First Thing's First: Your Domain Name
Your website is your domain so as not to be confused, your domain name then is just another way to say the name of your website. Wow, you are learning already! Cool.
So we assume you have an idea. An maybe you have a great name for your website. We know that the important FIRST STEP is to secure that name as your own, that is: to buy it from a name seller called a registrar.
Ok, there are two more really good reasons to get the name first so we will just blurt them out as well:
- It keeps your mind on your original dream idea. As you develop your website, you have a more clear picture of what it is supposed to become if the name is already set in stone.
- Someone else cannot scoop it up. After all your hard work of building a website you are ready to "go live" and introduce your idea to the world, it's good to know the name is waiting for you ready to go.
If you already know your name domain name, you can skip this section and get right to the section on How to buy a Domain Name.
For those that need a little more information on the subject of how to select the best domain name for your website / company / business (all these things will be represented by the name you choose) then let's cover this as quickly but as thoroughly as we can.
Choosing Your Domain Name
The first thing we need to do, or at least start the process on is selecting the name of the web site and deciding on
the domain name. I say that because the domain name and the name of the site do NOT have to be the same. Like "Mcdees.com" can represent "McDonalds" just fine and Hewlett Packard has the domain name of hp.com. However when just starting out trust me and make the website name and the domain name the same. That way when you are talking about your website at the social club (read: bar) you are also talking about your business name at the same time and vise verse. Much more convenient and far less confusing for your website users (read:customers).
Also, since we are thinking in super general notions about domain and business names right now let me add this when thinking about a new domain name for a new website idea: it can be a crippling blow to your business to switch the domain name later on after you've been on the web for awhile. Spending days of thought and time on choosing the correct name is very very important.
Just wanted to underscore that so later on down the road you don't make a very common mistake that many of use web owners have already made. Get the right name the first time at all costs if you can.
Below is a diagram to help you ponder your website name in a much more fun way than boring words:
Basically what this diagram is telling you is this:
- BLUE - Any name you want. Harder to rank to number 1. Most flexible business model, you can add new products, ideas and focus or just change completely down the road.
- GREEN - Combination of any word AND the keyword you want to rank in the search results for. This is the best of both worlds, you have a little flexibility and branding and the bonus of having the keyword in your URL.
- YELLOW - Straight keyword in the name, easiest to rank but just for that term. Low flexibility in that you are stuck only representing that keyword for your web presence.
Your best bet is probably the super cool business name you want, mixed somehow with the buzzword for the product you want to sell.
If you are selling Dr. Seuss books let's say you might call it Suzy's Seuss Rack. See that?
It can be argued that the actual first place choice, the BEST domain naming choice (or I like to think it's more of a tie) would be to just use your brand name. Many professional SEO insiders say that Google has an ongoing love affair with brand named websites, has a preference for them, is ranking them higher all the time and in the future will give the most power to brand name websites.
Look, Google understands perfectly what your website is about and does not need nor rely upon the domain name to figure it out. Google would say, just use your name.
There is a ton of discussion over domain names on the Internet, and for good reason.
The search engines have traditionally liked to see something related to the search term in the address of the site. Not too darn long ago, they really give a big ranking bonus for having the EXACT keyword term in the domain name. Let's go off on a little subject about this really quick.
Webmasters and marketers, always looking for avenues to get to the #1 spot in the search engine results, realized that if they were to use the keyword that they want to rank for as the EXACT address (URL) of the site, they would get this HUGE bonus. In the SEO industry, we call that an EMD or Exact Match Domain and still to this day, on any search results page you will see at least one or two END.com or EMD.net website names in the top ten list.
Now if you want to do this, it is perfectly fine to do, the only thing that get's messy is if you try to use an established trademarked name like proctorandgamble.com. You will likely be asked sternly, or "warned" to take your site down or you could even be outright sued. So not cool. Just saying.
Additionally, this once magical ranking bonus is dwindling by the month and very shortly having an exact match keyword will help you not one iota in the rankings.
So let's summarize (again).
- Decide on a name that is either your company name or super cool idea or a mix of one of those two AND the keyword you want to identify with.
- Buy that domain before anything else you do
In closing, I would like to say that the domain name argument rages on and will rage on. I encourage you to do some searches on this issue yourself. Make sure that any discussions or articles that you read are dated from THIS YEAR (2012). Anything older is outdated and the argument is a moot point. You need modern dialog on this issue.