Top 3 Myths When Choosing the Perfect Domain Name
There are thousands of articles on the web listing steps you should follow in choosing a domain name for your blog or business website. Many of those articles focus on search engine optimization and industry niche names, but recent changes in search algorithms have rendered those procedures obsolete.
Your website is still the first (and sometimes only) impression you will make on viewers and potential customers, and choosing a domain name is the one of the most important decisions you’ll make in determining success.
So to help you on your quest for success, we’ve developed the following list of the top 3 myths you’ll encounter when choosing the perfect domain name for your site. If you can identify, understand, and counter these myths you’ll be on your way to a domain that draws attention…and traffic!
1. Domain Names Must Be Optimized for Keywords
It’s not a requirement that your domain name be optimized for keywords surrounding your industry anymore. It’s not even a requirement that your domain name make sense for your industry.
Twitter and Google don’t really tell you much about the company behind the domain, and those are two of the most recognizable and visited websites on the planet. What matters more thanTwitter had a faster ascent than Google, but there are many more users on the web today, and good positive word of mouth can “make” a domain name, similar to how positive reviews can be a boon for actual business.
Also, as search engines continue to get better at reading website context and rely less on tags and keywords, generic catch-all names like “Chicago-Car-Washers.com” become less important to drive traffic to your detailing shop and car wash on the south side of chicago. Focusing on good in-page content becomes much more important to search results than the domain name which houses that content.
Of course, the further your name is from describing your business you’ll need to do some extra marketing work to make people aware of your product or service. Also, be careful not to use a name that detracts from your mission. For example, a non-profit animal rights organization might think twice about using whalekillers.com.
2. Copyright Doesn’t Matter
Try telling that to the judge! ThisisthePoweroftheNetwork.com isn’t currently registered, but you can bet Cisco will have something to say about you using their slogan for your domain name.
It’s impossible to check every potential domain name against every database in the world, but to start, you should check your proposed name against the government licensing services for patent, copyright, and trademark. The US Patent and Tradement Office provides links to areas where you can search to make sure your name is unique.
When you are fairly certain you have a clear, unique name, you can progress to a more local level and search your state business lists. Nearly every Secretary of State website allows you to search online for registered businesses. Doing so will return the official business name and contact information. You can do quick web searches on businesses that might be close in nature to your make double-sure the domain you plan to use isn’t close to what is already being used.
Just adding a letter or a dash to your domain name to make it different from what’s out there isn’t going to really set you apart, or do anything to bring in traffic.
3. You Can’t Use a Name That Is Already Registered
Just because a domain name is already registered doesn’t mean you can’t use it. Domain parking and domain auction websites are popular businesses and will often register names in bulk with the intention of reselling them to individuals for a profit.
As you research available domain names don’t just stop when you see that one is already registered. Actually type the name into your favorite browser and see if it resolves to an actual website. If not, you might be able to contact the owner or make an offer to purchase the site from the existing registrar. Godaddy and SEDO are two of the larger domain auction warehouses. Be sure to check there before giving up on a registered name.
If you have the resources, you can even buy an existing website. That’s what Citigroup did when it found out the domain name it wanted was already registered by a small business consultant who locked down the name years earlier.
A domain name is not something to be chosen lightly, or as an after thought to planning your product or service. Avoid these 3 myths and stand out from the crowd by doing your research and choosing a unique name that will make your site a destination on the web.