Choosing a Domain Name is your next step. This is an important step because you will be telling the world who you are and where to find you.
Where In The World Are You?
A Domain Name is the address of a website. For example, my domain name is imsurfsentinel.com. Domain names are registered to prevent people from using the same name and to give a definite location for each business or person.
There is a little more to picking a domain name than meets the eye. Choosing the right domain name can answer who, what, and where.
There are two ways you can do this.
Use keywords in your name to help visitors find your website through search engines; it is a good idea to include keywords which describe your business, services or projects in your domain name. For example: golfequipment.com, dogcollarheaven.com, uniquedogcollars.com.
Your domain name can be a result of your branding. A brand tells the customer that he can trust you and has something to gain from doing business with you.
Branding is the entire process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product (good or service) in the consumers’ mind, through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers. (businessdictionary.com)
Effective branding creates assumptions, excitement, associations, and expectations that come to a consumers mind with the mere mention of a company and its goods or services. What comes to your mind when I say: Netflicks, Kellogs, Coca-Cola or Sketchers.
Your logo is a symbol of your brand. It is an image that reminds the person of who you are and what goods and services you provide. Seth Godin’s bald head – The Golden Arches – The Gerber Baby – Mickey Mouse Ears.
Self-branding… Musicians, celebrities, and photographers use self-branding; Dolly Parton – Nicole Kidman – Kate Benson Photography.
Which is best – Brandable vs Keyword-Rich?
Darren Rowse posted a question on his blog a few days ago asking about how people choose domain names. Do people preferred brandable domain names or domains that are rich with keywords? I figured that question warranted more than a comment so here is my answer.
The Best of Both Worlds
In some cases the best type of domain name you could pick would be one that was brandable and yet still contained the desired keyword. This can work well if your keyword is literally one word, or perhaps two.
However, once the phrases start getting a little longer, such as the ever-popular “make money online”, it gets much harder to incorporate the words into the domain and still be brandable. In fact, I would argue that it is impossible to do that with a domain which is three or more words long because a brandable name needs to be short.
The SEO Factor
The reason why there is even any debate over the topic is that supposedly Google will rank a domain higher in the search results for a given term if the keywords appear in the domain name itself.
I am not an SEO expert so I really don’t know if this is the case but one thing I am fairly sure of it that it is usually bad to base long term decisions on fickle circumstances such as the current Google algorithm!
Unless you are creating a throwaway site (and why would you want to do that?) your domain is a consistent factor that you cannot change later on so you should choose it wisely. Google changes their algorithm all the time and even if they rank keyword-rich domains favourably now, doesn’t mean they will in the future.
Authority vs Niche Sites
This is a topic I have been thinking about a lot recently and something I am going to expand on in a forthcoming post.
It is often small niche sites such as this that tend to have keyword based domains. The theory goes that the site will get all of its traffic from Google and therefore you should use every SEO advantage you can to rank higher, and this includes choosing good keywords for your domain name.
However, I disagree with this viewpoint….
Brandability = Visibility
What some people forget about Google, is that even though Google is a search engine – a computer, its users are people. So let’s say that including a keyword in your domain allows you to rank one or two points higher in the search results, what does that mean?
You would expect that to mean that people are more likely to see your link and therefore click on it. However keyword rich domains often get lost in a sea of other domains that all look and sound the same.
A clue that this might be the case is if when trying to buy your domain name you have to go through a dozen variations in hyphens, underscores, word-ordering or top level extensions in order to find a domain that is available.
On the other hand if you create a brandable domain, it sticks out – it looks different! In my opinion, this is more likely to be seen and therefore clicked on than the generic looking domain that ranks a couple of points higher than you.
Lets not forget that as far as SEO goes, things like domain name are a relatively minor factor compared with more difficult factors such as link popularity. For instance, my blog is now enjoying far more search engine traffic than it did a couple of months ago because of all the people that now link to it – this has a far bigger effect than my domain name, or even my on-page SEO efforts such as the choice of title.
If you do ever plan to build the site in a way that encourages people to link to it, they are far more likely to do so if they can remember the domain! Brandability wins out yet again.
Now is the time to brainstorm.
- What product, information or service are you selling?
- What image do you want to portray?
- What is the purpose of your site?
- What will differentiate you from all others in your niche?
- How are you going to stand out from your competitors?
- How are you going to gain your customer’s trust?
- What benefits will he get by doing business with yours?
- What will come to mind when someone comes across your name?
So be creative and come up with as many ideas as you can, to say:
- Who you are: Jimmy the auto king, Jim’s honest auto, Jim’s foreign auto, King auto, etc.
- Where you are: Utah geek club, geek club of Utah, UT geeks, the beehive state geeks, etc.
- What you are: Teacher, guide, leader, Pathfinder, pro, etc.
Get on the internet, search around and look at what names other people are using. This is a great way to come up with prefixes and suffixes you can use. The other day I found some fun ones I liked. Image, pics, valuable, tip, action, shooter, engine, central, opportunity, legit, jumpstart, able, famous, simple, giant, fairy, only, resources, from, for, by. Get the idea?
P.S. So gather the troops, brainstorm and make a BIG list of all the names that will work for your site. In my next post, I will show you how to keyword search and register your domain name. I like using Google External Keyword Tool or Traffic Travis to find the right keywords for my domain names.