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Is the Domain Name Still an Important Factor in Website Success?

Larry Domain Registration Jun 24, 2019

In early days of the internet, it was easy to scoop up one-name domains with strategic keywords. In today’s world, it’s hard to find a good two-word domain without spending a fortune. And if you’re like most people, you’re probably wondering, do domain names still matter? Why, yes – yes they do.

Why Domain Names Matter

A website domain name can seem like a very small and insignificant element of building an online business – or any business, for that matter. But when you dig in and inspect the ways in which domain names influence various aspects of business success, it becomes clear that it’s more than just a few characters you type into a browser. At risk of sounding overly dramatic, a domain name can make or break a company’s chances of being successful. Here’s how:

  • SEO. From an SEO point of view, your domain name serves as an indicator to Google and other search engines of what your website is all about. It won’t land you on page one of Google – at least not by itself – but a good keyword-based domain name is a nice building block to have in place.
  • Branding. Your domain name is a big branding play. Whether the name of your business is your domain name, or the domain name simply contains part of your company’s name, it’s nice to have consistency.
  • Discoverability. You aren’t going to attract a lot of traffic as a result of someone typing in a random domain name in their browser, but you stand a much better chance of generating organic traffic if you have a simple, recognizable domain name. For example, the domain name XYZ.com is better than GetXYZproduct.com.
  • Trust. There’s a huge trust factor in play with domain names. A simple domain with a normal extension will register better with your audience than a complicated domain that’s hard to read/spell.

These are just a few of the factors involved. Depending on the type of business you run and the sort of competition you face in your niche, there could be other major forces at play. The significant takeaway is that you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of selecting a domain name. It’s a process that requires strategic thinking.

Considerations When Selecting a Domain Name

Selecting a domain name for your business website isn’t something you should lose sleep over, but it does matter. Give it some effort and think about the following:

TLDs

One of the first considerations is the top-level domain, or TLD. This is the last segment of a domain and it’s the highest level in the hierarchical domain naming system on the internet. The most popular TLDs are .com, .org, .net, .edu, and .gov – though there are dozens of others now in circulation.

While people have become more comfortable with other TLDs over the years – and will continue to grow more accustomed to a wider variety of them in the near future – a .com TLD is still the preferred option. It’s familiar, trustworthy, and easy to remember.

Keywords

As previously discussed, the keywords you use matter for the purposes of SEO and branding. You want there to be a clear relationship between the name of your website and what you’re selling. It doesn’t have to include your brand name, but people should be able to infer what your business does based on the website URL.

Readability

The readability of the domain name is important. People shouldn’t have to squint to understand the domain name. You also don’t want it to be easily misinterpreted. (If you want a good laugh – and a lesson in what not to do – just check out these unintentionally inappropriate domain names.)

Domain Brokers

It’s hard to find a one- or two-word domain name that’s actually available. Most of them have been swallowed up by domain squatters or are already in use. That’s why we recommend using a domain broker, who can help you purchase strategic domain names that are already owned by other people. It’s one of the best investments you can make.

Success is in the Details

In the big picture, your domain name is a small detail. But to say that small details don’t matter would be a serious error. Not only do they matter, but they can significantly influence a brand’s potential. As you think about your domain name, keep this in the back of your mind. Rather than rush into choosing something so that you can move to the next step, take the time to carefully consider all of your options. You’ll be glad you did!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Larry Alton

Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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