Because I once owned around 50 domains, a friend of mine refers to me as the “Domain Queen.” As my business has grown and evolved, I’ve let many of them go (I now own only 22) or simply lost interest in the project. As the “Domain Queen,” I’m frequently asked how I choose effective domain names, so I’ll share my thought process with you.
1.What is the domain name’s purpose?
Are you planning to use this name for your company’s main website, a one-page sales letter site, or a squeeze page site? If the domain name will be your main company website, try to find the most similar version of your company name possible. Choose your business name and domain name carefully if you’re just starting out. I named my virtual assistant business SOHO Business Solutions because I assumed that everyone knew what SOHO stood for: Small Office, Home Office. In my 7 years in business, I’ve only encountered two people who knew what that acronym meant. I would choose a business name and domain name with virtual assistant in the title if I had it to do over for this business, such as InternetMarketingVirtualAssistant.com, which I recently purchased.
If you’re going to use a domain for a one-page sales letter site or a squeeze page, consider how you’ll promote it. Because content is king in today’s internet marketing world, there’s a slim chance that either of these types of websites would be found through key word searches. As a result, PPC, or “pay per click,” is your best promotion strategy, in which you purchase keywords for placement in search engines. Paid listings appear at the top of a search in a blue box, or down the right-hand side of your screen if you’re buying keywords from Google. You want to make sure that the information displayed there is compelling enough to entice someone to visit your site by clicking on it. As an example, as a side door gateway to my OnlineBizCoachingCompany.com coaching website, I’ve created a squeeze page, GetMoreClientsOnline.com, that offers a compelling solution to a common problem that my clients face.
2. Make a list of possible solutions or solutions to the problem you’re trying to solve.
A domain name that clearly identifies what you do, a problem you solve, or a solution you have to a problem will give a visitor a good idea of what to expect on your website. I usually go to www.UltraNetDomains.com, my domain registrar, and start typing in the names I’m thinking of until I find three or four that are available. If the domain name you enter isn’t available, the service will provide you with a list of 10 or so alternatives to consider. I recently used this alternate listing to help me come up with a name for an article directory site that I want to start.
3. Having your keywords in your domain name helps with SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
Professional organiser Marla Regan has used two keywords in her domain name, OrganizedTime.com. Lin Schreiber, a retirement coach, has a keyword niche in her domain, RevolutionizeRetirement.com. GetResults.com, the domain of consultant John Reddish, contains the desired outcome keywords. BecomeAHouseSitter.com is a domain I own but haven’t yet developed for house sitters. Make a list of keywords that someone might use to find you online before purchasing your domain. This list could include information about your industry, your target market or niche, a problem that your target market is experiencing, or a solution that you can provide.
4. If it’s going to be your primary domain, the shorter the better.
Because I tend to have long business names, I haven’t always followed my own rules here. You want your domain name to be as short, catchy, and memorable as possible if it will be your primary domain where your primary email address will be hosted. You’ll appreciate the beauty of a short domain name after a few times of spelling out your long email address. Your domain name can be up to 67 letters and numbers long, though I wouldn’t recommend going that far, and it can’t contain any special characters other than hyphens.
5. Register a domain name with your given name.
I usually advise my clients not to try to brand their given name as their business name because it takes many years, a lot of money, and a lot of effort to achieve the level of name recognition that Oprah has. However, purchasing your given name as a domain name, as well as any common misspellings of your name, is still a good idea. Many people think my name is Donna Gunther, with a “h” in the last name, but as a photographer in Venice, CA, I’ve been unable to register that common misspelling of my name. You can redirect your domain name to your primary website once you’ve purchased it as a domain. When someone types in a domain, they will be directed to the website to which you have pointed that domain. So, because I don’t want to use my name as a website, DonnaGunter.com currently redirects to OnlineBizCoachingCompany.com, though that may change in the future.
6. If the.COM version of the name is available, purchase it.
People “hear”.COM when they hear a domain name, regardless of whether it’s.NET,.BIZ,.ORG, or something else. As a result, it’s worthwhile to find a.COM domain name that you like. Try a hyphenated version of the.COM name if you can’t get the name you want. For example, I really wanted SelfEmploymentSuccess.com when I was looking for a domain name for my Self-Employment Coaching Gym, but it wasn’t available. However, I found Self-Employment-Success.com and grabbed it. Search engines prefer hyphenated names, according to many SEO experts, and many online business owners use hyphenated keywords in their domain names to appeal to search engines. I don’t have a firm opinion on the validity of this theory, so I simply recommend going this route before resorting to the.NET or.BIZ version of the desired name. Some domain name owners may be willing to sell you your desired domain name.
7. Consider purchasing additional domain names that are variations of your primary domain name.
If you’re registering a.COM domain for your company, you should also register variations of the name, alternate spellings, common misspellings, and the.NET and.ORG versions of the domain and repoint them to your main site to keep them out of your competitors’ hands. You can quickly go broke if you buy all of these variations, so exercise some restraint and don’t buy every single variation of your domain name. I decided that owning both OnlineBizCoachingcompany.com and OnlineBusinessCoachingCompany.com was enough for my coaching company website.
Your domain name is the first step in establishing your online presence. Take your time and think about it so that the domain name will serve you well in the years to come and will be an effective tool for helping you get more clients online.