5 Rules for Choosing the Right Domain Name

5 Rules to selecting the right domain name
Rusty Pile - President and Director of MarketingWritten by: Rusty PilePresident and Director of Marketing

Today, a business owner needs to know the difference between the right and wrong domain name since it can literally be the success or downfall of that business. If you own a business, you know how difficult and frustrating it can be to select the right one. Do you go with your business name or do you go with the type of product you sell? If the .com name you want is taken, should you buy the .co or .info or .net instead? Where should you buy it, how much should it cost, is it worth the price they are asking, and why does your head hurt? As an SEO professional and owner of numerous businesses (while helping hundreds of others), I have come up with five solid rules that should make the job a little easier for you.

Rule #1: Decide the purpose of your website.

I don’t mean “this is a website for my business” kind of thing. It needs to be more specific. Here are two examples of different website purposes for a Glendale carpet cleaning company.

  1. To bring in local business by appearing at the top of Google when people are searching for carpet cleaners in Glendale, Arizona
  2. To help brand your company as a U.S. leader in carpet cleaning with multiple franchises.

Be honest with yourself here, because it can mean the difference between success and wasted marketing dollars.

Rule #2: Use Rule #1 to decide the TYPE of domain name you need.

If you have a small, local carpet cleaning business, then by all means select a commonly searched phrase for carpet cleaners. I call this the “Search Phrase Strategy”. Domains such as CarpetCleaningMyCity.com (of course MyCity is the actual name of your city) or perhaps MyCityCarpetCleaners.com can be good options.

On the other hand, if you are looking to brand your business name because you are expanding throughout the state and eventually nationwide, then select the name of your company as your domain name. One caution here: you have to keep it as short as possible or nobody with remember it. That means don’t add extra words to the end unless your name is already really short. You can go ahead and buy TimsCarpetCareEmporium.com but also try to buy TimsCarpetCare.com and use the second one for your business. You can easily point the first domain name to the second one.

Rule #3:  Research the most commonly searched phrases.

(This is only for those going with the “Search Phrase Strategy” from Rule #2.) There are a variety of online tools out there to help you find the search phrase best suited for your business, goods or services. I rely a lot on Google’s Keyword Tool which is now called Keyword Planner. Register and use it to decide what is best for you.

Rule #4: Research on GoDaddy

Go to GoDaddy and start searching for available names that you want. This whole process from Rule #2 through Rule #4 can take a lot of time. You will say “all the best .coms are gone!” but they really aren’t. It just takes a lot of creative thinking and work. Need more help? Call us. We think creatively all the time.

Rule #5: Always buy your .com business name as well. And the .net, too.

It doesn’t matter what your business name is or what your Rule #2 domain strategy is, you should always buy your business name, too. If you don’t, I guarantee you that someone else will. Also, there are always people who will type in YourWholeName.com to find you. You should buy misspelled versions of your name for the same reasons. You might end up with a lot of domain names, but at less than $20 each for a year (and cheaper with coupons), they are worth the safety and investment. Also, you should buy the .com and the .net for all your domain names but don’t use the .net as your primary domain. And don’t buy the .co or other weird ones. Not only are they hard to remember, they are even harder to rank highly in Google. One exception to this rule applies if you are an organization or association. In that case, always go with the .org first.

And where should you buy these domain names?

We always buy from GoDaddy. They are the easiest, most economical domain seller out there, and they do a good job.

Good luck out there. And if you need any further help with finding the right domain name, building your website, and marketing your business, call us. Avenue 25 is on your side and our team of Phoenix web designers, graphic designers, marketing and branding specialists are here for you.