Hi everyone, I’m 7 months pregnant and we still don’t know the child’s name. My husband is determined to name it after his grandfather. My family, after mine. But I want my baby to have a different name, I don’t want it to be anybody’s “junior”. Does anyone have experience in this fight? – Dámaris
Possibly, the discussion about the domain name of your website will last less than nine months. And that’s already a big advantage ?.
All kidding aside, if you’re starting a new startup or brand or have a product you want to sell online, you’ll need a website. And you will have to choose a domain name for that website. According to Rand Fishkin, domain names influence positioning and have a major impact on the click-through rate of search results on Google or social networks.
But you don’t just want Google to identify you, you also want that name to be easy for people to remember so they can easily find you. It has to be a name associated with your brand and business that should last a long time.
What are the main recommendations or options when choosing a good domain name?
#1 Make It A Brand
What do I mean when I say that the domain name should be a brand name? You have several options:
If it is a personal website or you want to position yourself as an expert in a specific niche, the brand is you and you can consider putting your name and surname as a domain name. This is widely used by consultants, coaches and individual profiles who want their website to sound exactly like their name.
For example, in the marketing world you find many digital marketers that follow this pattern in their choice of domain name:
- Gary Vaynerchuk – garyvaynerchuk.com,
- Seth Godin – sethgodin.com,
- Neil Patel – neilpatel.com,
- Guy Kawasaki – guykawasaki.com
- Grant Cardone – grantcardone.com,
- Ron Sela – ronsela.com,
- Jon Loomer – jonloomer.com,
- Jeff Bullas – jeffbullas.com,
- Bryan Kramer – bryankramer.com,
- Tony Robbins – esmeraldadiazaroca.com,
This choice has some drawbacks. The first is that if you have a very common first and last name, the domain name is probably already taken or is too common to differentiate yourself from others. In addition, choosing the first and last name as the domain name, from the beginning, does not help the positioning in Google in particular. And finally, you have to bear in mind that in the future, if you want to sell or transfer your own company one day, the fact that the domain is so closely linked to the founder himself could complicate the process.
If your company name is your brand name and you want to be known by it, a very good option is to put the same company name as your domain name. As you can see this is the case of our current website. Our startup is called Nelio Software S.L., and our domain name is the same: neliosoftware.com.
The big advantage of this option is that even if you start as a small startup, you have no problem if you intend to scale the team. It also allows you to pivot from product or service without having to change the domain, or create a wide variety of products, all under the same umbrella of your brand to grow and gain prestige little by little.
Here, as you can see, the choice of the domain name must be made together with the choice of the company name.
For it to work well it is recommended that it be a simple name, easy to remember, visually attractive and not too long. Our legal advisor also recommended that it would be better if our name was an “abstract” word (to avoid confusions) and, of course, as much different as possible to the name of any other company in the sector.
The disadvantage of this option, like the previous one, is that it costs much more to get a good positioning in search engines. In fact, whether digitally or not, positioning a brand in the marketplace and letting people know what it sells can cost a lot of money. Also, if a company wants to buy from you for the products you offer but not for the brand, having a branded domain name may not be the most valuable thing.
If the website is exclusively for the promotion of a product, a good option is for the domain name to match the product name. And the most important thing is to ensure that the product you sell ends up being known by your brand, as is the case, for example, of:
- Kleenex – kleenex.com,
- Nutella – nutella.com,
- Rollerblade – rollerblade.com,
- Mr Clean – mrclean.com,
- Jacuzzi – jacuzzi.com,
- Kellogs – kellogs.es,
- Band-aid – band-aid.com, or
- Post-it – post-it.com
In these cases, in a search for someone who, for example, wants to buy handkerchiefs or hot bath tub, the words he will be looking for may be Kleenex or Jacuzzi, leaving the competition at a distinct disadvantage.
The big disadvantage of putting a product name as a domain name is that, like any brand, until it has meaning, it’s difficult to position it. And the other big disadvantage is that, either you make sure it is a star product or if you want to sell other products or pivot and offer another alternative, the domain name is not going to be the most appropriate one.
#2 Make Them Keywords
There is quite a consensus that if the keywords are in the domain name itself, it’s easier to get a better ranking more quickly. For example: rent.com, apartmentfinder.com, healthyfoodforpets.com, gardeners.com, travelandleisure.com, or cars.com, to name a few.
In these cases, not only is it easier for Google to position you because the keywords match the positioning, but it will be easier for anyone searching for information on the Internet to click on one of these sites that includes just the words of what they are looking for.
The advantages are clear, aren’t they? The main problem is that if the keywords end up being too specific, and you want to extend your product range or pivot, it’s especially complicated. And this is precisely what happened with our domain migratetowp.com, it was our first domain—the website of a service we offered to migrate a site to WordPress. Even though it was well positioned in Internet searches, it was not useful for us to launch any other plugins.
And of course, as a domain name you can also opt for mixtures between brand and product or brand and keywords.
#3 Combining #1 and #2
And an alternative often used is to make a combination of brand and keywords. Or name products that include the company’s brand and thus kill two birds with one stone: you help them to know your brand better and make it clear what the product you are offering is all about.
For example, the first plugin we released was named Nelio A/B Testing. Nelio identifies us as the brand name of our company and “A/B Testing” are the keywords of our product. We then created the nelioabtesting.com website, combining our brand and some relevant keywords. Pretty neat, huh?
After merging our websites, we no longer use that domain for our product (if you click on the link above you will see that it redirects you to the Nelio A/B Testing page within our own Nelio Software website), but you get the idea.
The big advantage of putting the same domain name as your product is that Google searches will surely go up faster. If, as in our case, the name of the product includes the keywords of the product such as “A/B Testing“, even better. The disadvantages may be a combination of the above—you may feel too tied to the brand name and keywords.
#4 Simple Structure
Regardless of whether your domain name is a brand, keywords or any combination of the two, make sure your domain name meets the following criteria:
One of the shortest domains you can find is Google’s in China: g.cn. How come? Is it a coincidence? Or do they have some privileged information about the importance of short domains?
In principle, the longer your domain name is, the more complicated it is to remember. No matter how much you are looking forward to having a domain similar to iamtheproudownerofthelongestlongestlongestdomainnameinthisworld.com. I insist: it better be short.
Use letters that are easy to remember visually. For example, the letters h, q, w, x, y, z are considered harder to remember. Some complicated brands, thanks to their well-known prestige, Google makes sure to correct them directly when they are mistyped by the user.
Do not use hyphens or numbers in your domain. Script names are harder to remember because you don’t know whether they are hyphens to begin with. And as for the numbers, when someone tells you the URL of a site, you don’t know if you have to type in number or write them down as text.
That said, you can always find a website that deserves to be an exception to this recommendation: 007.com.
#5 Use The Right Extension
It doesn’t really matter what domain extension you use, but some are intended for certain types of organizations such as .edu, .org, or .gov and, therefore, it makes sense to use the appropriate one.
Ideally select the .com extension that is the one that is understood for a company and will allow you to position yourself worldwide. The option to select .us only makes sense if your business is really a business where your potential customers are only from USA. In this case Google will give more value to your domain in USA, by focusing directly on it.
Select a relevant domain name that you can live with for many years. If a name you like is already in use or is a registered trademark, don’t obsess about it. Although you may not think so, there are many alternatives. Make sure it’s original but doesn’t correspond to a passing fashion that you will have to throw away after a few years.
And remember, there’s something for everyone. If you have to agree with your partners on which domain to choose, my recommendation is that you be pragmatic and rational. Save your most emotional part to defend your child’s name as your grandfather’s ?.