Domains – Why You Should Care!

Iíve been seriously slack at the blogpost writing latelyÖ.sorry girls for the delay in this postÖno excuses, Iíll kick myself up the backside =)

For the last couple of weeks I seem to have been haunted with questions about domains, and itís really getting to me how little people think this through. Itís quiet a few things to consider when choosing a domain, here are some tips and ďrulesĒ (my rules, you donít need to follow them but you would be stupid not toÖ)

Choosing a brand Ė whatís the competition?
If you are building a brand, you obviously need the brand name as a domain, thatís essential. But if you have the opportunity to get involved in the branding process from the start itís imperative to check whether any other companies have the same brand name, as well as whether the domain is available. Basically if there are loads of companies with the same name you are going to have to compete to appear in the search engines for your own brand name. Now this might not seem like a ďbiggyĒ but it really can be, even if they are not even slightly the same type of business as yours. I have recently been doing SEO for a client that has trouble ranking for their brand name and the companies they are competing against in the SERPs literally have hundreds of thousands of incoming links, ouch!! Iím pretty sure I can safely say that everyone wants to at least rank for their own bleeding company name. So considering analysing the SERPs for competition BEFORE would be a freakin great idea.

Get the freakin .com for god sake
Ok when you are choosing a domain, if the .com is not available donít sodding buy it. And whatever you do donít JUST buy the .com. Get the .net .org and if you are a UK business buy as well. Although .info and .biz wonít you get any traffic they might be worth picking up as well. I also have it from a very good source that .tv domains are going to blow up in the next year and will be great for any social networking sites.

Get a unique domain, but donít do a Flickr
Having a unique domain that is easy to remember is very important but donít make it so freakin unique that people canít type it. And if you do insist in being all hip with the kids and you want to buy make sure you buy the logical, properly spelt domain as well. Now why the heck does Flickr not own

Get some descriptive domains and 301 them
Obviously Iím not saying buy 100 different domains, but it canít hurt to buy a few extra descriptive domains and 301 redirect them. Especially if your brand name is not descriptive of your business, now donít just buy some random descriptive domains but put some thought into it. Do some keyword research and find out which keywords are the most descriptive and would attract the most traffic. Now Iím sure Iíll have loads of people disagreeing with me on this one, saying that keywords in the domain is not beneficial. My comment: Rubbish!!! Having your primary keywords in your domain can help you rank. I would also recommend using hyphens if you want to use two keywords in the domain as hyphens tells the search engines that itís two separate words, BUT donít have more than two hyphens, thatís just ridiculous.

Old domains Ė a pot of gold
If you can get hold of a previously owned domain for a cheap buck, maybe even a descriptive old domain (ok now Iím feeling high!!), then do it! Obviously you will have to do some background checking first and make sure you are not buying some old porn site as that could have some seriously bad history with the search engines and do more harm than good. But that should be a given, do your research if you are buying a previously owned domain.

Lastly Ė better three more than traffic lost
Heck, I donít know where I was going with that heading (itís past midnight it doesnít need to make sense). Basically, itís better to buy a few too many domains and own every version that you possibly can (if you can afford it) then just to buy the .com and and then discover some wanker bought the .net and .biz and is stealing your traffic.

Happy domain hunting!!

Other blogposts about domains:
Rand Fishkins tips on domains
14th Colony on how to choose a breakthrough domain
Search Engine Land on best practise coroporate domain management

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12 Responses to “Domains – Why You Should Care!”

  1. Julie Joyce says:

    I don’t mind kicking you up your backside by the way…

    Great point here: Get a unique domain, but donít do a Flickr. I HATE it when someone does something cutesy like this. Kind of like with Str0ud…

  2. ha ha, oh yeah Str0ud is a bit of a flickr, do you have the domian as well? oops…

  3. g1smd says:

    Heck. I have been nagging several businesses to buy the .com version of their domain before one of their competitors does, for what seems like ages.

    I think I’ll point them all to your post, and if they still don’t get it, I’ll buy the buggers up myself and then fill ‘em all with Adsense or something.

  4. Julie Joyce says:

    ha! NO. Damn it. It was unavailable.

  5. Light & Dark says:

    Just in the middle of fighting the domain battle at work, so this post is giving me some extra ammunition.

    But here’s my question, because I keep looking for a definitive answer and nobody’s been specific:

    We own multiple “supporting (descriptive) domains” for our primary. We want to redirect them to our primary domain. You’re saying 301 redirect them? How exactly? I know how to do the 301 via .htaccess, but there isn’t one for those ‘extra’ domains.

    So do I need to set up another basic hosting account for one of the ‘support’ domains, point all the ‘support’ domains to it through my registrars, then use the 301 redirect on that basic host to point all the ‘support’ domains to the real location? Or (just thought of this) does domain pointing from a registrar actually function as a 301 redir?

    Did I even come close to asking that coherently?


  6. Paul:

    You can actually solve this using the same code that fixes canonicalisation issues (non-www to www).

    This code will 301 redirect any URL that doesn’t use the domain
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^ [NC]
    RewriteRule ^(.*)$$1 [L,R=301]

    Now you can just add all of your domains as Server Aliases (“Parked Domains” in CPanel). If you edit your httpd.conf file directly, you can add them using:

    If someone requests or now, it will 301 to



  7. Thanks Rob, you are such a great SEO dude =)

  8. Anita says:

    Hahaha – I was soo close to pulling a Flickr myself when I was first considering what my site should be called.

    You make a v.good point though Lisa. People that plan on succeeding online, should plan on a special domain/brand name picking session.

    It should be a big consideration in every business, because it’s so important and it impacts so many different parts of how you handle your online presence.

    One thing I wanted to point out is that what you choose to call your business, should be dictated by the nature of that business. Do you want to build a big brand? Do you want to just setup a site for a project that will bring you $10,000, but later on it will die out? Are you planning on being associated with your site forever (in which case you use your name or part of it in the URL you register)?

    Think well and from all angles, before you choose what to register – as Lisa says – do your homework, before you get all excited about a business name that may never catch on.

  9. YM Ousley says:

    crap, does this mean my website isn’t going to succeed?

  10. Sam says:

    What is your thought about .FM domain? Just like the famous “”, is it worth it?

  11. funny says:

    Oh wait. Yes, I have. I’m sorry, but I just don’t have it in me right now to type it all out again. Besides, it was just ramblings anyway. You didn’t want to hear me go on and on about this, right?

  12. Really insightful post on domains, as a designer i’m currently in the process of learning about and dealing with domains. Again keywords seem to be the foundation, when doing research for buying a new domain name. Do you have any tips for transferring domains, as this can be a tricky topic?

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