In over twenty years of working in the web design business I have registered a LOT of domain names for people and businesses.
There is a lot of nonsense bandied around by ‘so-called’ marketing experts as to what your domain name should and shouldn’t be.
It’s time to DEBUNK some of those MYTHS!
I would just like to start by saying your domain name is YOUR domain name! It is the web address that represents your business online and as such should indicate a little ‘flavour’ of you.
It isn’t the ‘be-all and end-all’ of getting your website or blog ranked well by the search engines.
Here are my top 5 myths people like to tell you about choosing a domain name!
1. The name should have a .COM Extension
– this is a myth mainly put about by the US market. The rest of the world has been using non .com domains for years with no ill effects. The term ‘top-level domain’ (TLD) is used to refer to the last part of a domain name. Specifically, it is the group of letters that follow the final dot of any domain name. For more info on TLDs read this post http://www.maplemoonwebdesign.com/the-minimalist-guide-to-top-level-domains/. Some people will tell you that .COM TLDs rank better than others in the search engines – again NOT TRUE.
It is true that .COMs are probably the most popular but if you get the search engine optimization right on your site it shouldn’t matter what the domain extension is.
2. The Domain Name Should Be Short
– now while it may be nice to have a short web address, if your business has a long business name and you want to use that as your domain name then go ahead. Take my company for example, I have used www.maplemoonwebdesign.com since the start of the company– it’s the name of my company and it’s what people search for when they look for me. If I had shortened it – they may never know what to search for. It also doesn’t matter how many words you have in the domain either – people are actually a lot smarter than you give them credit for and SURPRISE if your business has four words in the title then chances are your domain name will have four words too!
Short, simple domains are, of course, easier to remember (and much easier when filling in online and offline forms) but if you brand your domain name properly people will remember it and with the correct search engine optimization for your site, they will find you.
3. The Domain Name Should Be A Keyword Phrase
– this is ‘old skool thinking’. It used to be that Google gave some credit for domains that were keyword-rich. Now they have changed their ranking algorithm again and don’t place anywhere near as much emphasis on it. You can check out more info on this including Matt Cutts own video explanation here http://www.maplemoonwebdesign.com/how-important-is-it-to-have-a-keyword-rich-domain-rather-than-branded/
4. It Should Not Contain Hyphens
– with the thousands and thousands of websites across the World Wide Web nowadays it is often hard to find your ideal domain name. But by the addition of a hyphen you could just snag that ‘dream’ name. You may well read information on the Internet that states hyphenated domain names do not rank well – again this is ‘old skool’ – check the dates on those posts – you’ll probably find the information is old and outdated or given by people that really don’t keep up to date with SEO.
Google is constantly updating the algorithm they base their search criteria upon and they are not about to penalize a QUALITY site just because it has a hyphen in its domain name.
You will see the argument that multiple hyphens indicate a spam site and this has often been the case. The chances of finding a multiple-hyphen domain name in the top pages of Google’s searches are slim BUT this isn’t because of the hyphens – it’s because the sites are CRAP quite frankly!
Spammy content and poor quality sites DO NOT RANK WELL regardless of their domain names.
The other argument you get is “It’s too hard to explain a site with a hyphen in it to someone!”
SERIOUSLY – how hard is it to say, “Go and visit my site. It’s at Blah DASH blah DOT com”
Your target market don’t really think you have the word DASH in your domain name and if they do it’s time to get yourself a NEW target market – just saying!
5. It Should Not Contain Numbers
– If your business name contains numbers then why shouldn’t your domain name contain numbers? Admittedly it can be a pain to explain to people over the phone or when talking to them that it’s a 2 and not ‘to’ or ‘too’ or ‘two’.
BUT if you brand your business and your website properly it will make no difference. There is a popular Pizza company here in Canada that has on every radio or TV advert their phone number, which is 363636 – and they always state, “That’s 3-6-3-6-3-6 NOT Free Sex, Free Sex, Free Sex”
NOW who isn’t going to remember that phone number!
Don’t buy into the OLD SKOOL hype pushed out by people who don’t know any better!
The bottom line is QUALITY – if your site contains QUALITY content, organized in an easy to find structure IT WILL RANK WELL regardless of your chosen domain name.
Here’s to your online success,