There’s more to registering a good domain name than just getting your company name. In fact your company name might not be the best choice for your website address. There are several things that you should consider for your new domain name.
A Good Domain Name is Memorable
Your domain name should be easy to remember. If it’s too long, an unusual word or even a made up word, it could also be easily forgotten! Remember that a good domain name might also be used in other marketing from radio advertising to print media.
K.I.D. – Keywords in Domain
A domain containing keywords can make life easier when it comes to improving your search engine rankings. Search engines like Google rank websites in part based on the domain name itself. Links back to your website will also contain the domain name keywords that will enhance your rankings for that search. Another nice touch is that keywords in the domain name also tend to make it more memorable, easier to spell and more relevant to a potential customer.
Domain Name Spelling
This is a basic point that so many businesses don’t consider when registering a good domain name. Ask yourself… will a potential client be able to spell it? Not everyone is a walking dictionary, so a clever, obscure word might sound really cool but not much use if no one can remember how to spell it! Would it be easy to spell if you heard it on the radio? If your company uses radio advertising, hyphens in a domain name would be a disaster. Keep it simple and consider spelling variations.
Register a top-level domain name
In New Zealand, top level domain names (.nz) have only become available from late 2014. Previous to this, the suffix considered locally to be a TLD was .co.nz, which is technically a second-tier domain. Because of this, it is preferable to register your domain in both .nz and .co.nz versions. Sometimes when the name you want isn’t available, it’s tempting to register a less recognised 2nd tier domain name such as .net.nz, .kiwi or one of the many others now available. These domains are considered by some to rank lower than top level domains and can also work against you. A potential client can mistakenly go to your competition’s website if they hold the NZ top level domain name you wanted!
Avoid using sub domains
Occasionally, you’ll see a website using a sub domain (eg; subdomain.domain.co.nz) but search engines treat sub-domains differently to the domain, so this can interfere with your search engine optimisation. For instance, if you wanted to add pages that were translated into German, you would be better to put them in yourdomain.nz/de/ than de.yourdomain.nz/. Google consider a sub-domain to be an entirely different website, so you will find yourself in the position of trying to rank multiple websites rather than just one.
Should you register multiple domain names?
We have registered multiple domain names for Energise Web primarily to try and protect our brand. You can also register domains that you would prefer your competitors not to get their hands on. Note that you could be walking into a legal minefield if you try to register a domain name containing another company’s brand or trademark. This is referred to as cybersquatting.
Realistically, it’s not practical to register every possible version of your domain name without spending a lot of money. Some people think that extra domain names with keywords in them will improve website rank but this isn’t necessarily true. If the extra domain names have no history, there is no SEO advantage. However, if they do have a history, this could be useful or it could be a disaster. There are many domain names that become available every month because the domain has been “tainted” by poor quality SEO that crashed the rank of the website previously using the domain name. It’s always a good idea to check if the domain name you want has a past that you don’t want to be associated with.
Choose a canonical domain
Every web page on your website has to have a canonical URL. This is the web page address that is considered to be the main address of that page. Your website needs to be set up with a canonical domain and any other domain names that you use should have a 301 redirect to that domain. For instance…
- energise.co.nz is the domain name that we use for our canonical URLs.
- www.energise.co.nz is the canonical URL for our home page
- You can also access our website using www.energize.co.nz (with a Z) but it 301 redirects to www.energise.co.nz (with an S).
- All pages on our website use www.energise.co.nz as part of the URL, no matter what domain name you use to access them.
The canonical domain name is also the address that you want Google to identify as the domain associated with your website. If you don’t specify one, Google will choose one and itt might not be the one you want it to be.
Use your noggin
Registering a good domain name is mostly common sense. Think about it from your clients’ point of view. Keep it simple and remember that you may want to use your new domain name for years to come. Energise Web can register domain names on your behalf, set up your email accounts and host your website. Contact us for a web design quote today!