Guest Author - Elizabeth Connick
Your domain name is one of the most important parts of your website. You could have the best website in the history of the Internet and if you pick a bad domain name no one will know about it… because no one will find your site in the first place.
First, you must choose a domain name that you are comfortable keeping forever. Changing a domain name is very messy and inevitably will lose you a lot of traffic as your regular visitors struggle to adjust. It will also negatively impact your SEO (search engine optimization) efforts, since Google and other search engines will consider the new domain name to be a new site entirely. You’ll lose any goodwill you’ve managed to build up with those search engines and essentially start from scratch. The bottom line is, do NOT change your domain name for anything short of dire necessity.
Second, make it as easy as possible for visitors to find your site by picking an easy-to-type, memorable domain name. Most business websites use their business name as the domain name; however, the business name is not always the best choice. Fred Xorgenszplatt’s Xylophones does not convert smoothly to a domain name. You want a domain name that’s short and easy to spell. The ideal domain name for your xylophone store would be xylophones.com, since that’s as short as possible while reflecting your product.
On a related note, business websites should always hold out for a .com extension on their domain name. Yes, those extensions tend to be harder to get for good domain names. There’s a reason why webmasters snatch up those .com domains – visitors will reflexively type .com when entering a domain name, so you will have a lot less confusion if you give them what they expect.
Third, include your most important keyword in the domain name. Search engines give considerable weight to the domain name when ranking search results. That’s another reason why xylophone.com is such a good domain name for your xylophone business – your website will tend to turn up in search results for anything relating to xylophones, which means you’ll get a lot of spur-of-the-moment traffic from anyone doing research on them.
While you’re brainstorming on a great domain name, try to come up with several alternatives in case your first-choice domain name is already taken. If someone else owns your top pick, you may be able to buy the domain from them. Do some research on the owner first, though; domain-name reselling scams are common, and you don’t want to fork over your money only to have the seller disappear without transferring the domain's administrative rights.