Choosing a website domain name can be a bit of a challenge, especially if you’ve never done it before. And because you’ll likely have the same URL for as long as you use your website, you want to make sure it’s the best domain name possible. Once you direct your audience to one website, you don’t want to change things up and confuse them by using a different domain later. So, be very careful and strategic when choosing the domain name for your website. In this blog post, we cover what your URL should be, as well as some other helpful tips. But first, let’s explain what a domain name is.
What is a Domain Name?
A domain name is the specific website address you choose for your business. For example, our domain name is “www.JJLyonsMarketing.com.” The last portion of the domain is often called an extension. Every website has an extension and there are many options for them. For example, most universities use the extension of “.edu,” and U.S. government agencies use “.gov.”
As you likely know, most websites use “.com.” This is because it represents commercial businesses (which there are a lot of). But, this doesn’t mean it’s best to use in every case. If you’re a non-profit organization, it’s usually best to use “.org.” This will help align your organization with your website’s URL. Also, if you’re a networking company or business, it is best to use “.net,” as it represents your business well. There are many options to choose from, so if these three don’t suit your business, do a Google search on your industry to see if there’s a better option.
What Should Your Domain Name Be?
Your domain will determine what people type in to find your website. It will also serve as the first impression for your website visitors. Additionally, a great domain name can help you with your SEO strategy. With that being said, you must be strategic when making the selection for your website. Consider the following when choosing your domain name.
It Should Suit Your Business
First, your domain should clearly reflect your business and be relevant to what you do. As mentioned in our blog post, “Everything You Should Know About Domain Authority (DA),” your domain is your business’ identity on the web. So, be sure you choose something that suits your business well. When purchasing a domain, ask yourself, Does this reflect my business?, and, Will this confuse visitors when trying to figure out what I do? Selecting your domain, based on those questions, will help ensure the domain name is right for you.
To illustrate this point, our domain name is “jjlyonsmarketing.com.” This is for two reasons. First, the founder of the company included his name in the company domain because he wanted his name to by synonymous with digital marketing quality and because he wanted the success of his company to increase his own reputation as a thought leader within the digital marketing community. A couple other digital marketing name brands that do this are Niel Patel (nielpatel.com) and Gary Vaynerchuck (garyvaynerchuck.com). He also wanted to include “marketing” in the domain name, to make it very clear what his businesses does, and also to help with marketing related Google searches.
In your own business, what domain name would clearly convey what you do?
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It Should Be Memorable
Next, your domain should be memorable. You don’t want users to have to Google search your business every time they want to visit your website. This could be distracting for them and could actually lead them to find your competitors. Be sure you choose something your audience and customers will easily remember. This could mean the name is short and concise, or it could be something fun and unique. Choosing which one is entirely up to your discretion. But, if you do choose something fun, be sure it still suits your business well.
It Should Be Close to Your Business’ Name
For many businesses, their names are short enough to be a domain name. And if possible, it’s often best to make your domain the name of your business. However, if your business name is particularly long, you might want to find a creative way to shorten it. An example would be a commercial real estate office called “Oak Tree Commercial Real Estate Group.” Rather than “OakTreeCommercialRealEstateGroup,” it would be better to choose “OakTreeCommercial” or another variation. However, if your business’ name is shorter than this example, you’re probably safe to use it as your domain name.
It may take some experimentation to find a domain name that works really well AND is available. You can use the GoDaddy Domain Name Search to see which domain names have, or haven’t, already been taken. In the example of “OakTreeCommercial,” that one has already been taken. But, with a little more experimentation, we see “OakTreeCREGroup” is available. As demonstrated, it may take a little creativity to find something that works well.
Along with the points made above, there are some other recommendations we give our clients. See how many of these next tips you can implement into your domain.
Just like with email addresses, you might be tempted to add a number in your domain if the original is already taken. For example, if you wanted “OakTreeCommercial.com,” but that was already taken, you could probably get “OakTreeCommercial2.com.” However, this is not a great practice. It can lead to confusion, as the person trying to find your website may not be sure how to type out your URL (two versus 2). And they could forget there’s a “2” in the domain and end up going to the wrong website. Also, it can look messy if you have several numbers in your domain. The only time you should include a number is if it’s your brand’s name. A good example of this would be SixFlags.com. If the number is also in your logo with the correct spelling, then it is typically safe to use it. This is because your audience will likely remember how the logo looks. Other than that, it is best to leave numbers out of your domain name.
Use Relevant Keywords
If possible, it is best to include relevant keywords in your domain name. This will help you with Google rankings tremendously. If you are a bakery in the Pensacola area called Rudy’s, a great choice would be “RudysPensacolaBakery.” This way, when people search “Pensacola bakery” or “Rudy’s Pensacola Bakery,” your site will be more likely to show up. However, keep in mind the recommendation that you keep your name short and concise. There are many other ways to practice SEO with your website, so don’t feel like you must include keywords in your domain name.
Consider The URLS For Your Pages And Blog Posts
On the topic of SEO, you will want to optimize your page names and blog posts in your URL. This will benefit your website when search engines rank it. We recommend using “www.YourWebsite/[page-name]” for other pages on your website. Additionally, you can use your location with the page’s URL. For example, a local restaurant chain has a few different locations. They are called LuLu’s. And their domain is “www.LuLuBuffett.com/.” But, they have a page dedicated to their location is Destin, Florida. For that location, the page URL is “www.LuLuBuffett.com/destin/.” For their page in Gulf Shores, Alabama, the URL is “www.LuLuBuffett.com/gulf-shores/.” Including important words, such as your city, can be very helpful. To make their pages rank even better, they could include “restaurant” at the end of those page URLs. See below:
If they did that, Google would be more likely to increase their rankings for people who search “destin restaurants” or “gulf shores restaurants.”
For blog posts, we recommend using “www.YourWebsite.com/blog/[blog-post-name].” For example, our blog post titled “How to Decide Between a Single Domain and Multiple Domain Strategy” has the URL of, “https://jjlyonsmarketing.com/how-to-decide-between-a-single-domain-and-a-multiple-domain-strategy/.”
As you can see, this is rather long. However, most of the time, people either find blog posts through Google search, or from browsing the website. With that being said, there is no need to shorten blog post URLs, as people will not need to remember them.
Choosing a Great Domain Name
When it comes to making the final decision, be sure you are proud of your website’s URL when you share it with others. If you are concerned it will get an unpleasant reaction due to length or level of complication, then don’t use it. When you find a domain name that’s available and matches the points above, and you feel proud of it, then go with that name!
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