Domains – Why You Should Care!

Ive been seriously slack at the blogpost writing lately.sorry girls for the delay in this postno excuses, Ill kick myself up the backside =)

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

Choosing a brand whats the competition?
If you are building a brand, you obviously need the brand name as a domain, thats essential. But if you have the opportunity to get involved in the branding process from the start its 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 biggy 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!! Im 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 dont sodding buy it. And whatever you do dont JUST buy the .com. Get the .net .org and if you are a UK business buy as well. Although .info and .biz wont 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 dont do a Flickr
Having a unique domain that is easy to remember is very important but dont make it so freakin unique that people cant 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 Im not saying buy 100 different domains, but it cant hurt to buy a few extra descriptive domains and 301 redirect them. Especially if your brand name is not descriptive of your business, now dont 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 Im sure Ill 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 its two separate words, BUT dont have more than two hyphens, thats just ridiculous.

Old domains 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 Im 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 better three more than traffic lost
Heck, I dont know where I was going with that heading (its past midnight it doesnt need to make sense). Basically, its 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