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Dec
17

The Basics of Choosing a Domain Name for Your Website

Your domain name is central to your identity on the Internet. Choosing a domain name is one of the most important steps you’ll take when building your online presence because your domain name impacts your brand image and people’s perceptions of your website and business. Don’t rush your domain name decision – take the time to choose a user-friendly domain that reflects positively on your brand. 

Make It Easy to Say, Spell, and Remember

Your website’s domain name needs to be easy to remember so that people can type it directly into their browsers’ address bar and visit your site. Having a memorable domain name powers word-of-mouth marketing because domain names that are easy to say, spell, and remember are more likely to be shared. For example, it is a lot easier for people to share the domain, www.cynexis.com, than the domain www.best-search-engine-optimization-company-in-cleveland.com.

Many people pick domain names with keywords in them to maximize their websites’ search engine rankings, but keyword-rich domain names tend to look spammy. For example, a domain name like www.free-accounting-software-for-mac.com will chip away at your website’s credibility. What’s more, the domain name is hard to remember and it’s downright ugly. 

Having a spammy-looking domain name doesn’t only repel visitors – it can also limit your opportunities. For instance, you may have difficulty sponsoring events or posting advertisements on other websites if your domain name makes your company look unprofessional. Additionally, some websites might be reluctant to link to your site if the domain name looks spammy.

When creating a domain name, try to come up with something memorable. It’s OK to put keywords in your domain name if it makes sense, but don’t force keywords into your domain name. You should also avoid putting multiple dashes in your domain name, if possible. Domain names with no dashes or just one dash tend to be more professional looking.

The Shorter, the Better

Try to keep your domain name as short as possible because the longer your domain name is, the harder it will be to remember. Generally speaking, there should be no more than two or three words in your domain name. Another problem with long domain names is that they are harder to fit into business cards and other print marketing materials.

If you have a short, creative, and memorable company name, such as Google, Yahoo!, or Travelocity, use it as your domain name. You can still enjoy the benefits of having a keyword-rich domain name even if you have a short, branded domain, as long as you incorporate keywords into your page title and logo. For instance, QuickBooks has the brand-focused domain name, quickbooks.intuit.com, but its home page title is, “Small Business Accounting Software from Intuit QuickBooks”. Therefore, when some people link to the QuickBooks website, they use the anchor text, “small business accounting software.”

Should You Use an Exact Match Domain Name?

An exact match domain is a domain name that matches the main keyword a site wants to rank for in its SEO campaign. Having an exact match domain is helpful because it enables you to rank better for your target keywords. Exact match domain names may also increase the click-through rates of your search engine listings and help you to attract inbound links with keyword-rich anchor text.

However, in September 2012, Google released the Exact Match Domain update, which targeted “low-quality” exact match domains. With this update, Google is ensuring that sites with poor content don’t rank highly in its search results just because they have keyword-rich domain names.

It is a common misconception that websites with exact match domains no longer rank well. Websites with exact match domain names still have the potential to rank well, as long as they are populated with quality content. Take www.cheaptickets.com and www.cars.com, for example. These sites still rank #1 for the terms, “cheap tickets” and “cars”, respectively, because they have built a strong reputation for creating quality content.

Buy up Related Domains Before It’s Too Late

Consider buying domain names that are closely related to your chosen domain. You could use them to create websites about thematically related topics at a later date. For instance, let’s say you buy the domain name www.leglampmania.com. You might want to pay a few extra bucks to register www.leglampmania.org, www.leglampmania.net, and www.leglampmania.info because if your site gets popular, somebody else might buy those related domains and start cashing in on the traffic you’ve worked so hard to generate. At that point, if you try to buy the domains, you might end up paying thousands of dollars for them.

If you have a regional domain extension, such as “.co.uk”, you could buy the “.com” version of your domain and then forward it to your .co.uk site so that any visitors who forget to type the regional domain extension in their address bar still reach your website.

Need help choosing a domain name for your company website? The SEO consultants at Cynexis have extensive experience selecting search-friendly domain names that increase traffic and search engine visibility. For more information about our web marketing services, contact our Internet marketing experts and schedule a free consultation.

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