Chief Technology Officer
VIP PowerNet, Inc.
Domain names are no longer a web address these days. Many profitable companies have been built around their domain name making it brand and company. Choosing right domain should be as important as naming your product. Given that status, here are some pointers how to find a name that will see you through it all.
Branding vs. Keywords:
This is probably most difficult to determine. Yet, should be first place to start because rest of considerations will one way or another relate to this. There are two schools of thought. One group believes you should have your keywords in domain so that search engines pick up on keywords and rank you better. To what extent this really affects your search engine ranking is not clearly known or proven. Consider why you are putting website up in first place. Most likely it’s for your customers or visitors. So choose a domain that also puts your audience first.
The other group believes a webmaster should go for brand. Most successful companies start off with a brand, including online companies. Brands make product memorable, create differentiation and encourage loyalty. In early days of Internet, everyone wanted a generic domain like searchengine.com, books.com, auctions.com and likes. Today, very few of those are truly successful sites that rival Goggle, Amazon and eBay.
A branded domain also ensures consistency throughout your marketing efforts. As one web user describes, “Every time company tells me to visit their generic website, they lose opportunity to reinforce their brand name in my mind”.
Whether you use keywords or brand for your domain depends much on what you aim to do. If you plan to build a business or website that is going to have staying power, branded domains are a better choice. It might not be easy or cheap to build a brand but there are no shortcuts when it comes to branding either. It’s a slow process that can be very rewarding if done right. Don’t choose a domain simply because of its keywords. First class content, links in and clever optimization are more important to good ranking than anything else. Having said that, a brand name made up of keywords could be best, and you would have best of both worlds – literally. Take CancerComforts.com. Owner Kathy Browning chose domain because of its keywords. But apart from being keyword rich, CancerComforts.com is also very marketable and can be a strong brand.
If you are building a resource website, a website for affiliate programs or one that’s temporary in nature, keyword rich and generic domains would be a better choice. Finally, there is no harm in buying both branded and keyword domains that point to same site. Just make sure you only use one for submissions, directory listings, link exchanges and promotion. This way you build your link popularity.
You should also, make sure site title or name matches your domain. If your domain is ExtremeBiking.com and your site name is Smith Brothers Biking Tours this makes visitors and directory editors wonder if this is correct website. It also causes confusion. People who know you tend to look for a domain that reflects your brand and not extreme biking. If you have yet to establish a company name or a site name, it might be a good idea to name it after you find a domain name. This is sensible, consistent marketing.
This is most common because in today’s increasingly small and competitive world, businesses tend to have rather creative and catchy names. On other hand, if your business name is very nondescript such as The Smith Brothers, you might want to take approach that combines part of your company name and a keyword. Although importance of brand name was emphasized earlier, here situation is slightly different. Non-descriptive company names aren’t particularly helpful to audiences. Someone looking for you would find it difficult to differentiate your company and other company with a similar name. In this case, keywords tied to your name are worth considering.
Short domains are supposed to be best but it’s increasingly difficult to find one without paying someone a lot of money to take over domain. There are alternatives though, such as expired domains which we will explore a little later on.
Just because a domain is a little longer doesn’t make it bad. For example, TrashToTreasure.com is meaningful, to point and memorable even though it is rather long. On other hand, ThisIsAnExampleOfAVeryLongDomain.com is too long, difficult to remember and prone to errors. The other extreme is needless abbreviation. TTT.com is meaningless because TrashToTreasure.com works much butter. Aim for some balance while taking into account ease of use.