How to choose a domain name.

Like so many things in search ranking and search traffic, when it comes to domain names, it just doesn’t seem like domain name registration or the domain name itself, is that important.

But it really is important, at least indirectly.

In truth, your domain name could really be anything, like “hsoekgbs.com”. Or it could be some ridiculous sounding name – Google.com proves that.

At Qorble, we can register a new domain name for you. If you already have a domain name, no worries, we can work with that. But, if you are choosing a domain name, the following information may be very helpful.

Marketing Pointers When Choosing A Domain Name

There are a few important factors that go into a domain name – especially with regard to marketing.

1. A domain name should, if possible, in a very brief way, describe and be relevant to what a business does and the content on the site (website). 

For example, if you have a barber shop and can use the name of your shop, “Quick Cuts” – that works, QuickCuts.com. Or if you couldn’t use that then maybe just BarberJoes.com.

2. Your domain name should be as short as possible.

Why should the domain name be short? Because, it is easier to remember and looks more professional. If that barber shop were to use JoesQuickCutsBarberShopInBoiseIdaho.com, well first, nobody could ever remember it, and second, it just looks bad or sometimes it may look spammy. 

By the way I am capitalizing the example domains in this post, but you probably know that caps do not mean anything in a URL – the caps are always automatically eliminated after a submission in a browser.

So, look at that long domain name again without the caps – joesquickcutsbarbershopinboiseidaho.com – now it looks really bad.

3. Always use .com whenever possible

The three most popular domain name extensions (and that is what .com is) are .com .net and .org

Way back when, .org was initially set up to accommodate non-profit and other community organizations. Through the years that designation has been lost, and anybody can use .org – and they do. 

The .com extension was created to be used for commercial enterprises – and has become the absolute most commonly used extension.

The .net was more of a neutral extension that could be used for personal sites or other types of sites, but it did also get used for commercial sites.

And, of course, many other domain name extensions have since come into being and occasionally you will see them used.

The reason to use .com whenever possible is because.. people just have a tendency to always assume that the domain extension is .com.

If that barber shop used QuickCuts.net, then most people when trying to remember the URL for the site would type in QuickCuts.com and not get to the website, but perhaps they land on a competitor – not good.

4. Never use a hyphen in your domain name

Again, it comes back to what people remember when they are typing out a URL. The barber shop goes with Quick-Cuts.com, but everyone keeps typing in QuickCuts.com – and again, potentially landing on a competitors site.  Yes, hyphen(s) are acceptable in a domain name – but don’t use them.

5. Try to never use mis-spells in your domain name

Unless it is very memorable, using a mis-spell in your domain name is just as bad as a hyphen and for the same reason. The barber shop could not get the .com name they wanted so they go with QuikCutz.com.

I know… there are some very big websites out there that use mis-spell domain names with success. But if possible, try and use a correct spelling domain name however and whenever you can. QuickCuts.com is always better than QuikCutz.com.

An exception might be when duplicating your business name. The barber shop name on the building says “Quik Cutz” (don’t ask me why) – then yes, grab the QuikCutz.com domain name.

It all comes down to marketing. You want people to remember your name and your domain name. It should be short and catchy and memorable.

6. You can use call to action

I have seen websites with a call to action type domain name. Like, the barber shop might use HairCutsQuick.com or GetAQuickCut.com or something like that.

This is perfectly acceptable. Just make sure it is still as relevant as possible. For the barber shop, a domain name like LookYourBest.com is not really on point. Yes, you could look your best by visiting the barber shop – but it could also mean many other things. Be as relevant as possible.

7. Do not use a location in a domain name

There is a “Quick Cuts” in Michigan using QuickCuts.com – so the barber shop in Boise decides to use QuickCutsBoise.com as their domain name. 

Why is this not good, because they may move to North Dakota next year – and then QuickCutsBoise.com does not make sense and is not relevant. It would have to be changed and a process setup to redirect traffic to the new site – complicated.

And.. what if they open up a barber shop in another city?  Should they setup another website with a different city name? No, never. All business locations should be under the same umbrella website for a business. (there are reasons for this that we won’t get into here)

The SEO reasons behind choosing a domain name.

The big reason to try and make your domain name relevant to what you do and the content on your website is for search ranking.

Google, in a small way, gives a favorable ranking to pages on sites where the domain name is more directly relevant to what the business does as determined by the content on the site.

Google (and other search engines) look at the words in the domain, if possible, and how they may be relevant to the search query.

If our now infamous barber shop had a domain name of JoesTrucks.com (I don’t know why, maybe he had the domain name from when he used to have a used truck lot) , then Google would be “suspicious” that the domain appears to be about trucks but the content on the site is about a barber shop getting your hair cut. They may not favorably rank pages on that site.

Speaking of that truck lot Joe used to have – JoesTrucks.com used to have truck related content on the site and Google keeps track of domain name and page history. Yes, they really do. That history of previous content could affect how a page is ranked. 

That could apply to any domain name that has history that may be used. Buying a used domain name from another party besides a registrar, could be tricky for this reason. What if the domain had a history of malware invasion? 

Domain names that have keywords in them that are relevant to the page content may help that page get a slight bump in search ranking.

Does this mean that QuickCuts.com would really help a page rank where the page was about getting a quick haircut. Yes, maybe. But, it doesn’t mean much for other pages about other topics.

Does it mean that QuikCutz.com would not help a page get a favorable ranking for the same topic of getting a quick haircut? Possibly.

It used to be that Google paid more attention to keywords in the domain name for ranking purposes. They are now getting away from that. Helpful, useful, relevant content is really what helps a page rank higher in search results – not the domain name.

User click through rate may be low and Google does see that as a big ranking factor.

If you were to search for hair cuts and get a search result back where the domain was JoesTrucks.com/get-quick-cut/, would you click on it?  Probably not. Because it is weird. It doesn’t make sense.

Google does take user interaction in search results as a big ranking factor. When your page is in the search results because the content is relevant, but it does not get any clicks, that signals to Google that your page may not be relevant – and down it goes in ranking.

It is important to have either: a domain name that is benign but not too weird and maybe related to what you do (QuikCutz.com), or have the domain name be directly related in some way to what you do (QuickCuts.com).

That is all we have for now on choosing a domain name. Don’t worry, if you already have a domain name and it was not the best choice (it may not have followed the tips outlined here), there are solutions – or it may be ok to just forge ahead.

Remember, that most people find you through a search result where the domain is already there – all they have to do is click. You could have any name in that case. It is when they want to come back and visit you that the domain name choice you make comes into play.

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