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The Challenge Of Securing A 'Good' Domain Name

Posted 19th December, 2012 by Aliysa

In today's internet landscape, registering a memorable, user friendly domain name that reflects a websites purpose is essential for anyone trying to successfully build an online web presence; a well considered domain name has the potential to safe guard online branding, increase traffic, boost search engine rankings and drive overall growth. However, with [worldwide registrations]( http://www.circleid.com/posts/20121002_over_7_million_domain_names_registered_in_q2_2012/) across all extensions surpassing 240 million, it's becoming increasingly more difficult for small business owners to secure a desirable domain.

To help you successfully establish an online presence and secure a 'good' domain name in a saturated market we recommend you carefully consider the following quick tips.

Pick An Appropriate Name

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When selecting an appropriate domain name, ensure that it positively reflects the purpose of your business or blog. Often or not a domain name is a companies name or the name of the owner, for example www.tsohost.com.

If it's not possible to register your company name as your URL consider adopting a ‘Keyword Rich' domain strategy. Carefully consider recognisable and associated key words related to your business or blog. Including keywords that are relevant to a consumer's search engine query will increase the likelihood of your site being found by your targeted audience. For example, if your business name is JP Cupcakes - and you target several towns in the local area, you may want to consider purchasing a domain such as hampshirecupcakes.co.uk.

Keep It Short & Memorable

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Avoid double letters, unusual spellings and long or hard to spell words. The Shorter a domain name is the easier it is for a consumer to type and remember. This rule is particularly beneficial for consumers that see your domain name offline, for example in print advertising; it will be of no surprise that complicated and lengthy URL's are more difficult for consumers to recall. To ensure your proposed domain name is user friendly run a quick test amongst friends and existing customers.

Avoid Unusual Characters

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The inclusion of unusual characters particularly hyphens make it difficult for users to communicate, remember and type a domain name. As well as confusing consumers unusual characters may also affect a websites search engine ranking; often domains containing unusual characters do not rank as high as normal domains. We recommended avoiding hyphens unless they serve a purpose or add value to your domain.

Make It Unique

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Having your website confused with a popular site offering the same or similar products will have a detrimental affect on your search engine rankings and potentially cost a lot in lost business. To best avoid another website being mistaken as your own carry out some basic research to identify where confusion for users may occur. For example differentiating your domain name by using a hyphen is more than likely to cause confusion amongst web surfers (www.brandmarketing.com and www.brand-marketing.com.) Most importantly, if your domain name is confusingly similar to an established player in your industry you may be at risk of trade mark infringement or passing off.

Select The Right Domain Extension(s)

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Selecting the right domain extensions (.CO.UK, .ORG, .COM etc) for your online identity is just as important as the domain name itself; the extensions (also referred to as suffixes) that you select play a key role in communicating to users what they can come to expect from your website.

There are two key factors that must be considered when selecting a domain extension, the first relates to your website content and purpose. If you can clearly identify what sort of content your site will display, and what purpose it holds, you'll find it much easier to determine which top level domain (TLD) extension is best suited to your needs; for example:

  • The .NET extension should be used for sites/companies that are related to networking technologies (such as internet providers)
  • The .TV extension should be used for sites that display lots of rich-media content or companies that function within the TV industry.
  • The .INFO extension should be used for websites that serve a plethora of informative content.

The second important factor to consider before selecting a suffix is your desired target audience. Most countries has a specific domain extension (ccTLD) to represent that particular territory (.IT- Italy, .IN- India, .BE- Belgium). If you're an e-commerce shop or service provider that strictly operates in one territory there are a couple of business advantages for adopting the suffix of that geographic region.

The first notable advantage is that search engines favour local sites, meaning your domain will rank higher in search queries made in the country that you operate. For example if a query is entered in the UK for a shoe retailer a website with a .CO.UK suffix will rank higher than a .FR as the website is deemed more relevant. This key advantage will potentially boost sales by driving more targeted traffic to your site.

Another advantage, explored through research by Microsoft, shows that domain bias is prevalent in many online users. Results show that consumers searching in a specific territory prefer and are more likely to trust and click specific suffixes. Nominet supports this theory and highlights that '80% of people in the United Kingdom prefer .CO.UK websites when searching online'.

Consider Market Expansion

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Its advised that you carefully consider the future growth plans of your business. If you have ambitious market expansion plans, it's highly recommended that you quickly purchase the appropriate country level extensions to ensure that fierce competitors do not block you out of future growth areas.


Categories: Tips, SEO, Domains

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