How to choose a domain name

Choosing a Domain Name can be an intensely personal process but it’s important to remember that, to get the best result from your web site, it may be better to put the personal aspects aside. In this article we’ll talk through the elements to consider when choosing a domain name.

I often advise people to choose a name that works for products and services, but these days all the good names are taken. Sure you can try replacing an “i” with a “y” or trawl through a theasaurus looking for words that mean a similar thing, but again, their probably all taken anyway.

The other option is to check out other TLD’s. A TLD (Top Level Domain) is the bit that comes after the first . in the URL. eg. .com.au or .net

If you find that [yournamehere].com.au is taken, then try .net.au or another variant. There are new TLD’s being released all the time so you will often find that there is something available that fits your needs.

If you need help, just reach out to the team here at Host Local and we can certainly help you find a name that suits your needs.

What’s in a name?

Fundamentally speaking, a domain name is merely a method to allow users to reach your content with the minimal of fuss. However, the actual name can do a lot to help visitors find your website in the first place.

Search engines, like Google and Bing, factor in the Domain Name and the overall URL as part of their algorithms to determine search matches. So, if your domain name is, for example, VandalayIndustries.com.au and you sell coffee, you are may not get as much organic visitor traffic for the search term coffee than if your domain name was VandalayCoffee.com.au, as the word coffee isn’t mentioned in your website domain name.

It’s not the end of the world though, as a lot of companies sell products that aren’t releated to their domain name. So while it’s worth thinking about before choosing a name, there are ways to ensure good organic search visitors without relying solely on the domain name.

What’s after the name?

As mentioned above, the overall URL is factored into search engine algorithms. So if you do happen to choose a domain name that’s not directly related to your product or service, don’t fret. There are a number of ways to improve your search results without relying on the domain name alone.

The best way to deal with this is with good URL structure and appopriate content. Each of these topics warrant their own article however lets talk about each briefly here.

URL Structure

When using WordPress, the URL structure for posts, or “Permalinks” as they call them, may not always be set up for optimum URL presentation. If you don’t happen to have words relating to your product or service in your domain name, then you can make sure your URL’s do reference these terms.

It’s aways best to set up your Permalink settings early on when creating your website as it’s not something you want to change after search engines have already crawled your site looking for content and links.

Here is a screenshot from Host Local’s WordPress site. We’re using a Custom structure so that all blog posts exist under the /blog folder. This could easily be changed if required.

It’s important to note that by default the post name won’t appear in the URL, which isn’t ideal from an SEO perspective as a page like /?=123 is far less attractive to search engines than a page like /blog/how-to-choose-a-domain-name.

Again, we could talk more about this however for the sake of brevity, lets move on.

Appropriate Content

The other important element to consider if your domain name isn’t indicative of your product or service is actual page content.

The search engines will index all content on every page of your site, so along with having the URL representative of your product or service, having the content aligned with this also is super important.

This becomes even more important if you plan to move into any sort of online advertising.

Summary

So in summary, when choosing a domain name, it would be great if you can include a phrase relevant to your product or service in the domain name itself. However, if this isn’t possible, don’t stress as you can certainly work around any issues with good planning of your site structure and content.