“An effective domain name must be clear, simple, directed, and intuitively applicable to your business.”
Choosing a domain name for your website should take some careful consideration. To be sure, you would probably not decide to use a non-specific title for your website, even without knowing the science behind this, but it is more important than business owners realize. An effective domain name must be clear, simple, directed, and intuitively applicable to your business.
.Com, and The Other Guys
Of course, .com is the most recognized, and this is the extension you need. Speaking of the consumer’s instinct, you want a web address that people automatically expect to see: www.yourbusiness.com. The .net or .org extensions (and there are many more) are okay, as long as you have a good name; however, we all generally assume that a web address will have .com on the end of it. If it comes down to a face-off between yourbusiness.net and yourbusiness.com, the first click will almost invariably be the .com. Data provided by an instructional website for understanding domains showed that .coms make up 75% of all domain extensions.
SEO Ranking and CTR
Achieving excellent ranking in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is based on criteria that you have to take into account, when choosing a domain. Research exists to support the benefit of owning an Exact Match Domain (EMD), wherein the domain exactly matches the target keyword search, as well as a non-generic name. Obviously, FreeCreditReport.com has been successful, but abstract domains such as Google.com and Twitter.com have not done too bad, either. The best way to see how your domain is performing is to look at CTR (Click-Through Rate). The more times people click on your website’s address, or a link to it, the better. Though there are a few different schools of thought on coming up with a domain that ranks well in SEO–catchy, brandable, funny, etc.–here are 3 approaches that demonstrate a basic difference between domain names.
A generic domain, which is generally considered premium, is the epitome of keyword domains. This type would look something like, CustomSunglasses.com. Generic is the easiest way to rank well, due to the fact that your name contains the frequently-searched keywords that reflect the nature of your business. A case study conducted by Memorable Domains revealed that clicks by way of Google “clearly favored” a generic domain over the other types, proving that “an ‘ideal’ generic name was able to produce 45% more clicks across all keywords” than the alternative name.
Alternative-generic domains are also effective because they still have a degree of keyword strength, but it is a little more derivative (e.g., NiceShades.com). This type is distinguishable, but not the most sought-after domain; chances are, you chose this type because your generic .com was already registered, so you chose the alternative to retain the .com extension.
A non-generic domain is one where you take some creative license. It has virtually no keyword-search benefit, but the phrase you use is widely recognized, (e.g., GottaWearShades.com) either universally or regionally, so that people know what the name represents.
See what all the acronyms mean, in this bonus post:
Make it Clear
Does your domain name make sense? Even if you are using something non-generic, a clever play on words, it should still be easily associated with what your business does. If you own a company that sells custom sunglasses, for example, then NiceShades.com would be better than WellFramed.com Can you see how a reference to framing could give your customer the wrong idea? Does your company sell sunglasses–or build houses? This is the kind of confusion you should avoid; be sure that it is not misleading, in any way. Your chosen domain name must also be simple and memorable. Concise phrases seem to perform better in SEO than wordy, multi-syllable ones, which makes sense because we like everything to be short and to-the-point; we expect a web address to be written as such.
Spell it Out for Them
One last point on choosing the right name: It should be easy to spell, and easy to remember; use the natural or primary choice of spelling over a clever adaptation. For instance, IcarusProject.com is better than IkarosProject.com. If the premium .com domain is already registered for a good spelling, then you may want to rethink it to retain your .com extension. Once again, keep it short and concise. You could say that we generally view long names that spell out a business (e.g., bestdigitalmarketingcompany.com) as less reliable or appealing as the simpler counterpart, DigitalRocket.com. The difference is huge.
If you take anything away from this article, it is that your website must be easily and frequently searched. Consumers looking for a specific service click on certain things, and when selecting a domain, your job is to make it as easy as possible for them to click on your website’s URL in their searches. You have to tip the odds in your favor.
Stephanie is the Marketing Director at Talkroute and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur as a leading authority on business and telecommunications.
Stephanie is also the chief editor and contributing author for the Talkroute blog helping more than 100k entrepreneurs to start, run, and grow their businesses.