For 99% of the projects I take on, a domain is already part of the equation. However I’ve been called on to provide advice when choosing a domain name so I thought I’d put these rules down so you don’t mess up right from the start. And the hyphen in my domain name is perfectly fine!…
1) Brainstorm Your Top Five Keywords
It’s important to think about your main keywords and your future business plans. If you plan on discontinuing a product or service then don’t put this in your domain name or you’ll still be getting requests for this service 5+ years down the line. Once you have this list, you can start to pair them or add prefixes & suffixes to create good domain ideas.
2) Stick to .com and .co.uk
It’s perfectly acceptable to use .net and .info for traffic but I’ve seen it a lot easier to rank higher with .com and .co.uk domain names. People still assume that .com and .co.uk is the only type of domain out there so don’t make the mistake of locking traffic to these folks. Remember you can’t use .org if you’re a profitable website as .org is none profit only.
3) No More than 3 Syllables Long
Keep it short, sweet and easy to roll off the tongue. Long domain names don’t rank well in Google either.
4) Avoid using the money keyword
Don’t keyword stuff your domain and avoid EMD’s (Exact match domains) with regards to keywords. For example, if you want to rank well for “used computers in London” don’t necessarily register “www.usedcomputersinlondon.co.uk”. Before 2008 this used to work a treat. But now, Panda algorithm updates incur penalties on exact match domain on the money keyword.
5) Avoid Hyphens If You Can
This always annoyed me. I tried to grab “www.lukesutton.co.uk” but a company already registered it a few years back and just sat on it, charging £500 as a premium domain. I believe in some Countries such as France it’s becoming common amongst start up companies fighting in court to obtain domains that are bought and held to ransom without using it officially. You’ll find a lot of the time you can’t get the domain you want. Stay creative and be original within the law without infringing copyright and you’ll be fine.