a chart to describe the search engine market

Search engine market as it stands. Image via Wikipedia

If you are looking at getting your business online or just want to create a website the most important decision you will make is what domain name to have. There are numerous things to consider such as:

  • Name of business
  • Keyword relevance
  • How memorable it is
  • What’s at the end of it

Name of Your Business or Site

The simplest way to create a domain name is to have one the same, or similar to your business name. Although many websites are named according to the domain name this does not have to be so with your business one. You may also run into problems if your business name is common and already registered as a dot com.

If this is the case (eg “City Plumbers” is already registered as cityplumbers.com) you can add a location specific word to the domain name such as cityplumberny.com for a New York plumber. These are basic examples but you get the idea. ust consider how location specific your business is as well as keywords that you might want to use in the domain name instead.

Keyword Relevance

Keywords are king with search engines like Google and having a word relate to your business or site theme is very important in establishing yourself online. If you check with any domain name provider worth their salt then they will have an auto suggest tool of available names as well. In fact, there is a mini industry of people who buy up keyword related domains to sell-on to businesses and individuals.

I even get the odd SPAM type message from domain auction sites telling me there are sites for sale similar to my ones. You might want to head down the road of registering multiple domain names but I find it better to increase the value of single domain names rather then spreading out your work. Adwords and the Google search engine will also provide you with clues as to what keywords to target for your business or online presence.

Make sure to do your Keyword research before buying a domain even though they are relatively cheap. Personally, I have bought a couple that I have jumped the gun on and you don’t want idle domain names going to waste.

How Memorable Is It?

You may also want to head down the path of having a fun or memorable name but if you can link it in with what your site does, then all the better! Sites such as mashable.com have a short, easy to remember and relevant domain name. This will, unfortunately, rule out most domain names that will have relevant keywords (especially if you have a few). Again, use the domain name suggestion tools that are widely available and you might find some that roll off the tongue.

What’s At the End of It

You may want to stick with the traditional dot com but there are country specific and a few other domain identifiers out there. Notably .info and .biz but both of these have not really taken off. If it makes sense for what you are offering, though, then don’t be scared of registering these types of domain names.

The only domain names that may affect search results are country specific meaning you will tend to get more results from that specific country. I have a few .com.au names (Australia) and this is because I am specifically targeting Australian Internet users and having international visitors as a secondary market. One good example that mixes keywords, site name, location and memorability is my site Escape-Sydney.com.au which deals with travel and moving to locations outside of Sydney.

When looking for a domain name be sure to check out your competitors and see what they are doing right (and wrong) and aim to find something better to build on!