowing it to be become an authority on the topic. This is a safe bet, as search will always be there, and as long as this website can capture a percent share of the total search demand, organic traffic to the website won’t be a problem. So the methodology in this case, would be to find the highest possible search volume in the most relevant subject matter.
The second principle of Domain Name Selection Methodology is to “Build Irresistible Brand”. This principle guides the process by focusing more on Branding than directly on search. If your’re comfortable to invest time and money to first build the brand and worry about the search later, this method is for you.
The third and the best option could be to combine both approaches and try to be creative to take full advantage of search volume while fully developing the brand itself. If so, the domain would not be a boring trap for search volume. Instead, it will be alive with unique and second-to-none branding.
How to Determine the Best Domain Name Step-By-Step?
In jest, let’s call it Ujjwal’s Domain Search 10-Step Method:
- Start by answering: Here are the 3 unique features about our products or services A) ___ B) ____ and C) _____.
- Follow-up by answering: Here are 3 values we offer which we’d like our website visitors / customers to remember us for: A) ___ B) ____ and C) _____.
- From above, come up with 6-10 possible key ideas, which should distill down to about 3-5 primary keywords.
- Now, run a Search Volume Analysis. Higher SV terms are better than lower SV terms.
- Apply the 5 tips on picking domain names from above on what comes out from search volume analysis.
- Start the branding exercise and see which of terms you’ve come up with with significant search volume fits in with Branding.
- Finalize the domain name as well as the branding concept version 1.
- Litmus Test: At this time, if you’re in right direction:
- You should have nice memorable,easy to type, brand-able domain that has the highest possible search volume in your niche.
- Your new logo and tagline will begin to take some form or shape.
- If you don’t have either of above 2, Go back to step #1 to ask what’s Unique about my products and services.
- Hear out, few members of your team speak and write and use the proposed domain name. If it appears natural, you’re all set. Better yet, have your boss do it, and if he is sold, rush to your favorite domain name provider and buy it right away (don’t wait more than needed.).
- Disclaimer: Note, there is no single right way for domain search. Based upon your need, resources available and type of products/services/industry and type of management style, different strategies and approaches might be injected throughout these steps as appropriate.