Learn how to choose the right web address for your new site with our SEO-focused tips. Boost your online presence and attract more visitors to your website.
In today’s digital age, having a strong online presence is crucial for businesses and individuals alike. And a key component of that online presence is having a good web address or domain name. But with so many domain names already taken, choosing the right one can be a challenge.
A good web address should be easy to remember, easy to spell, and reflective of your brand or business. It should also be free of trademark infringement and other pitfalls.
Let’s dive into the important factors to consider when choosing a web address, as well as the pitfalls to avoid.
We will also provide practical tips and advice to help you finalize your web address and get your website up and running.
How to choose a domain name
A domain name is the unique web address that identifies a website on the Internet.
Understanding the different parts of a domain name and choosing the right domain name extension are crucial steps in creating a successful online presence.
Some important details to consider:
What is a domain name?
A domain name is the address that you type into your web browser’s address bar to visit a website. It consists of a name and an extension, separated by a dot (e.g., example.com). The name identifies the website, while the extension specifies the domain type or purpose.
The different parts of a domain name
A domain name is made up of several parts, including:
- Protocol: the protocol that is used to access the website (e.g., http:// or https://)
- Subdomain: a subcategory of the main domain name that can be used to organize the website (e.g., blog.example.com)
- Second-Level Domain (SLD): the primary identifier of a website (e.g., in seodavantage.com, “seoadvantage” is the SLD)
- Top-Level Domain (TLD): the extension that indicates the domain’s purpose or type (e.g., .com, .org, .edu)
How to choose a domain name extension
Most business owners opt for “.com”. Nowadays, there are so many options to choose from including .io, .tv, .law, etc.
Some common TLDs include:
- .com: the most popular TLD, usually used for commercial websites.
- .org: typically used for non-profit organizations.
- .edu: used for educational institutions.
- .net: originally intended for network organizations, but now used for a variety of purposes.
Other TLD options include country-specific TLDs, such as .uk or .ca, and new TLDs, such as .xyz or .tech. Consider the nature of your website and your target audience when choosing a TLD.
Tips for choosing a good web address
There are several things to consider when selecting a web address. Also called a URL or domain name, your web address should meet these following criteria.
Think branding: Keep it short and memorable
Short and memorable web addresses are more likely to be remembered by users and shared with others. This includes the order of the words as well as the words themselves. (Was that davis roberts or robert davis…?)
Aim for a web address that is easy to remember, easy to type, and easy to share.
Make it easy to spell and pronounce
Choose a web address that is easy to spell and pronounce. Avoid words that people commonly have trouble spelling. It’ll save you misery when you’re trying to give your URL over the phone and help avoid typos in any press coverage you get, too.
Incorporate relevant keywords (if you can)
Include relevant keywords in your web address, if you can.
However, avoid stuffing your web address with too many keywords, as this can be seen as spammy and hurt your ranking.
Quick SEO Tips
When it comes to choosing a domain name, think branding. While using keywords in your domain name used to be a popular strategy (20 years ago!), it’s now best to keep things simple and use your brand name as your domain.
If you can add one relevant keyword, that’s great, but it’s not a deal breaker. Don’t get caught up in the trap of keyword-stuffed domain names, instead focus on creating a memorable and recognizable brand.
Daily reminder: if someone wants to sell you a domain stuffed with keywords, best to walk away.
Keep the domain name brief
What’s a good length? Well, that depends. Don’t sacrifice the other criteria just to have a short URL – your initials, for example, are not going to carry a lot of benefit unless your business is very famous (GM.com, for example).
Don’t make your web address so long and full of keywords that people will confuse the order or leave out words if they’re trying to enter it directly.
Consider that it should also look good on your business cards, brochures and other marketing materials.
Avoid hyphens and numbers
Hyphens and numbers can make a web address look unprofessional and difficult to remember. Avoid using them if possible. If you must use a hyphen, limit it to one and place it in a logical position.
Avoid trademark infringement
This is a HUGE factor. Before choosing a web address, research existing trademarks to ensure that you are not infringing on someone else’s intellectual property.
Using a trademarked name or phrase in your web address can lead to legal issues and harm your brand’s reputation.
When you find a good brand, spend some $$ to trademark it. Then spend a little bit more to buy different top TLDs with the same second level domain name. Save yourself potential headaches down the road.
Choose a name that reflects your brand or business
Your web address should reflect your brand or business. Choose a name that is relevant to your industry or niche, and that accurately represents your brand.
Research and testing
Once you have come up with some potential web addresses, it is important to conduct research and testing to ensure that the web address is available, unique, and does not have any unintended meanings.
Here are some steps to follow:
Check for availability
Before finalizing your web address, check to see if it is available for registration. You can use a domain registrar such as GoDaddy or Namecheap to search for available web addresses.
Keep in mind that popular web addresses may already be taken, so be prepared to come up with alternative options.
Check for social media availability
In addition to checking for web address availability, it is important to check for availability on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Ideally, you want your web address to be the same as your social media handles to make it easier for users to find and follow your brand or business.
Test for uniqueness
Once you have identified some potential web addresses, it is important to test for uniqueness.
Conduct a Google search to see if there are any other websites or businesses with similar names or web addresses. You want to avoid confusion with other businesses or websites, so choose a web address that is distinct and unique.
Check for unintended meanings
Finally, it is important to check for unintended meanings or interpretations of your web address. The last thing you want is for your web address to be misinterpreted or offensive to potential visitors. Before finalizing your web address, ask others for feedback to ensure that it is clear and does not have any unintended connotations.
Finalizing your web address
Once you have decided on a good web address, it’s time to finalize it and get your website up and running. Here are some important steps to take:
Register your domain name
Register your domain name to claim ownership of it. There are several domain registrars that offer domain registration services, and you can choose the one that suits your needs and budget.
Setting up your domain name with your website
After you have registered your domain name, you need to set it up with your website. This involves linking your domain name with your hosting service, and configuring your domain name settings to point to your website.
Keeping your web address secure
It’s important to keep your web address secure to protect your website from unauthorized access and cyber threats. You can do this by using SSL certificates, which encrypt data transmitted between your website and users’ browsers, and by regularly updating your website’s software and plugins.
Don’t let the perfect domain name hold you back from starting
While it’s important to choose a good web address, don’t let the search for the perfect domain name hold you back from starting your website. Remember that you can always change your domain name later if necessary.
The .com TLD and purchasing the .com version of your domain name
The .com top-level domain (TLD) is the most popular and widely recognized TLD. If possible, it’s recommended to purchase the .com version of your domain name, as it’s often the first TLD that people think of when typing a web address.
What to consider while choosing the web address
Branding. Branding. Branding.
You can also purchase multiple domain names that you think people may try to type in to find you and then point them all at your main address. This is not an SEO tip. Has nothing to do with it. Don’t go out and start a scam buying hundreds of domains and point to your site please. That would be a waste of your time and money.
Tips from our former Editor Extraordinaire, Lance Buchanan
Get impressions from a few people before you settle on your web address. You never know what a set of new eyes can pick up that you might have missed.
We wouldn’t have these hilarious URLs to poke fun at if the owners had done that:
- Experts Exchange: www.expertsexchange.com
- IP Anywhere: www.ipanywhere.com
- Speed of Art: www.speedofart.com
You get the idea! ?
Pitfalls to avoid
- Using numbers or dashes: Using numbers or dashes in your web address can make it harder for users to remember your website. It can also make your web address look unprofessional and can lead to confusion.
- Using funny spellings or misspellings: While it may seem like a good idea to use a unique spelling of a word or phrase, it can actually hurt your website in the long run. Users may have a hard time finding your website or may be unsure of how to spell your web address.
- Using brand names and trademarks of other companies: Just don’t do it.
Choosing a good web address is a crucial step in establishing an online presence for your business or personal brand.
A memorable and relevant domain name not only helps potential visitors find your website easily but also builds trust and credibility with your audience.
By understanding what domain names are, following tips for choosing a good web address, conducting thorough research and testing, and avoiding common pitfalls, you can ensure that your web address represents your brand or business effectively and attracts the right audience to your website.
So take the time to choose a great web address that makes yourself stand out!
We congratulate you if you finally found the perfect domain name. Now it’s time to take the next step and build a website that truly represents your brand.
At SEO Advantage, we have the expertise and experience to help you create a website that not only looks great, but also performs well in search engines. We’ll be happy to guide you through the search marketing process and avoid the hype and scams.