How To Pick The Right Domain Name

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When you are starting a business, getting the right domain name for your business is essential. If you get it wrong, it could hurt you for years to come.  And with domain name squatters, and other businesses, your name might not be available. In picking a domain there are more things to consider than just the name, it could have Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – aka getting found on Google – value for your website. Here are top five questions that you should ask yourself to ensure you get the right domain name.

 

1. Is your domain name available?

If the core domain is available for your company buy that immediately. And buy all of the extensions that are applicable to you. That means the .com, .net, .co. your country (if you serve specific areas that are covered by a .co. pick it up).  We had a customer who only purchased the .com and once established, a competitor of theirs bought the .co.uk, and used it in advertising against them. Save yourself the aggravation and buy them up front so you have complete control of your brand.

 

2. My domain is available to buy from a re-seller, should I buy it?

If your domain is available for purchase at a reasonable price, is older, and has a good SEO score (your web designer will be able to help you find this information out), it is most likely worth spending the extra money in buying that, as you will rank higher on Google and get more business naturally. Google gives weight to a domain’s age, so the older it is, the more valuable it is. You just need to consider the cost/benefit ratio, and weigh that against the competition in your area. If you have a lot of direct competition who are ranking high on Google, then an already established domain may help you beat them out the door due to it’s age, and already established domain value.

 

If the domain is new, has zero SEO value, and they are asking a lot of money for it, just walk away and find an alternative.

Fun fact: The most expensive domain ever sold was

sex.com for $14 million dollars 

3. All of the extensions for my domain name are taken what do I do?

If your company name is Joe Smith, and joesmith.com and all of the extensions are taken, then it’s time to ask two questions.

 

  1. What is your product or service?

  2. Do you serve local, national or world wide?

 

For this example, we’re going to use our clients Payne and Son jewellers who are in Oxford.  They own payneandson.co.uk but if it had been taken, a good alternative would have been to just add their product or location to the end.  The domains payneandsonjewellers.co.uk or payneandsonoxford.co.uk would also have been an alternative. Google likes it when you have keywords you want to rank for in your domain name. They will have an easier time ranking for ‘jewllers oxford‘ if they have ‘jeweller’ in the domain name.

 

4. What if all of the options for my name are taken? What do I do?

Don’t panic, there is always a domain available. We are going use our clients Hall Personal Training for this example. Let’s say hallpersonaltrainers.com wasn’t available. They asked themselves what they wanted to rank number 1 for on Google, and that was ‘personal trainers oxford’.  So they registered personaltrainersoxford.com. This is an excellent choice because it has all of the keywords they want to rank for in it, and is SEO gold. They have been holding the number 1 slot on Google for as long as we have been doing their website.

 

5. Extra domains, do I need them?

Registering extra domains can be useful for SEO purposes. For example, we own webdesignoxford.net, which just repoints to my company home page, as we are interested in ranking forweb design Oxford. Our advice is to make a list of the top 5 keyword strings you want to rank for, and buy the URL(s) for the one you want to rank for, and re-point it to your core domain. This will not only give you a bit of SEO juice but also stop your competition from getting them.

Getting the right domain is essential as it will be with you for as long as you are running your business.  Spend time doing a bit of research, or find a friendly neighborhood web designer who can help guide you, the investment of time will pay for itself for many years to come.

About the author

Jean Paldan
Jean Paldan

Originally from Michigan, Jean is the founder and CEO of Rare Form, a full service marketing & web design agency in Oxford, England. She studied journalism, marketing/advertising at university, and taught herself design along the way.

Jean also works as a consultant to brands around the world, including a few Fortune 50's. She owns other companies outside of Rare Form. Hijack, an extension and app is coming to your browser soon (and a couple of others that just may take over the world). When not in the office, she is a reader of many books, movie buff, makes the best steak in the UK, and has a mild video game addiction .