We oftentimes work with clients on starting up web sites for new businesses. The first thing many of them look to do is pick a domain name–some even go so far as to choose the name of their business on the availability of a particular URL.
Once you pick your URL and start building a brand, it becomes harder and harder to change your URL as time goes by (not to say that it can’t be done through redirects and such of course). As you start building brand recognition, handing out businesses cards, and gathering links to your current site, you and your clients become familiar with whatever URL you currently have. That is why it is so important to choose the right domain name in the first place, to avoid the hassle of going back and changing everything later.
These are a few of the tips we give to clients when they are going about the process of choosing their domain name:
Keep your URL shortNobody wants to have to remember and type in a full paragraph just to get to your site!
Make your URL easy to spellIf you have a lot of words that are hard to spell or commonly misspelled then you may want to think about choosing something else. If there’s no way around this, try grabbing some alternate spellings of your domain URL as well, just in case someone type sit in wrong.
Avoid ‘word clashing’ in your URLMore of an aesthetic thing than anything else, avoid combining words together that have the same ending and beginning letters (for example, dallaSSigns.com or busineSSSolutions.com).
Try for a .com domain name if possibleYes, many of the good .com URLs have already been taken, but definitely try and find one that works, as .com is still king when it comes to domain names. There has been more than one example where clients of our clients mistakenly goes to, or sends emails to the .com version of their domain when it is, in fact, .net.
Avoid unnatural spellings in your domain nameSure, if widgetsolutions.com is taken you could always go for widgetsolutionz.com…but don’t. It’s not very classy, you’ll be explaining yourself every time, and people will constantly be making mistakes.
Dashes in your URL? Only if you must. Multiple dashes? No.Dashes have been done to death. SEO-wise, there isn’t a huge negative affect or anything when using dashes in a domain name, but avoid multiple dashes (e.g. jerrys-dog-treats.com). Again, you’ll have to explain it every time, people will make mistakes.
Don’t buy multiple domain names (with some exceptions)When buying domain names you may be tempted to grab up all of the alternate spellings, similar URLs, and additional domain suffixes (.net, .org, etc.). Well, you are going to want to stick with just one URL for your business or organization, so that’s not always the best option. True you can just point all of these these additional domains to your ‘real’ one pretty easily, but it is a waste of time and money unless a.) they are very common misspellings, b.) you are a very large or visible organization (e.g. Microsoft, Disney) that wants to prevent “squatters” from buying domain names with your trademarked words in them (although they can always be taken care of legally), c.) it is the singular or plural of your (most e-commerce/product selling) domain name (johnsparakeets.com versus johnsparakeet.com), or d.) you are looking to build a totally separate site with all-new content on them at a later date and would like to secure the purchase of the URL(s) now.
Plural URL or singular URL? Doesn’t matterShould you get bobswidget.com or bobswidets.com? As far as search engine optimization is concerned, it doesn’t really matter–get whichever one is available and sounds right (or both, see item c above).
Which word order?If bobswidgets.com isn’t available and widgetbob.com or widgetsbob.com is, should you go for it? Sure–it doesn’t usually affect SEO rankings noticeably. It may not sound ‘right’ though, so use your best judgment.
If you have any other questions that you’ve always wondered about that aren’t covered in the tips above, please feel free to contact us via publicly replying to this post below, sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or calling us at (248) 270-8121.