When it comes to building an online business, a domain name is to your company what a physical address is to a brick-and-mortar storefront.
It goes without saying that a good domain name is one of the defining factors in the early success of a website. But unfortunately, many domain names are taken, and finding the right one can be a real challenge. Chin up!
We’re lucky to live in the 21st century and we can use WORDS to designate our website address, while a few decades ago (before 1984) there were no domain names at all, only numbers. http://154.170.153…. – try to guess what kind of business this domain name belongs to :). So, now when you see that your odds to find a meaningful domain name are rather high, let’s refresh a few good rules on picking the right URL.
Conduct Keyword Research
You may find this boring, but first of all, you should use your keyword tool to get some insights. Surely, you may skip this stage, but more often than not people end up using keyword tools :), especially if their business niche is highly saturated. You may also use one of the domain name tools suggested in this post.
From an SEO standpoint your domain name should include your major keywords. For instance, my personal website SuperbWebsiteBuilders.com contains ‘website builders’. In case you’re serving local users only, you may add your location to attract local visitors. Many also recommend to hyphenate domain names to help search engines see separate words in your URL. However, these domains can be difficult to verbalize and remember.
Once you have compiled a list of the most likely domain names, start checking their availability using one of the popular registrars. Don’t lose your heart if it appears that your top 10 names in the list are taken. Just add a suffix, prefix or join a few words together until you get something sharp, easy-to-remember and recollect. The process can be time-consuming and exhausting. However, you should never use non-related domains for your websites. Other don’ts include:
- Don’t make it long. Long domains are more likely to be misspelled and often don’t look professionally.
- Don’t use modified versions of the already existing, popular websites. This is a recipe for disaster, to my mind.
- Don’t give up fast!
Sometimes it makes sense to check whether the domain name had been used used before. As a rule, it’s not the most important factor, yet sometimes it can be the reason for a low ranking and other mishaps (for example, the domain name was used for illegal or unethical purposes).
As for extensions, I would recommend using .com, especially if you’re dead set on building a powerful international website. While local extensions will be perfect for your affiliate localizations.
Speaking about prices, a typical domain name will cost you about $10 per year. However, you may equally pay a few millions for an exclusive URL if you so choose :). You may also get a domain name as a gift (if available) when purchasing a hosting package or creating an account with one of the top 10 site builders.