Join Brad Batesole for an in-depth discussion in this video Choosing a domain name, part of Online Marketing Foundations.
- Having the right domain name is essential. Your domain name is how your visitors find your website. It appears on your print materials, and it's also shared both online and offline as your brand recognition increases. A poorly-chosen domain name will have a widespread negative impact on your online and offline efforts. A good domain name is relevant, memorable and usable. So let's talk about relevant. Your domain name should be relevant to your business. Typically it will be your business name, but in some situations, it can be a bit more broad. If your business name is too long, you may need to creatively shorten it, while still remaining on brand.
So for example, if our business name is Santa Barbara Golf Course, we might choose the domain name SBGolf.com. Now SBGolf.com is great for our marketing efforts to achieve memorability, but we might gain more SEO value out of using a keyword-rich domain like, SantaBarbaraGolf.com. In that situation, I would buy both. I would simply redirect SBGolf.com to SantaBarbaraGolf.com, and then build all of my SEO efforts around the longer domain. You're really only using the short domain when you're displaying it in your marketing materials.
Now I'm not suggesting you buy a bunch of domains and redirect them to capture keywords. That's actually not going to help your SEO. You have to pull all of your effort behind the domain name you want to rank. So just owning them and pointing them places won't add value. On the other side, if for example, your business is called, Brad's Automotive, I could buy the domain, BradsAuto.com, but SantaBarbaraAuto.com wouldn't be relevant, despite my desire to gain that keyword advantage. The more relevant your domain name, the better. Even for SEO. So stick with what makes sense to your target market.
Next, make it memorable. And you'll do that by keeping it short using simple terms and by selecting the most common suffix. Now when I'm talking about suffixes, I'm referring to .com, .net, .org. And today, .com is still king, and most people instinctually type .com, even if you listed .net or .org. It's ideal to always have .com. So if you choose, for example, SBGolf.net, your competitor might be at SBGolf.com, and you'll be helping drive traffic to their site when your visitor can't remember the right suffix.
Now some countries have specific suffixes, such as .mx, or .co.uk. Use the one that is most widespread in your region. If you have a difficult to spell or pronounce business name, you'll end up with a less than memorable domain name. Instead, you'll want to try an alternative domain name that still maintains the feel of your brand. And finally, the domain should be usable. If you're adding in hyphens or leveraging prefixes other than "www", you might be hampering a visitor's ability to arrive at your website. The best domain names are short and free of special characters.
So after you select your domain name, I recommend buying multiple variations and suffixes to prevent others from registering them. Also if you're using a number in your domain, it's not a bad idea to buy the version with the number spelled out, to avoid any complications when sharing a domain name through word of mouth. If your domain name is unavailable, it might be worth contacting the current owner to inquire about the cost of purchasing it. If you can't find their contact information on their website, you can try identifying them by running what's called a "Whois". This will query the registered owner.
You'll find the tools to do this at whois.net, or who.is. It's hard to change a domain name once you've got your marketing underway. So evaluate your options and make the best choice for your business.
This course is part of a Learning Path approved by the American Marketing Association.
Gain the skills you need to become an AMA Professional Certified Marketer (PCM) in Digital Marketing by using the industry-leading courses and resources in the Learning Path. Take the AMA certification exam to show that you have what it takes to lead the digital transformation.
- What is online marketing?
- What makes a website effective?
- Working with a designer or developer
- Creating engaging web copy
- Understanding online analytics
- Using goal and event tracking
- Exploring the conversion funnel
- Defining key performance indicators (KPIs)
- Understanding SEO techniques
- Conducting keyword research
- Creating a content strategy
- Leveraging local SEO
- Understanding who's on social media
- Marketing with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest
- Creating compelling video marketing campaigns
- Building an email marketing plan
- Measuring the success of your marketing efforts
- Setting up a blog
- Running A/B marketing tests
Skill Level Beginner
Q: This course was updated on 03/08/2016. What changed?
A: We updated six movies to keep current with the latest interfaces in Google Tag Manager, Google Keyword Planner, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Brad also added one new tutorial on setting up a blog.
Q. This course was updated 03/21/2017. What changed?
A. The following topics were updated: installing Google Tag Manager, using goal tracking, looking at a conversion funnel, looking at attribution models, leveraging local SEO, introduction to search and display, launching display search ads, and deciding to use remarketing.