Choosing Your Domain
Continuing our series on creating The Perfect Website, we are moving forward and are coming to three further considerations you will need to make decisions on: Choosing your domain (name), which platform to make use of and where to host your website. In this post we will look at the importance of choosing your domain.
The domain name. It’s the URL – the ‘what comes after the www.’
This instantly leads to the question of having your own domain or using the domains of publicly accessible hosters like WordPress.com or something similar.
In my view there’s no doubt about that you want to have your OWN domain. No doubt and it doesn’t matter really what your website will be about.
By having your own domain you are ultimately in complete (or close to it) control of what you can do with it.
Also by having your own domain you can possibly get a unique or well descriptive name of your choice. I say possibly for it seems often difficult to get the domain names you want, because someone as smart of you already thought of the same domain name and now has it (let alone all the domains that seem to be purchased just for the sake of selling them back at a hefty premium).
Not only does a URL become even longer than might otherwise be the case, but you also typically run into limitations as to what you can do on your domain. There might be a cool solution with what’s called a plugin that you may not be allowed to use on a domain like WordPress.com or similar.
I also feel like it’s somewhat unprofessional to host anywhere else but on your own domain. In addition to getting your own domain, you also get the ability to establish email accounts with your own domain too.
Just like we have firstname.lastname@example.org – it just looks better than a email@example.com or something along those lines. It makes you look more established and more like a real place of business. In other words it may even help you look more legitimate and trustworthy.
My views are not to mock these sites where you can get free hosting like WordPress.com and similar, for in fact I think it’s awesome that they even make it available and they are in fact very good sites and platforms. So if you absolutely didn’t have any money to make good for, then a website on such a platform would probably help you along fine and better than no website at all.
But in truth, having your own domain is a very small investment (a URl is typically less than $12 a year at time of writing this and sometimes you may even find better offers than that). A hosting can be anywhere from about $4 to $20 a month for decent and reliable service providers and then of course the price can go up depending on what more demands you might place with them or as you grow your needs.
OK, so so far, get your own domain!
Like I said, getting your own domain can be a challenge in terms of getting the URL you would really want. But play around with it and you may find something that is very useful and that makes sense for your website and your business.
I would have liked a more generic www.amazingideas.com rather than a www.amazingideasinc.com, but www.amazingideas.com was taken (actually at this point in time it looks like one of those domains that are just parked waiting to be sold at a premium, and quite frankly, it doesn’t mean enough for me to buy it at a premium – some are within a decent budget, while others are extremely expensive).
But if say your business has a very unique name, perhaps even one, that doesn’t mean anything, but just has a cool sound, you may be in luck that it’s available for you.
You may, however wish to look for something that’s descriptive of what it is you are selling. Taking this a step further and you could add your location too.
I’m currently based and located in Castle Rock, CO, so if I was a plumber, I might want to see if www.castlerockplumbing.com or www.castlerockplumber.com would be available or something to that effect.
If you can get a domain name that is descriptive for what it is that you are selling, it could even help you get a decent search engine ranking too, just because your domain name would fit with the search terms used. Search engines such as Google give high ranking for a domain with plumbing in its name when someone is searching for something that includes the word “plumbing”.
In addition, by including your local geographics into the domain name and you may achieve an increasingly good ranking for local searches for your area of profession. Going back to the example of www.castlerockplumbing.com and you are even likely to get a page 1 on Google’s search results, when someone types in the words ‘Castle Rock Plumbing’.
You might even get the number one spot on page one for such a search with such a domain name. Presumably this is due to the fact that Google gives high ranking for domain names that include the words people are searching for, and my take on that is, that Google expects that someone who has the domain www.casterockplumbing.com must be an authoritative figure for plumbing in Castle Rock. Makes sense too, doesn’t it?
If you followed our series that we called Marketing Castle Rock, in which we looked at how we could obtain a very high ranking with Google’s search search results for the words of ‘Marketing Castle Rock’. Before we began that series we had done absolutely no work in order for us to be ranked for these words and that also showed in the search results. In fact, you would have to dive into the search results and go all the way back to page 21 to find any mentioning of us.
Well, we did some work and it really helped. In one day, we managed to actually get page 1 listing. This particular listing was our Google Places spot and this is indeed a listing that can be extremely powerful. If you do not already have a spot here, you definitely will want to explore getting that. If you need help getting that, it would be our pleasure and honor to help you accomplish it. You may, however, wish to revisit the Marketing Castle Rock series to learn why you cannot obtain your Google Places results in one day unless you already have registered your business with Google though.
However, I was aiming to get a spot that would be our website, so either our website in general or a link towards an article that is on our website and well, that proved more tricky.
While we have not exhausted our options and possibilities yet, it took a few days to get us to page 2 of the results and we still invariably hold a position there. Invariably, for these things change all the time depending on your own activities and those of the ones who end up competing for the spots (knowingly or not).
In the series you would know also, that I mentioned the absolute first spot was occupied by a company that actually seems to auction cattle. Not very relevant really in comparison to our Marketing Agency and our efforts to be ranked for possibilities of such under Castle Rock, but seeing that this cattle auction business actually call themselves Castle Rock Marketing then we end up competing with them. More importantly and especially in terms of this post here, their website is www.castlerockmarketing.com
Google search results are the outcomes of an algorithm and while we can only guess at what goes into the decision makings of this algorithm, it seems apparent and seems to be agreed upon in general, that Google (and other search engines) like updated and relevant content and thus that websites that provide this will be favored.
Well, the cattle auctioning website seems to be producing very little of this and also seems to have little if any activity. Yet it ranks on the number one spot. Why?
Because, the keywords I’m aiming at actually make up its URL. In other words the relative importance of your keywords being part of your URL is emphasized and illustrated well by this example.
In other words, you may wish to see if you can find a domain that could fit into such criteria for your business. Having a cool website is awesome, but if no one finds it, it does little good for you or your business.
I hope that this post has given you food for thought on how you should choose your domain and the importance of said domain name for your chances of getting a good ranking that will help your business get found online.
Please let us hear about your success in your efforts and let us know how it goes for you. as I said, it can seem very difficult to obtain the domain you most want, but often with a little ingenuity and playing around with words, you can get something that will serve your business really well. Good luck in your hunt for your perfect domain.
In the next post we will look at which technical platform to use for your website. Don’t worry, I won’t go into too many technicalities in that post, but merely end at a conclusion of what I would suggest for you and state why those would be my suggestions. I hope to see you again when that post comes up later today or tomorrow (I suspect) and I encourage you to sign up for following along this series on The Perfect Website, by signing up using the box below.