Domain Name Selection.
Here is what Google tells you through their new
Knol beta*. MY emphases in red bold text.
One of the most
important decisions you'll make when building a website
is choosing your domain name, also known as a
Uniform Resource Locator, or (URL) in geek speak. The following 6 tips
should help in your selection.
standalone rule: if you told someone your domain name, would it be obvious
to them what it is you do? And more importantly, would they be
able to type it correctly into a web browsers address bar?
This brings to mind an individual I met a while
ago whose domain name was
www.mrindemand.com; not being able to determine
what he was ‘in demand for’, I asked: It turns out he is “Canada’s most in
demand web guru.” And if you don’t believe him, just ask him. Glad I asked.
But Mr. In Demand is in good company. Take,
for instance, one of the larger U.S. Airlines
www.united.com: Is it obvious what they do just
by their domain name?
2. The Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Rule:
Try to keep your domain name short and sweet. A good rule of thumb is 25
characters or less, including prefix (www.) and suffix (.com). For an example
of what NOT to do, check out
the self-proclaimed world’s longest domain name.
3. SEOing your domain name: Good SEO
(aka Search Engine Optimization) has a lot to do with
relevance; more to the point, building relevance into your website.
For instance, if your site is about the mating habits of ‘The Bearded Titmouse’
(and no, I did not just make this up), it would make good SEO sense to use this
phrase in your web copy, meta information, links etc…
Referencing rule #1, it would be ideal to have
the actual phrase as your domain name. For those interested,
www.thebeardedtitmouse.com is still available.
4. Geo-target: Who and where your
audience is should play into your domain name choice. For example,
if you provide a service solely for people in Toronto,
Ontario Canada, it would make sense to register a domain name with a Canadian
suffix (.ca): this will not only help your search engine efforts
(assuming you’re targeting Toronto, Ontario Canada), but will also provide a
visual clue to your audience that you’re a Canadian site – great for people that
want to shop locally.
Taking it one step further, consider including
your targeted city name, for example; [www.torontomyservice.ca].
All things being equal, people will default to the .com, so try to lock that one
up as well. In a perfect world, the .ca and .com domain names would be
identical; except for their .ca and .com suffix.
But keep in mind that Geo-targeting can be
tricky. For instance, while working with a Veterinary Clinic in Newmarket,
Ontario, the client wanted to target [Newmarket, Ontario] and [Aurora,
Ontario]: lo and behold, these 2 local markets ended up having counterparts in
other countries: [Newmarket, England] and [Aurora, Colorado] and [Aurora,
Illinois]. As a result, someone in Ontario searching for a ‘Newmarket Vet’ may
get a Veterinary Clinic in Newmarket, England.
5. Keep to your A, B, and C's: I
recently did some work for a new company whose domain name began with three
digits; the digits in question being ‘101’. In essence, the domain would end
up looking something like this [www.101myservice.com].
Had you heard about this website, and were not
given the proper spelling or alpha-numeric sequence, how would you search it
out? How many times would you try before you just gave up?
6. Don’t become famous for the wrong
reasons: People love to make lists on the Web, some are good and others are
not so good. For example, if you have a website, you definitely want to avoid
Vincent Flanders’ list of
Also, try to avoid ‘The top 10 unintentionally
worst company URLs’ list, which includes
www.speedofart.com (this apparently has
something to do with art), and
www.ipanywhere.com (which has everything to do
with remote access software).
There are a number of considerations when
choosing a domain name, and ways around some of the above problems already
mentioned. But at the end of the day, try to keep it simple and be creative;
just not too creative. Your domain name should provide
a clue as to what business you’re in.
Got that folks? Include your primary keyword
phrase in your domain name.
You do not have to do it, but I recommend
using hyphens for clarity between words.