When I work with a thriving business or practice that is in the beginning stages of building their website I always spend a great bit of time discussing a proper domain name. That’s because I think a domain name is the single most important part of SEO content and a suitable web presence. It’s so easy to come up with any old domain name. But a company does itself a great disservice when they don’t ask for help or strategically think about their domain name. I’ve purchased several domain names and later beat myself up after discovering a much better option. I have often spent at least 20 hours on a detailed domain board to find the perfect url.
I can’t tell you how embarrassing it is for a knowledgeable marketing staff to be working for a company with a bad domain name. Owners will seldom find a marketing team manager who will have the gall to suggest a changing of the domain name. Even though I’m just the girl to break an owner’s heart, I can’t blame others who won’t. The marketer is hired to work with what they are given; not to break new ground and revamp the whole site. The reasons for acting strategically when choosing your dot com are plenty but there are a few very specific considerations that all businesses should make prior to finalizing plans on a new domain name.
1. Generic vs. Brand
I’m certainly all for promoting a brand name. However for a start-up to have hopes of becoming the next “ikea.com” is not all realistic without investing massive ad bucks. For a small business I think it’s best to use a generic domain name like : “finewoodfurniture.com”. You can always fill the homepage with your brand keywords. In fact, thanks to recent Panda and Vince updates, it might be best to use the form: www.genericnamebrandname.com. In other words something like: “www.calswoodfurniture.com would make a great domain name.
2. Broad vs. Single Focus
Nowadays companies are expanding their skillset and services. While owners may have a vested interest in acquiring new customers with these services, it’s those tried and true services which form the overall identity of the company and should reflect the domain name url. So when choosing a domain name it’s best to use the company’s service specializations. “W.G. Audio” , a home audio client of mine, wanted to change the company url to describe their new video installation services. Since the company’s video installs account for about 45% of income, I suggested that the new url become: “www.wgaudiovideo.com”. This way the company remains an audio house and acquires new customers in search of video installs.
4. Wide Reach vs. Smaller Reach
Unless your company services the nation, there is no reason why you shouldn’t consider using a city in your domain name. Adding the city abbreviation towards the beginning or ending of a domain helps establish local authority. For instance, a dental practice in Los Angeles may choose the domain: “LAdentalwork.com” or “dentalworkLA.com It’s also good to use regional references that are familiar to the areas you serve such as: “socaldentalwork.com” where “socal” means Southern California here in the sunshine state. If you happen to serve several states, have multiple company chains or even serve most states in the country take advantage of using the keyword “national” in your domain name. The word “national” and “usa” carries a ton of authority with the right keyword.