Choosing a domain name is one of the most important aspects of creating a new website. You can change your blog layout or your font choice as needed, but changing your domain name on a whim will cause you to lose readers, subscribers and traffic. Sure, there are tools like domain forwarding and masking, but using these recklessly can incite distrust in your audience. It’s important to consider which domain name to register carefully and get it right from the start.
- Your domain extension matters.
.comnames are the best, since it is the extension most people think of when they try to recall a web address. If you’re located at
businessgenius.infoand brand yourself all over social media as “The Business Genius,” a ton of people are going to hear about you, type in
businessgenius.com, come to an error page (or worse, your competitor’s website) and move on. Try to get a
Another reason your domain extension matters is that some are taken more seriously than others. Extensions like
.netand for video marketers,
.tv, are all fine, but others, especially
.info, are branded as spam immediately by some users.Read more about SEO: WordPress SEO, SEO Terms, Sitemaps & Google, Publishing Unique Content, Managing SEO, and GWT Errors.
One more thing to consider when choosing your domain name extension is whether you can use the extension in your branding itself. For example,
blo.gsboth do this perfectly by turning their brand name into their entire web address. If you can find a way to use this trick in your own branding, the other rules pretty much go out the window. Since these types of URLs aren’t as common, they are more likely to stick in users’ minds and since they are clever enough to spark curiosity, you don’t have to worry as much about whether they are professional.
- Keep it simple and easy to remember. A name that is simple and catchy is better than one that people will have a hard time remembering.
- Keep it short and succinct. Avoid adding too many unnecessary words. For example,
businessguru.comis much easier to remember than
- Make sure your domain name is consistent with the rest of your brand. Ideally, your domain name should be your website’s title. It should also be clear to people who visit your social media profiles that you are associated with that website. Keeping everything consistent is key to keeping your online presence professional and it helps people remember who you are and what you do that much more.
- Be sure that your domain is easy to spell – If someone mentioned your website in passing, would the average listener be able to figure out how to spell it? They should if you want them to find you! Choose wording that is easy to spell. Be careful with double letters, as well since they can be awkward for users to type out.
- Avoid hyphenated domain names. Some people will find that their domain name of choice is already taken, so they’ll go ahead and purchase a hyphenated version instead. While it’s not the worst situation in the world, hyphenated domain names are awkward and annoying to type out, so that can discourage some visitors. They also pose the same challenge alternative extensions: most people won’t think to place a hyphen between each word when they try to find you, so they might land on another business’s website.
- Optimize your domain name if possible. Including keywords that people might use to find your type of website can help boost your search engine traffic a bit. Focus on branding first, however, since the benefits are far more substantial.
- Avoid awkward spellings. Avoid embarrassing mistakes like the one the folks at Experts Exchange made when they registered
expertsexchange.com! They have since added a hyphen to their domain name (one situation where doing so is definitely advisable), but thankfully we can learn from their error.
- Don’t include numbers in your domain name. Unless they are part of your brand name, numbers in your web address scream, “Spam!” For example, one exception might be if you are creating guide to blogging and want to call it “Blogging 101.” In general, though, stay away from including numbers.
Your domain name should be descriptive. Unless you have the skills and resources to really make sure that your branding stays consistent across all platforms, a domain name that hints toward what your website is about is ideal.
There’s a lot to think about when choosing a domain name for optimal WordPress SEO. It can be a little overwhelming, but keep in mind that great branding is the key to having a successful website, even if your domain name does break any of these “rules.“