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Never Underestimate the Importance of a Good Domain Name

The one decision you make when creating your website that will have the most long-term impact on generating site traffic is the selection of the domain name itself, says Jason Otis, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development for Axletree Media.

"You cannot underestimate the importance of narrowing down an effective name," Otis said. "Your website address should be displayed on almost everything you print - whether it's invoices, business cards, or even decals for truck vehicles. You'll also want to be able to tell someone over the phone how to access your website, which means you need an easy spelling. So think of how you'll be using your website address and choose something that makes sense for multiple purposes."

Now that the Internet is approaching the 100-million mark for domain names in use around the world, finding a non-duplicated selection could take some time.

In the old days, locally owned businesses were doing what they needed to do to avoid confusion when they steered clear of using company names similar to others in their region. Domain names are another matter entirely - because you'll sometimes find people vying for the same name from the tip of Maine to the tip of Florida and on to the coast of California and pretty much anywhere else in the world.

Still, you can't set up shop on the Web without one, so let the search begin. Keeping the following tips in mind will help.

Follow These 5 Tips When Choosing A Domain Name

1) Shoot For Something Brandable

Google values brands over just about anything else. You can see that they favor blogs and sites that have built a good name and brand for themselves especially is that the case in top e-commerce sites like Amazon.

Having a name that standouts as a brand can do a lot for you in the long run. Obviously, there is more to ranking in the SERPs than a simple URL, but picking a domain name that stands out will help build your brand, authority, and it makes it easier for people to recognize you and what you're about.

2) Opt For The .com Extension

As far as top tier domain extensions go, the .com extension is the way to go. People and search engines alike seem to trust sites with domains that end with this extension when compared to others. As that is the case, it is almost always best to pick a domain that ends with this.

There are some exceptions to this rule though. For example, if your site is going to be like a TV channel, then choosing an extension like may be a better choice for you.

If you're building a blog, business website, or e-commerce site, then be sure to opt for the .com extension. And as an added tip, buy the .net extension to help lock in your domain name and keep it out of the hands of others out there.

3) Keep It Short and Memorable

There are plenty of sites on the web that have managed to build a site and online business that are brandable and whose names are both short and easy to remember. Want some examples?

Here are a few to consider:
  • Yahoo
  • Apple
  • Moz
  • Amazon
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • Acura
That list could go on and on, but I think you get the idea. All of these sites represent well-established brands that also happen to have names that are memorable. Just take Moz as an example.

Moz focuses on content and products that help people learn and keep up to date with the latest in SEO, however, the name has nothing to do with SEO. But even though the name doesn't clearly state SEO as the topic of the site, the site has established itself as one of those go-to brands when it comes to learning SEO and it's super easy to remember.

Another example of creating something memorable is Pinterest. Pinterest took two words and ideas, mashed them together and create a name and brand is easy to remember and hard to forget.

Picking a short and memorable name is what can help you build a brand and building a brand is something that Google likes to reward.

4) Be Unique

Following the idea above, all the sites above have something in common: they're unique.

Uniqueness is something to always strive for. Google loves content that is unique, so why wouldn't she love a unique URL that is linked to a brand, blog or product? Heck, even your name as a domain name can be a good thing when you look at it from a uniqueness angle.

5) Avoid Hyphens

In the hopes of being unique and memorable, it can be tempting to buy a domain name that is catchy but that uses hyphens since the real name you want is already registered.

There are different schools of thoughts on this as well, but I am on the side that says that these domain names are ugly looking and really don't help lend to that authority many of us strive for.

The other downside to using hyphens is that they tend to actually not be unique. If someone else already uses and you register, then people who remember your name and type it into the search bar will more than likely forget the hyphen.

What does that do? It takes them to another site that has nothing to do with you. Yeah - bummer!

These tips are just a few to follow, but they're ones you should consider when picking out a domain name.
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