Choosing a domain name for your website

by gordon_mullan

If I had to pick just one guiding principle for choosing a domain name for your website, it would be this: pick a domain name that represents what your customers are searching for if they didn’t know you existed, or at least didn’t know your domain name.

For example, if you were looking for a plasterer in Northampton, would you be more likely to visit one that was called: www.northamptonplasterers.co.uk or www.fredbloggs.co.uk? (please note that at the time of writing, neither of those sites existed).

If you can find a way to use your main keywords as part of your domain name, it will also help with search engine rankings.  For example, try searching for ‘personality marketing‘ in Google – and bear in mind that this site has only been up a couple of weeks at the time of writing (so much for the Google sandbox!).

I would normally strongly advise any business (unless they have the time and money to do some massive name recognition building) to avoid using their company name as their domain name, unless the name of the business happens to include their main keywords (for example, if you’re called Northampton Plasterers Ltd, then that would be fine).  However, I recently came across an example where using your name is actually the only thing that really makes sense.

A good friend of mine, Richard Leigh, is a talented composer, with a unique personal style.  In his case, if people are looking for his music, the logical thing to search on is “Richard Leigh composer“, so his chosen domain name is – www.richardleighcomposer.co.uk.  I can’t think of anything else that might make sense except perhaps something like www.bahaimusic.com (currently links to a ‘generic’ site).

Richard’s site is still being built, but you can listen to, and download, some of his music at 7digitalindiestore.

Here’s todays action point (if you’re in the process of building, or revamping, your website): look at your domain name.  Seen in isolation, would it tell people what you do, or what you can do for them?  Would it inspire them to click on it?  And would it help your search engine rankings?

Choosing the right domain name for your website can go a long way to getting you organic search traffic.  Choose wisely!

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