Creating a Web site can be a big step for you and your business. It often involves a lot of uncharted territory. During this process, the questions below will most likely come to mind:
- What should I look out for?
- What exactly do I need?
- How do I make sure I make the right choices?
Conceiving and registering a domain name is one of the first obstacles you will encounter as an entrepreneur. This blog post offers 5 helpful tips, in the form of a checklist. This will help you determine if your chosen domain, is a well-chosen domain.
If you are a beginner? then I recommend using these tips because you are currently in the process of choosing a domain name for your blog or business.
Do you already have a Web site? If so, feel free to walk through this checklist to see if your chosen domain name scores well. You can also use these tips for your next domain name brainstorming sessions use.
- Own hosted domain name
- Confusing and difficult words
1. Own Hosted Domain Names
First, even though this does not have anything directly to do with the domain name itself, your website must be hosted. As you may already know, you have two ways to host website:
- Self-hosted websites
- Hosted websites
With a hosted website, such as the free variants of WordPress.com (not to be confused with WordPress.org, where you can download WordPress for your own hosted websites) or WIX.com, the website resides on the company's server.
This way you also use space and put files on the company's server. Of course, there are advantages to starting a website on one of the above variants (read; free). Still, I recommend every entrepreneur to start with a self-hosted website.
And for these reasons:
1. Domain Name
In most cases of hosted websites, you have the name of the company in your domain name. Let me give you an example. Suppose this website was hosted on wix.com, this domain name would look like this:
A hosted domain name comes across as a lot less professional. As a business, you are trying to build your own brand name, online. Especially if you want to be seen as an authority in your field. On top of that, a hosted domain reduces the "word-of-mouth" effect.
The danger of hosting your website on parties like wix and wordpress.com is the so-called bus effect:
When one of these parties goes bankrupt, and thus comes under the bus, your content and therefore your website is lost.
Even though the content is always yours, it is not yours until you put it on your self-hosted website. Also, you have to abide by the rules and terms and conditions of the company where you host your website. So also the information you put on the website.
A great example of this is this page on the Wix website. This explains that as a user of a Wix website, you are throwing away any possibility of claims regarding the use of your website in marketing and promotional purposes of Wix.
3. Overall Control
As a business owner, you want complete control over your Web site. However, hosted parties place restrictions on what you can do with your website. Especially on the ability to design and layout your website: This is because the hoster's company name is in the domain name. Because of this, the hoster will put restrictions on what you can and cannot do. But with a self-hosted website, you are completely free to do this.
At The Website Builders, we have been using TransIP's domain and hosting services with great pleasure and ease for many years. In our opinion, this company is one of the best hosting parties in the Netherlands and immensely popular among the IT community due to their service, prices and so-called up-time guarantee.
In case you're still hesitating to start a WordPress blog: It's not difficult. While registering your domain name through TransIP, you can choose WordPress hosting that will allow you to have a WordPress website online within minutes, without any technical knowledge.
If you have your website hosted on a hosted website anyway, no problem. You can still migrate the website to a self-hosted website without losing all your content.
It's not mandatory to use a keyword in your domain name. But it is going to help you.
The use of a keyword in your domain name not only helps you get found better in the search results pages of search engines like Google. But it also helps give relevance to your domain name for new visitors.
As an example, I will give 2 of our own domains. In one of the domains the keyword was deliberately chosen websites and the other is purely the brand name.
Suppose you are looking for a company to have a website developed. Which of the two Web sites would you consider more relevant to your search term? Presumably, your answer goes to number 2.
When you choose to add keywords to a domain name keep the following things in mind:
- Include only keywords that are relevant and sound natural. www.websiteontwikkelenforgedpixel.com does not sound natural. www.forgedpixelconsultancy.com again does.
- Find a healthy mix between keywords and branding of your business. Say the blog or website is about painting with acrylic paint then www.schilderenmetacryl.nl has your keyword in it, but has no "feel of a brand."
- Don't worry too much about the keyword in the domain name. It often happens that for the umpteenth time a domain name with keyword is already in use. This is because of the millions of domain names already registered over the years. There are plenty of domain names (such as our own) that do not contain a keyword, but are still successful. If you add relevant content to the website, you can still add these keywords to its URL.
Exact Match Domain
Exact match domains (EMD) or Patrial Matching Domains (PMD) used to be widely used. These are not what it used to be but still help with organic traffic.
No idea what an EMD or PMD is? Let me give you an example. An EMD is a domain name that exactly matches the user's search term. A lucrative search term like "cheap car hire" would translate into a goedkoopautohuren.nl EDM.
3. Avoid Confusing And Difficult Words
The key is to avoid words that are easily misspelled and confusing during the decision-making process.
When the website is spread by word of mouth, by yourself or others, there should be no confusion in the spelling of the brand. A good example is 2dehands.be. When you tell someone to go to that website it can be interpreted as follows:
You could basically handle this by registering all variants and having them redirect to the appropriate domain.
4. Avoid Numbers And Stripes
Another helpful tip I want to give you is to avoid numbers and punctuation in your domain name.
As we mentioned in #3 of our checklist; avoid confusion!
Adding numbers in your domain name again causes confusion in "word of mouth" advertising. It is unclear whether the 47 in your domain name is written as:
The same goes for using stripes in the domain name. This reduces the branded feel and word of mouth.
An argument in favor of using a line may be to enhance the readability of the domain name or to avoid confusion. consider:
bomb-reporting.com or bomb-reporting.com
5. Avoid Trademarks
Finally, I want to give you the tip to be careful about using trade names in your domain name. Usually these brands can be identified by their iconic ® after the brand name. These are protected brand names where only the company has the right to use it.
Consequently, there have been numerous cases where website owners have had a cease and desist letter. This is a request to the website owner to stop the illegal activity (cease) and never build it up again (desist).
Of course, this is not always the case. But by using the trademark you place yourself at risk. Because in the long run, if your website is going to grow, it would be annoying to have to start completely from scratch.
Thanks for reading!
If you have followed the steps in this checklist you will have a better idea of what makes a good or poorly chosen domain name.
Still have questions about domain names or get stuck during the checklist? Then leave a message in the comments below and I'll try to help you find your perfect domain name as best I can.