by Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D. | Featured Contributor
Ah, domain names! If you talk to six different marketing coaches, you’re likely to get six pieces of advice, all different.
Here are 4 FAQs and some tips to choose your own domain name:
Q1: Should you use your own name for your domain? You should definitely own your name, if only to prevent someone else from grabbing it and literally destroying your good name
Here are the pros and cons:
- It’s a good idea not to have too many domain names. You might want to get a domain name for your signature product or your blog.
- If you’re establishing yourself as a professional service, you’ll be known by your name. You’ll most likely be getting repeat visits to your website from people who have heard your name. Therefore, you should make strong efforts to own your name and have a link forwarding yourname.com to a website.
- Your own name probably isn’t the best choice for a blog, if you’re going to get into serious blogging. For one thing, you can’t sell something with your name. For another, you’ll be getting visitors and links from people who don’t know you. A well-chosen domain name will attract attention and give you an edge.
- You may change your business direction, and your name will be attached to your past business.
However, some very successful bloggers and business owners have used their own names. So if you’re comfortable with these warnings, go for it!
Q2: Must you include keywords in your domain name?
Up till about 4 years ago, keywords would help your search rankings. These days many well-regarded experts believe it makes no difference at all.
Q3: Can you use hyphenated names?
Generally it’s best to avoid hyphenated names. BUT let’s say your ideal, perfect domain name has been taken. It’s not being used and there’s a big price tag to buy it.
Grab the name in hyphenated form. Then wait. Often the unhyphenated, plain old domain will be available all of a sudden, with no warning. I’ve seen this happen many times.
Alternatively, shop for variations on your perfect name. If “PerfectDog.com” is taken, you might be able to get “PerfectDogsOnly.com” or “YourPerfectDog.com”
Q4: Must you get a .com domain?
Even today the .com domain is still the first choice of most online business owners. However, the .biz or .co endings have become more widely used and accepted. You’ll also see .info in some highly regarded places.
As a copywriter, I encourage my clients to keep it simple, easy to spell and easy to comprehend. If you can get your domain name into 3 words, you’re in great shape. But many bloggers use longer names successfully (“ICanMakeYouRich.com”).
Here are some tips for choosing a name if you don’t want to use your own:
- Don’t try to be cute or clever. Clarity trumps cleverness any day of the week.
- Consider a name that communicates a benefit, such as “InstantTeleseminar.com”
- Consider a name that shows the goal your clients and readers will achieve.
An imaginary example might be “StopYourDogFromChewing.com”
- Consider a name that defines your audience.
“Problogger.com” refers to professional bloggers.
“DogownersInNeedOfHelp.com” is an imaginary name that defines another type of audience.
- Blog domain names are different from domain names for a product or service. Blog names need to be broader to attract a large audience.
So if you offered a training program and book for dog chewing, StopYourDogFromChewing.com would be great. For a dog behavior site, something like “ObedientDogsOnly” or “WeLoveGoodDogs” would be on the right track.
Similarly, “FillYourWebinars.com” might be too narrow for a blog.
Finally, do one final check before you submit your credit card to pay for that domain name. Type the name into a google search and see what comes up. It’s not foolproof, but you’ll get a pretty realistic indicator of your audience’s first reaction to your domain name.
Are the results congruent with what your offering? If the answer is “yes,” you’ve got something to go on. If your own followers like it, you’re good to go!
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., is a copywriter who helps business owners develop websites fast, so you establish a professional, authentic presence that attracts clients – your kind of clients! — without going crazy from overwhelm or draining your bank account with surprise fees. Free ebook: Transform your OLD website to get more NEW clients: Claim your copy here!