What’s in A Name? (A Domain Name, That Is)


What’s in A Name? (A Domain Name, That Is)

Branding Word ConceptThe short answer is “There is a lot in a name! In fact, domain name is critical.” That’s right; your website domain name is a critical launching pad for your branding strategy, your digital marketing solutions, your SEO strategy and your overall digital marketing plan. A well-chosen domain name will make people think of your small business, professional practice or non-profit organization. Unfortunately, many domain names are chosen without thinking through the consequences on SEO techniques, the effects on local SEO services or even the business goals.

Before choosing a domain name, it is a good idea to ask yourself some basic questions:

  • What are my business goals?
  • What are the goals for this website
  • What do you want viewers to do during or after viewing the website?

If you are not familiar with domain name system terminology, there are some basic definitions that you need to know:

  • A Top-Level Domain (TLD) is at the highest level of the system. It is the abbreviation that follows the “dot.” In the Unites States, the best known TLDs are “.com,” “.net” and “.org.”
  • A Main Domain (sometimes called the “root domain”) is the name that precedes the TLD. For example, in the name “Google.com,” Google is the main domain and dot com is the TLD. Sorry if you were thinking of using that one, it is taken. Axiom’s domain name is com.

In general, if your website is for a business or professional practice, you should try to get a dot com or dot net TLD. If you are a non-profit or service organization, the dot org extension may be preferred. Those name extensions are well recognized by the public and lend themselves to a branding strategy, to local SEO services and to sound digital marketing solutions.

Let’s take one of Axiom’s clients as an example. When a name like “our seniors dot net” is spoken and heard, the listener understands that the term means a web address and will almost certainly be able to find it on the web. Just entering the term ourseniors.net will get the user to a page that refers to the OurSeniors.net organization. Which location depends on which search engine you are using (probably Google or Bing).

The name, “OurSeniors.net” illustrates an important point – more and more business and service organizations are intimately tied to the internet. The dot com or dot net extension is an important part of their branding strategy, indicating that their services are at least in part web-based. If you are using the Google search engine, typing “ourseniors.net” will get you to a Search Engine Results Page (SERP) that is filled with references to our client. You will find the OurSeniors.net Home Page, links to their Better Business Bureau Profile, to their publication, OurSeniors.net Magazine and information in the Your-Business-on-Google side box (address, phone, business hours and  webpage).

You can see how the domain name is part of the branding strategy and how local SEO services and SEO techniques can be applied to this domain name. It all fits together nicely.  Now, what about choosing the Main Domain name?

For many small business operators, the purpose of the website is quite simple: to make potential customers aware of your business or practice, its location, services and products offered, etc. As closely as possible, you should try for a main domain name that reflects this purpose. Here are some key pointers-

  • Keep it easy to spell and type correctly. Search engines are getting better and better at guessing what misspelled words are meant to be, but it is still best to get them right.
  • Do keyword research. Try to imagine that you are looking for the product or service that your business sells or provides. What words would be in your search? Putting the most important keyword or phrase into the domain name is the ideal. The services of an internet marketing agency like Axiom Administrative Services can be a great help in finding the right keyword(s).
  • Keep it short is a good rule of thumb, but do not make this a dogma. Balance the descriptiveness of the name against its length. A name like “volusiapainting.com” may be a better SEO strategy than one like “vp.com.” Both domain names could be for a house painter in Volusia County, but the longer name is far more descriptive, lending itself to the SEO techniques of location and identity.
  • If your website is for a local service or business, try to include location in your domain name. “volusiapainting.com” tells the searcher that your business serves the Volusia County area.
  • Be cautious of names with numbers. Hearing the name, “one two three dot com” may lead the listener to type, “123.com” or “onetwothree.com.” If you are thinking of a famous number like 1600Pennsylvania (the White House), this may pass muster, but be careful.
  • Protect your domain name. If you are able to find a domain name that really fits your purposes, protect it by purchasing the same main domain with other TLDs. If you are going to use “volusiapainting.com,” consider buying the dot net extension as well, even if you do not use it. This protects you from competitors who may imitate your site.

Choosing and registering a good domain name is just the start of building a great branding strategy and a successful small business SEO plan. If you are struggling to find digital marketing solutions that work and branding strategies that make your business stand out, turn to Axiom. Your business deserves more than a cheap web design, and Axiom is more than an internet marketing agency. Axiom Administrative Services has the professional skill and small business SEO skills needed to get your web presence the ranking it deserves.

Our business marketing team can combine traditional marketing tools like direct mail advertising with local SEO services to build your branding strategy. Please visit Axiom’s small business services page or call Axiom at 800-888-6348.

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