When you’re starting a new blog, one of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make is that of choosing an appropriate domain name. Truth be told, first impressions matter all the way down to something as simple as what you choose as your web URL.
How it reads indicates authority and trustworthiness… Don’t you think?
Rules for Choosing a Domain Name:
- Go with something short and memorable.
- Avoid dashes and numbers in the URL.
- Avoid Trademarked names (if you’re a Real Estate Agent for example, you can’t use REALTOR® in your URL unless you have that member designation).
- Register your domain name NOW (before someone else grabs it up).
Keyword Rich vs. Branded Domains
Most people will probably debate this point with me, but I’m all about Branded domains over Keyword Rich domains. The reason for this is simple, I’ve seen some people butcher some real estate domain names by adding hyphens or making the URLs extremely long to read. For example:
…this reads as a long URL and it’s difficult to explain in conversation from one person to another. On the other hand, domain names like:
…are short, memorable and full of solid real estate content.
Bottom line, if I had to choose between a long-winded keyword rich URL, or a short but memorable branded domain, I vote for the branded domain. Here’s Matt Cutt’s (head of Webspam Team at Google) take on it:
First Impressions Matter
First impressions matter a great deal. However, they aren’t always obvious online. Those first 5 – 10 seconds when someone’s visiting your site for the first time are crucial. They make a decision right then and there on whether they’re going to stick around and keep searching or click away to go somewhere else.
That said, your site design needs to be well polished and so does your content. It needs to show that you know what you’re talking about and that you can be a valued and trusted source of information. This includes having a solid domain name that you own. Get rid of domains like:
Instead, own your domain name: yourcompanyname.com. Dot com is the most recognizable so try to own your .com if you can. Otherwise, .net will do. If you’re big on doing video, David Meerman Scott suggests you get your own dot tv domain. Think about how your domain name reads aloud. For example, which of these three sounds better:
I’ve made these up as examples, but when you read them aloud, doesn’t one convey more trust than the other? Doesn’t one seem more authoritative than the next? Bottom line is, presence matters, from content, to design to something as seemingly simple as your domain name. So own your domain name early on and be authoritative from the start.
Over to you…
What’s your BEST advice on choosing a domain name? Do you prefer a keyword rich domain or something branded (and why)?
Good topic. I have done both and you're right that short & sweet is more memorable, but sometimes the most helpful titles and URLs are taken or that “market” is saturated. I have one blog (a WP blog) which has a long, keyword rich URL, but I have a more user friendly URL that is short, attractive, and points to the longer domain. My sense is that this is the best of both.
Ricardo Bueno says
Mary: Good point. In the cases where a good solid URL is taken, I'd opt for short an memorable as opposed to putting hyphens in the URL. I think things like that make it difficult to read and communicate.
If you can grab a keyword rich url on a dot com, by all means do. Otherwise, go with something branded.
Thanks for the comment and for pointing out the other correction 🙂
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