Choosing the correct domain name has got to be a part of your long term business plan, in my experience, these days a successful website is one that has gotten everything right, that means a good domain name, a good website meaning a professional design, the right functionality, the right color scheme and good useability, when compared to the competition and one that is promoted correctly.
Your domain name is the building block of your one line business, promoting a website means in reality collecting a large number of links to your website and to interesting internal pages, all that means as time passes it gets harder and harder to change or move to another domain name if you got it wrong. If you spend $1,000's per month on promoting a site, there isn't really any reaslistic way of diverting that to another one. So you've got to get it right first time.
When choosing a domain name, here are some of the factors I think about.
- Short domains are better than longer ones
- Catchy memorable names are better than obscure ones
- Try to avoid words that people can not spell easily
- Avoid words that are hard to pronounce
- If your business already exists, then try to get a domain name that matches, this is not so easy these days, as companies can be registered in different countries and even if you have the rights to your name in your own juristication it doesn't automatically follow that you have the rights to that name worldwide.
- Try to avoid phrases that suggest cheap or low cost, this will immediately limit your market to customers who are more price conscious.
- If you can slip a keyword into your domain name that will help, though since 2012, Google the leading search engine has reduced the importance of this in their search algorithmn.
- .com domains are the best, as this portrays your business as open for global business, if you intend to open offer your services to a local market, then look for the most popular local market Geo specific top level domain name or gTLD for example .com.au if you are targetting Australia, or co.uk for the UK market.
- If you can register all the domains available that will protect you against future domain squatters.
- Try and also register variations on your name, for example adding a hyphen between the words or using common spelling errors, and the plural versions, this will also help to fend of domain squatters
- Use an official registrar rather than a reseller if you can.
Once you have the best and most suitable domain name, make sure you put live a coming soon page, this will get indexed by the search engines, since 2012, Google has started to filter out domain holding or parking pages, so you want to have your own live with a small amount of text describing your business and the services you plan to offer.
Getting your website live is the next challenge, things to think about:-
- Make sure your design is high quality, try to avoid budget designs as these will only reflect negatively on your business in the long term.
- Colors are important there is a whole industy dedicated to matching colours correctly on your website
- Spell check your site, to ensure your test is perfect
- Useability - consider using a seperate service to recommend improvements to your sites ease of use.
- Then go live!
The next job and the most important one, is to promote your site, there is no point to a perfect site that no one ever sees or uses. Here are my tips on promoting a site
- Go for quality - avoid the low cost services offering 1,000's of links for $99 these do not work anymore and are likely to cause you long term problems and not benefit
- Find good quality sites that you can use to create your own content, a couple to start with are Hubpages, Article Alley, Squiddo, Ezinearticles and infobarrel. Keep your work unique do not copy and re-use elsewhere on the web.
- Find a professional service that can work with you on a budget that fits.
- Promote your site on a daily basis, Google and the other search engines favor like sites that are mentioned regularly, think about would you prefer a site that was talked about everyday, or just on one day only was mentioned on 1,000 different sites, one looks more natural than the other? Right? You got it the search engines can spot that also.
I hope the above hints and tips are useful, try to see the long term plan and select your domain name having first thought through your project or business plan.