Your Domain Name Sucks: Tips for Next Time

by Joe Schaefer 3 Comments December 8, 2009

And then brave Perseus slew the evil Medusa. Upon decapitating her, Pegasus sprang from her body; his glorious form the result of Poseidon’s union with Medusa, known for turning those who look into her eyes into cold stone. Their beautiful, winged offspring would later be heroic in assisting Bellaraphon’s defeat of the blight known as Chimera. What a perfect name for a fictitious film company; Pegasus Films. It stands for beauty, bravery, strength and what a pretty little graphic we would have! Can you see it now? Oh yeah, someone already has a flying horse. That’s Tri-Star. Ahh well.

(and, more on myths later)

The point is, choosing the right name, for anything, is key. Take for example children. The Beach family might think it cute and endearing to name their daughter Sandy. While the McKrackens might make the mistake and name their child Philip. A child, your offspring, is a lot of things to you and yours. In one minute sense, your child is a symbol in the traditional sense. That symbol represents the love and beautiful union between his/her parents. The name that is bestowed upon said child should be well thought out and representative of something, not randomly picked due to its flavor of the week popularity or because so-and-so was singing at the moment of conception.

A business is much like a child. Sure you don’t have to change its diapers, but you do have to change the toner in the copier every once in a while. Messy.

In the sense that it starts small, you nurture it, it matures, grows and you protect it, it is much like a child. Why not name it something that people will not only remember, but give it a name that has meaning, is representative and one that is symbolic for what you do, what your product is or who you are. And better yet, why not give it the justice it deserves: something memorable, valuable and SEARCH FRIENDLY.

When it comes to a domain name, we’re talking Internet. When talking Internet, we’re usually talking traffic. You want traffic to your site right? Then why does your domain name have to suck?

It doesn’t.

That was rude of me to say, but this is my blog, you’re on my block, so deal with it. But, for those who are still sticking around, here is a short list of rules/guidelines I use at work:

> Client Initial Suggestions

Carefully consider the clients desires and needs. Utilize the domain or derivations thereof throughout the process. If the suggested domain passes the other steps, use it.

> Top Keywords

Brainstorm up to 10 of the best keywords that also meet the below criteria. Utilize prefixes and suffixes. These can be can be implemented for a valued domain name. A very good SEO tactic. A keyword-rich domain name can be used to your advantage over the competition when coupled with an SEO campaign.

> KISS it

Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS). Watch for difficult (or inadvertently misspelled) to remember and/or spelling and pronunciation. Word of mouth won’t translate to word-of-mouse very easily.

> Reject Confusing Domain Names

If a site has a similar name, you risk user confusion. Be unique but expressive. By skirting too close to similarity you risk misdirected traffic, elsewhere.

> Intent

Does your domain name express what the site actually does? This is not always the case and many popular sites will prove this rule wrong, but if you can express the site’s intent first and foremost, do so.

> Length Matters

Shorter names lend themselves to easy remembering, typing and sharing – all of which you want.

> A Rule/Guideline About Color

This one doesn’t always work, but a combination of two words where one is a color is one of the best ways to help people remember a name or a concept. Try it.

> The Hyphens and Number No-No

Hyphens and number spellings (or lack thereof of spelling out a number) can lead to misdirected traffic, a poor remember factor. Avoid it.

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MYTH #1: A keyword-rich domain name will rank my site well, immediately

MYTH #2: An easy to remember domain name will send throngs of traffic

MYTH #3: A great domain name will sell my crappy products

Have a domain name myth? Comment about it here and let’s get some conversation going. What are you waiting for? TYPE!

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