Do you remember your first email address? Was it embarrassing? I thought so. Knowing how to choose a domain name will avoid a situation like baby_girl_Charlotte09@aol.com. And did you know your domain name can give you an SEO boost?
In this guide, you’ll discover how to choose the best domain name for your business. It will be easy to find, SEO-friendly and won’t embarrass you in years to come.
What is a Domain Name?
A domain name is a unique title used to identify a website. Every site has one. It comes after the ‘www.’ part of a URL. Your domain name tells people who you are and what your website is about. So make it count.
How do I get a Domain Name?
Many online platforms sell domain names. These are called domain name registrars. The big ones are GoDaddy, A2, Namecheap and 123 Reg but you can find more with a quick Google search.
Anybody can visit one of these sites to choose and purchase a domain name. You can have any name you want as long as it is not already in use (just like email addresses). It is worth having a list of domain name ideas together before you start looking.
How much does a Domain Name Cost?
Domain names vary in price so it is worth considering this before you start designing your website. A highly competitive domain can cost thousands of pounds. However, there are currently hundreds of domains available for just 99p. A domain name will cost anywhere between £0.99 and £9,999,999.
You will also pay for the TLD (or suffix) that you choose for your domain name. Some registrars offer “.co.uk” for £4.99 a year. If you want to use “.com” then you can expect to pay around £10 per year. Every domain, and domain name registrar, offer different prices so shop around if you are on a budget.
Does Your Domain Name Affect SEO?
The short answer is yes. Your domain name does affect your SEO. Therefore, it affects where your website ranks on the search engine results pages (SERPs). The problem is most people find this out once it’s too late. Knowing the impact that your domain name has on your SEO before you commit puts your website in a better position to rank on the SERPs.
SEO Best Practice for your Domain Name
Google has never told us what they want to see from your domain name. But over the years, SEO wizards have done a good job working it out.
1. Identify your Brand
The purpose of a domain name is to identify your site. The first thing you want to do is make sure it brands your business. You should aim to give customers an idea of who you are, what you do and what they can expect from your website.
2. Avoid broad keywords and hyphens
When it comes to choosing your domain name, you need something authoritative and trustworthy. Google rewards sites for these qualities. Certain domain name qualities are associated with spam sites. Try to avoid using broad keywords and hyphens.
Search engines won’t automatically blacklist you from the results pages, but they will monitor you more closely. That means you’re more likely to pick up a penalty later down the line.
3. Be Memorable
Length isn’t really a factor when it comes to choosing a domain name. Although many experts will argue that it is. That’s because your domain name has to be memorable. The shorter your domain name, the easier it is to recognise and users are more likely to come back.
Social sharing is another benefit of keeping your domain name short. Some platforms have character limits or cut URL’s short – from a brand identity aspect, you want as much of your domain name visible as possible.
4. Avoid non .com top level domains (TLD’s)
There are hundreds of TLD’s available and you may be tempted to try something new, especially if the domain name you want it taken. However, it’s always best to stick to .com. Other TLD’s (.net, .biz) don’t get as much traffic because they aren’t as well known.
If you can’t get .com, choose its closest alternative. In the UK, this will be .co.uk, but there are other variations such as .co.
5. Choose Subfolders over Subdomains
Subdomains were a big thing for a while but we are starting to see them filter out. A subdomain is an extension of your domain name. For example, we could use a subdomain for our blog posts and the URL would read: www.blog.koreti.com.
However, because search engines look for a brand identity and a memorable domain, you should use subfolders over subdomains. In this instance, the URL for our blog would read www.koreti.com/blog/[post title]. Doing so keeps your domain name at the beginning of every URL.
Coming Up with Domain Name Ideas
Some people find it easy to put together a list of domain name ideas. Other people struggle. And it can be particularly hard if you’ve set your heart on one name that is already taken.
If you’re a brand then it’s easy. Use your brand name. This makes sense. A lot of your organic traffic will be driven by navigational search intent. Using your brand name as your domain name will help them to find you.
But what if somebody is already using your brand name?
To come up with a list of ideas, think about the website that you want to build. If you were a random person, how would you use your website? And how would you find it? Think back to our guide on search intent and pull some keywords together.
Then, put these keywords together with your website offering or brand name. Let’s say you offer web hosting and your brand is called Lightning. Somebody else is using your brand name for their domain so you will have to improvise.
You could use something like “lightningwebhosting” or “lightninghosting”. The other option is to use one of the keywords you identified by looking at search intent, for example, “bestwebhosting” or “fastwebhosting”.
Can You Change Your Domain Name?
Yes, there is always an option to move your website onto a new domain in the future. This is great news for businesses who aren’t able to get their chosen domain name.
Even if you have an established site, you might find a domain name that is better suited to your business and SEO strategy. You can do the transfer yourself, or get in touch with us and we’ll get our developers on it.
One thing you must do is make sure your old domain redirects to your new one. This makes sure any existing links will still direct people to your new site. However, avoid changing domain name too often as too many redirects will slow your page speed.
Your domain name is the bit of your URL that comes after the “www.” but before the TLD. It should help users identify who you are and what you do. You can buy a domain name from as little as £0.99, but you will have an annual charge for the use of your TLD. This varies depending on the registrar you use.
There are some SEO best practices to follow when choosing your domain name. Most importantly, you want to present yourself as an authoritative website. The best way to do this is to avoid using broad keywords and hyphens. Try to choose a name that identifies your brand.
If your brand name is already in use, you have plenty of options. Look for combinations of your brand and a keyword, particularly one with the right search intent. The .com TLD is the best one to use from an SEO perspective so keep that in mind when you’re searching.
Furthermore, remember you’re not tied to a domain name. There is always the option to change in the future if you find something better suited. Don’t forget to redirect your old links so that people still land on your site.Back to blog home