it all began with a consultation
I saw it happen in real-time last week. I was consulting and watched as an "SEO" guy made a bad recommendation. Watching him flipping a coin mentally on this decision is what spurred me to write this article. if you are getting the sense I am cringing a little... well... it's because I am. 🙂
Most businesses think their domain is simply an address they purchase at GoDaddy or one of the other registrars, and not much more thought goes into it. Like other aspects of marketing, "the devil is in the details." These tips can help you get an edge on SEO and allow you to check off a lot of those details when even your most trusted "web guy" lets you down.
Before we get into the details, let's define a domain. In its most simple form, a domain is simply a website address. Ours is IntegrisDesign.com. A domain operates independently from your actual website and email. In other words, your domain can point to any email, any website, or even any specific web page.
Domain Tip #1 - No one likes typing forever
Try and keep the total number of characters under 15 characters. If you can get a shorter domain, then do it. Many resources recommend your domain is less than 12 total characters. Short domains are easier, plus they give a sense of longevity and authenticity.
Domain Tip #2 - Your domain is not a "spelling bee"
Stick with easy to spell words and avoid words like "deceive." It is also wise to have a domain you can easily pronounce without having to spell out each character.
Domain Tip #3 - avoid these dashes
Avoid using dashes "-" or underscores "_" in your domain name. If you can't get the domain using just alphanumeric characters, odds are you will send a lot of traffic to that other guy's website that has the version without those dashes or underscores.
Domain Tip #4 - ".Com" is still king
There are a lot of cool extensions out there like ".tour" and some others that are frankly bad, like ".biz" (sorry to all you .biz fans out there). At the end of the day, .com instills the most confidence for "for-profit" businesses and .org for "non-profits". We typically still recommend getting all the other versions, such as the .biz, .net, .mobi, etc, so that your brand is locked down.
Domain Tip #5 - chasing SEO Holy Grail
If SEO is part of your online strategy, then you should do the following:
- Renew your domain for the longest time possible. Get out of that year-to-year renewal plan. The max length is currently at ten years.
- Add privatization to your domain. This step will also help eliminate solicitations from overseas.
You are doing this because Google and other search engines look at your domain's attributes. The more you believe in your business, the more Google will take you seriously.
Domain Tip #6 - Get Domains where someone else has done the work
Check out expireddomains.net. You may be able to find a domain with a ton of backlinks and an established history (terms for another article - just know it's very good). Some of these domains already have momentum, and you may be able to ride the wave of someone's work. We've done this for some companies in the past, and it meant "instant referral traffic."
Domain Tip #7 - you may have to get creative
People have been eating away at all the .coms and .orgs for years and years now. This fact means the pickings are slim. So check out websites like namemesh.com. These websites will take a few words and create variants that are available for purchase. Remember, these tools are not human experts making recommendations, so make sure they pass all the tests within this article.
Domain Tip #8 - own it or share your hard work with those that don't deserve it
It is tempting to think of the perfect domain, see that it's already acquired, then purchase the plural version of the domain or some other very close variation. This decision can send traffic to other places or create brand confusion. You need to own your domain name with as little confusion as possible. Compromises sometimes have to be made, but such is life.
Domain Tip #9 - its all about winning
It used to be a viable strategy to buy a domain stuffed with keywords, like "ashevilleplumber.com" While there is still a place for domains like this, it shouldn't be your main business domain.
We habitually buy easy to remember domains for clients and point them to a review page or a specific marketing campaign that involves billboards or other traditional advertising.
Remember, domains are a "means to an end." There is not a systematic strategy that works for every business. We regularly have to think beyond the norm to develop effective marketing techniques.
we are always here
If you think it may be time to rethink your domain strategy or step up your game and fully harness the power of domains, we are here to help. We can help you create the perfect domain, redirect your old domain in a meaningful way, and develop a multiple domain strategy; but most of all, we make it easy.
Oh, we also do a reseller GoDaddy domain site called EmberHosting.com. If you register your domain there, it will put a few coins in our coffer.