Domain names

What domain name should I choose?

Where do I start …here are some guidelines to help you decide.

The Top Level Domain

First the TDL – TOP LEVEL DOMAIN. .com, .com.au, .nl,. net, .org, .me etc.

If your business is targeting New Zealand it should be .co.nz. If it’s Ireland it should be .ie. If you are an Irish business targeting Ireland and the UK if would be best to have two web sites, one with .co.uk and with with .ie. Both those sites must have different content or search engines will treat them as one and only list one. And of course if it’s international it should be .com (if there are any left!).

In short, choose the TLD for the market you are targeting.

It will also be preferred by search engines if you do this.

Choosing a name

The name should ideally be your business name. Now search engines love if the domain contains keywords related to your content, and of course so do people because they are more likely to click a link related to their search.

For example, if your business is called Smiths and you are targeting businesses in South Africa, then you could call the domain smiths.co.za. However it is good to include keywords for search engines too. So if your business sold car parts then you should choose smithscarparts.co.za. You get the idea. Just keep it short, because people will still have to type it in.

And please do not use hyphens!

e.g. smiths-car-parts.co.za It only leads to confusion and typos. Finally, do not use the word AT in your domain because it could sound like an email address.

Multiple Domain Names

Some clients by multiple domains which is fine as long as it is done for the right reason. Here are some reasons:

  • To stop competitors buying similar domains // right reason
  • To point those domains to their main domain and hope for increased traffic // wrong reason. It won’t work. Search engines only index sites with content, and only unique sites at that.
  • To create several smaller web sites in an attempt to direct traffic towards their main site // wrong reason. It takes time and effort to create these sites which is taking away productivity from you main site. Unless they are genuine micro sites then you would be better off spending time creating content for your main domain.

Domain Aliases

www is an alias and a marketing gimmick thought up years ago to promote the ‘World Wide Web’. So everyone started calling their web sites www.this.com, www.that.com etc. You don’t technically need it. You could simply call it this.com and that.com. It will work fine. However you could also set up areas within your main domain with names like blog.this.com or sales.that.com. It’s a personal thing because www.this.com/blog would work just as well.

Closing Thoughts

A domain name does not make a business, but it can certainly help if it’s well chosen

Use your domain to promote your business in the same way as you would promote your company name. Make it relevant, short and memorable if you can.