Picking the right domain is a big deal. This is what represents your business. This is the piece that goes on your print collateral, advertising, social media accounts, etc. that people can recognize, remember, and go to when they get a chance. Your domain name should be your businesses actual name. There are instances where that may not be doable, in which case, you need to consider how your domain can represent your overall branding and still make sense. When choosing a domain it should be a well thought out move. Think strategically before acting. There’s a lot that goes into it but, there are some basic do’s and don’ts to picking the right domain so let’s dive in.
Make it relevant
If your business is called “Jane’s Pool Services” you’ll likely want your domain name to be JanesPoolServices.com. If that domain isn’t available pick the next closest thing that can still distinguish your business name when looking at it. For example, JanesPoolService.com, JaneDoePoolServices.com, etc. Removing a letter or adding a word are the first things to consider. You don’t want to pick something too indirect like JPS.com just to make it short. If it’s not an acronym that would quickly be recognized by our audience then avoid it. On the other hand, if you are a business or location that often gets abbreviated then an abbreviated domain name would be a beneficial choice over your full name. This can also fall in line with a forwarded domain (which we’ll talk about shortly).
If the exact domain you are looking for isn’t available then consider adding your geographic location to the domain. This would allow you to keep the recognition of your business name while also enhancing the SEO factor by adding location recognition. For example, JanesPoolServicesVA.com and JanesPoolServicesWinchester.com. When consider the “location” you wish to represent it’s important to think about your service reach. Do you want to be specific to the town or city your business is in? Or do you span your services to the county, state, or even nationwide? If your reach is further than the town or city, you may want to keep that out of your domain choice as it could limit your audience expectations.
www or No www
When considering SEO, it really doesn’t matter. It’s truly your preference and what’s available. As Yoast.com put it “you don’t have to use www for anything. The only reason why you would use www.something is if people would otherwise not recognize your domain name as a domain name. Which is something that is bound to happen, if you have a somewhat older target audience. But other than that use whatever you want. Use www or do not use www, whatever rocks your boat.”
You don’t want a domain that is forever long. JaneDoesPoolServicesInVirginia.com is a little extensive. If something’s too long your target audience will forget it as quickly as they saw it. If your business name is long, then you need to consider a shorter name that can be the domain and still match your overall branding.
Forwarding domains are great for SEO and for matching what your target audience is looking for, IF done correctly. Forwarding domains are “hidden domains” linking to your primary domain. These domains have strong keywords in them that Google will pick up on and immediately direct those searching to your site. They can be very beneficial but can also be harmful is you have too many or no relevant content backing those keywords. If you are going in this direction it’s important to consider the purpose for that specific domain. If it’s for showcasing geographical reach then direct it to a landing page mentioning those locations. If it’s for specific keywords then make sure you picking the right ones for your target market and that your site covers it in it’s content otherwise Google will get suspicious.
.com vs .net
.com is the extension everyone is familiar with. This also helps build up your SEO rankings as your target audience is more likely to search using .com, this is especially true for smaller businesses. .net isn’t the optimal choice. It should really only be used if the domain name you simply can’t live without isn’t available in .com. One thing to be cautious of is if the company who has the .com domain has a trademark on that name (that you now have in .net) you could be forced to give it up if they find it.
Your domain is a primary part of your branding. It’s not something to take lightly and we’d be more than happy to walk you through that process. Whether considering a new domain, forwarding domains, or just starting out, the proper strategy needs to happen to ensure you purchase the domains that make sense for your business.