Picking and Buying Your Domain Name

“Domain names and websites are Internet real estate.” – Marc Ostrofsky


Choosing a domain name can be an agonising task.  There are a myriad domain names to pick from ranging from extremely specific to more generic; that is if you can find one that is available still!

In the recent past it was important from a search engine optimisation (SEO) point of view to purchase a domain that contained an exact phrase for your primary product or service.  These are known as “exact match domains” (EMDs).

Google, and by proxy the other search engines, however, released an update to their search algorithm in 2010 that severely devalued the relevance of keywords in domains.  These trends are usually circular however so in a few years it may be relevant again but there’s no way of telling this right now.

This change was made to stop spammers bulk purchasing domains just to reap their SEO benefits.  As with most changes the major search engines make to their algorithms; despite the fact that many people make a living from SEO work, the search engines don’t actually want you to “game” their system.

The real use for EMDs today is centred around pay per click (PPC) advertising.  It’s been consistently shown that adverts containing domains with exact matches perform significantly better than generic or branded domain names.  If you are thinking of running a PPC campaign then this is perhaps something worth taking into consideration.

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If the most important part of your business is your brand or brand name, then this is something that you should consider including in your domain name.

Recent changes to the kinds of top level domains (TLDs, the part at the end of your domain) that are available have also meant that more innovative names can be chosen as well.  For example the TLDs .expert, .boutique, .consulting, .rocks are all able to be used with other word combinations and as part of your branding.  Even with all these options, the .com TLD is usually still the king of TLDs and in Yorkshire, .co.uk is still a strong second place favourite.

Global thinking

It’s also necessary to think about the countries of the audience you’re targeting.  People react more positively sometimes to domains that are specific to their country,

“Oh, a dot co dot uk? They must be a British company.”

In fact, it’s usually considered best to pick a brand-able domain name over one that’s full of keywords for website’s primary/main domain.

There is also the option of buying multiple domains; this allows you to use specific domains for campaigns and other marketing or just to separate very specific parts of your website for any reason.  There are no limits to the number of domains you can use per website however it can be seen as spamming if too many are used incorrectly.

This does depend on how well known a brand you are presenting, bigger brands with more recognition or those brands that are international will struggle to convince anyone that they’re a “local” company!

A number of domain sellers make easy to buy a domain name and dealing directly with them is generally straight forward.  However, we would always recommend that you separate ‘managing your domain name’ from emails and website hosting.  You don’t need to buy everything from the same place.

If you’re not sure what’s right for you then talk to an internet expert who will be able to offer you advice and guidance to make sure what you’re buying is best for your website.

Domain name thinking from Yorkshire Powerhouse
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