Tips on Choosing a Domain Name

Tips on choosing a domain name - yellow smiley typing on a laptopChoosing your domain name requires a bit of thought and research to get the most bang for your buck in terms of search engine optimization (SEO) and memorability factor for your website.

What is a domain name?

Domain names are used to identify specific web pages. A URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is the internet address of documents and other resources on the World Wide Web (that’s where the WWW comes from).

For example, in the URL  http://www.BrightSparkMedia.ca, the domain name is BrightSparkMedia.ca.

{ You can read more about domain names, URLs, and all things web-related at Webopedia.}

I’d recommend you use a keyword research tool like Wordpot or Google Keyword Search tool to help you to determine which words people are searching for in your industry.

Here is an example of a keyword search I did in Wordpot with the search term: wedding dress. What I like about Wordpot is that it gives you search statistics, as well as synonyms for your keyword, such as wedding gown.

 

table showing keyword search terms for wedding dress using wordpot keyword tool

 

Tips on choosing a good domain name:

1. You don’t have to use your company name

This is where your keyword research comes in. It might be better to buy a domain name with commonly searched for keywords rather than your own business name.

If you used www.BrightSparkMedia.ca to get to this website, you might have noticed that the URL for this blog isn’t actually what you typed in. That is an example of a brandable domain name.

Actually, I own 2 domain names for Bright Spark Media: one is short and easy to put on business cards, on my social networking sites, and in my email signature.

My other domain is socialmediamarketingkelowna.com, which is keyword based and better for SEO (called an “exact match domain name“), and the URL you see displayed for this website.

{ More about forwarding domains in a future post! }

2. Make the domain name easy to remember

Choose a name that is easy to remember, but won’t be mistaken for someone else’s website.

It’s best to avoid using hyphens (dashes) and numbers because they can be confusing and aren’t easy to recite when you give someone your website address verbally.

3. Choose a name that is easy to type

Again, avoid hyphens and underscores, and don’t choose a domain name that is often misspelled. This is where it might be beneficial to pick a name that is a common form of the word in your domain name.

4. If possible, choose a .com domain

.com is by far the most popular top level domain choice. If anyone guesses your website, they will most likely go with .com. Since many of the common keyword domain names are already taken, another good choice is to use geographic targeting – for example .ca for Canada, or .co.uk for the United Kingdom. Your next choice after that would be .biz or .net.

5. Don’t follow trends 

Try not to jump on the bandwagon and pick a trendy domain name, or your website URL will look dated. Here we are in 2012 – what if you went with the millennium trend like so many companies did, and chose a URL with 2000 in the domain name?

Avoid words like “hot”, “best”, “top” when choosing your domain. For example “BestWeddingPhotographer” has a lot to live up to, and it’s also a lazy choice for a domain title.

 

Following these simple rules should help you to choose a good domain name for your company website.

If you want to see which domains are available try using the domain checker at Bluehost (click “sign up now” and the domain name box will appear. You don’t have to make a purchase to use the domain checker.) You can use any domain name search tool, even if you decide to buy your domain elsewhere.

Just an FYI: you will probably need somewhere to host your website {that’s another blog post!}, and most companies that offer web hosting, will include a domain name for free for the first year. (I’d highly recommend Bluehost for reliable web hosting – we use them for this website). Do a little research before you purchase your domain name. It will cost you between $5 and 15, depending on the extension (.coms are usually more expensive because they are the most popular) and the company you purchase your domain from.

 

What We Do

Bright Spark Media is located in Kelowna, BC. We help small businesses, entrepreneurs and service professionals in the Okanagan Valley and globally online. We offer social media training, customized social media set up, social media strategy and business coaching sessions, as well as commercial or event photography services and web design...everything to help you create an irresistible online presence!

Address

Kelowna, BC, Canada
Phone: +1 250.575.5964
Email: BrightSparkSocialMedia@gmail.com