Why you need to choose the right domain name (and how to do it)

Want to give your online marketing a boost (and increase clicks on your website)? Find out why choosing the right domain name is essential.

If you want to visit a website but don’t know the exact URL, what do you do? The chances are, your first port of call is a search engine. Indeed, a whopping 93% of all online experiences begin with one.

But this doesn’t mean to say you should ignore the importance of choosing the right domain name. While potential customers may not be typing in an exact address every time they want to visit your site, the wrong domain name choice could still have an adverse impact on your marketing success.

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Domain names can increases click-through rates

According to a study published by Memorable Domains, “ads featuring a generic domain name with an exact match to the product (such as electricbicycles.co.uk) performed significantly better than identical ads featuring an alternative generic (such as yourbikes.co.uk) or non-generic (such as inahurry.co.uk) domain.”

This is supported by another study How Generic Domain Names Impact a SEM Campaign by RootOrange. Ads with the display URL divorcelawyer.com achieved a 298% higher click-through rate than ads with the display URL vladimirlaw.com.

Although these studies refer to advertising, the impact of a relevant keyword domain will no doubt be the same for organic search engines results. And by increasing your click-through rate, you will achieve more website traffic and better sales figures too.

Building your brand identity

The right domain names don’t just have the potential to noticeably improve your click-through rates. According to Spencer Yao, owner of online resource Small Business Domain, a ‘brandable’ URL can be even more influential.

“Your brand is important, and your domain name is the foundation upon which your online brand will be built,” he says. “Your domain name is how users will find, remember, share and identify your company online.

In both social media and search engines, the domain name is the primary way by which users can identify where the link will lead.”

Yao goes on to add that while some marketers think search engine performance is dependent on keywords and links, Google will reward brands for their strong online presence as well.

“Brands are the solution, not the problem,” agrees Google CEO Eric Schmidt. “Brands are how you sort out the cesspool. Brand affinity is clearly hard-wired. It is so fundamental to human existence that it’s not going away.”

How to choose the right domain name

So how do you choose the right domain name? Here are some things you need to consider:

  • Relevancy – conduct some research into the meanings and connotations of any keywords you want to use.
  • Catchy – there is little to no point in choosing a keyword-rich domain name if your target audience cannot remember it.
  • Simple – the top 100,000 websites, on average, have just nine characters in their domain names. So keep things clear and concise, with words that are easy to spell.
  • Uniqueness – stand out from an increasingly congested online crowd by picking a distinctive domain name.
  • Extension – even though 75% of all websites have a .com extension, you can now choose domain names that are specific to your organisation or location, such as .uk and .technology.

By Patrick Vernon.