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Domain Name Selection
and Registration

 

Selection of a domain name can be an important part of your success for a variety of reasons. Use the guidelines below to help make a determination.

Here are some options:

  • Length
  • Based on Keywords
  • Based on Brand Name

Domain Name Length

Let's start first with the length of the domain name (because it actually plays a part with the others). Here are the pros and cons of domain name length.

It has been my experience that most visitors to a web site come to the site via an internet link. Whether this link is from a search engine, a link on another site, an e-mail signature link or some other online advertising. In this case, it does not matter how long the link is (because people are just going to click the link).

On the other hand, conventional wisdom says that with a short domain names, people will have an easier time remembering it, and will have fewer chances for a type when typing in the domain name.

Both of these points are valid. I personally have over 40 e-mail addresses (everything from hotmail, to gmail, yahoo and a number from the domains I manage). Each of those e-mail addresses have a different purpose (some are for friends and family, some are for business, some are for when I order online). I also use the catch all email account. When I someone requests my email address via email, it doesn't matter as much which account I use. But, when someone asks for my email address over the phone, I normally give them the shortest one.

Keyword Selection in Domain Name

 

Pride Boer Goats

 
From a search engine point of view, having keywords in your domain name can be quite beneficial. When it comes to search engine optimization, I have always used the basic guidelines of, "The harder it is to change, the more important it is for search engines." In the case of a domain name, that is one of the "hardest" things to change (I put hardest in parenthesis because it is actually easy to change your domain name, but most people wouldn't do it for a variety of reasons). So, the more keywords you can stuff into your domain name, the better. Since a lot of the sites I am focusing on are for farmers and breeders, I will use those as examples. If a farm's primary stock is Boer Goats, it would stand to reason that the term "Boer Goats" ought to be in the domain name. I look at it like this, "What search phrase do you expect people to type into a search engine to find your site?" If you are selling Boer Goats in Tennessee, the best domain name would probably be www.BoerGoatsForSaleinTennessee.com. If you are selling beagles that hunt rabbits, then www.RabbitHuntingBeagles.com would be good.

On a similar note, if you are going to use a "run on" phrase (like above), when you use the domain name online or in an email signature, I recommend capitalizing the domain in a TitleCase (like above).

Also, there seems to be some debate in the Search Engine Optimization community about whether or not to put dashes in the domain name. Frankly, I am still researching the benefits of dashes. I have a couple of domain names that I did research on the other day. One has a dash and the other doesn't. I have www.TuckerMountainBoerGoats.com and www.W2Kx-Web.com. I went to a couple of search engines and did a search for TuckerMountain (as one word) and W2Kx. The TuckerMountain search did not retrieve the domain name in question (which is registered in the search engines), but the W2Kx did find W2Kx-Web.com. Of course, that was a very small sample (and I intend on doing more research), it does suggest that having a dash is better than not having one. In another article, I will discuss having dashes or underscores in the file names (and directory structure).

Branding in Domain Name

I read in one of the search engine optimization forums that keywords in domains is not as important as they used to be. I still put my views on the keywords, but I do know that people like having the brand name.

Among other things, having a brand name in the domain name is probably much easier to remember (and might stand up to other basic marketing principles). If your farm already has print advertising (like banners, a logo or a trailer), you might find it easier to incorporate a branded domain name into the advertisement campaign

So what should you do?

Certainly, blended approaches are appropriate. Some of the sites I have designed have gone this way. Ringwood Acres farm got the domain name www.RingwoodAcresBoerGoats.com. They combined their brand with their keyword.

One of the problems that can occur with the keyword strategy is that you might change or expand your business. WhistlingDixiePygmyGoats.com also has Boer Goats - so now she is considering a different domain name which is more generic.

 
 

Muddy Bottoms Boer Goats

You can also consider domain aliases. With a domain alias, you might be able to get the best of all worlds. You can get a long, keyword rich domain for the search engines, a branded domain for print advertisement and a short domain name for telling people on the phone (or just for one that is easier to remember). With a domain alias, each of the domains would return the exact same information on the web (so if you go to www.eatgoatmeat.com and www.goatmeats.com you get the exact same page).

 
 

Timber Rock Farms

A friend of mine just set up the domain name www.A2Z-Digital-Video-Service.com. That is a good domain for his keywords (he offers digital video services), but it is a mouthful to say and write, as well as remember. When he tells people about it, he has to say, www dot A 2 (like the number) Z dash Digital dash Video dash Service dot com -- which really is a mouthful. I suggested to him to get www.A2ZDVS.com also (which is a lot easier to say and remember - but has none of the search engine phrases).

Ultimately, I recommend going to a domain name registrar that has tools for suggesting domain names based off of keywords, and then build your branding off of that. Shorter might still be better, but I wouldn't shy away from a longer keyword rich domain name if it targets your business.

And then, don't pay more than $10 a domain.

 

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