Picking The Right Domain Name For Your Web Business

15 November 2010

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As a professional web design company, we get a lot of customers approaching us with ideas for new internet businesses. One of the main questions we are asked at this stage is ‘what domain name should I choose?’.

This is a very difficult questions to answer, because there are so many factors that can influence your decision. However, there are a few golden rules that we always tell people to follow…

Keyword domain names are best

Having a keyword in your domain name that is relevant to the service you offer and the search terms people will be using to find your website is a major consideration in domain name selection. Not only does this give you a massive boost from an SEO point of view, but it also helps from a usability angle as people are more likely to click on your website if the domain name accurately describes your service. That is one of the reasons why websites like facebook.com, gocompare.com, upmystreet.com and uswitch.com are so successful – because they build and fulfil the expectations of users who click on their website.

Short and sweet

Shorter domain names work best for a variety of reasons: They are easier to remember, they are quicker to type and they take up a lot less space when you are using the web address in other marketing applications (ie putting it on a flyer or brochure).

Only choose .com available domains

One of the problems with domain name selection is that there are so many to choose from. .net, .com, .co.uk, .org, .co, .me… the number of options can be baffling. As a general rule of thumb for UK focused internet businesses, we would recommend at the very least registering domain names that have .com and .co.uk available.

Why? Because one of the major things that you need to consider when selecting your web address is to protect your future traffic flow. Most people who are unfamiliar with your website or service would probably assume that your website is a .com. This is because it is the original, most widely used and popular domain name on the web. If the .com version of the domain name you want isn’t available then there’s a very good chance that you will end up losing a lot of potential traffic over time to the website that has it.

You can redirect all the variants of your domain name to your preferred address to cover all chances of anybody mis-typing your address. For an example of this in action, just try putting ‘bmlcreative.com’ into your browser address bar once you’ve read this and you’ll notice how it redirects you straight back to our bml-creative.co.uk domain – clever, eh?

Make it easy to type

Try to avoid domain names where common spelling mistakes are likely or it is difficult for somebody to type. There is nothing worse as a user than trying to type in the name of a website you have been given but getting errors, holding pages and landing on completely the wrong website. Keep it simple.

Choose a unique domain name

Don’t bother with picking the plural of an existing, well established domain name or similarly a hyphenated version of one. This will be confusing for your users and will inevitably result in a loss of traffic to other websites. Keep your mind open and try to pick a memorable domain name that will give your web business a good head start over your competitors.

Need more advice?

If you are interested in starting up a new web-based business and want to get started on the right foot, then please contact BML Creative today.

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