From an outsiders point of view, a domain name can look like a rather small detail that is used in a much bigger picture but actually, the selection of a domain name can be key to your success online.
From a branding perspective and a marketing perspective, domain names hold significant value, value that is often overlooked in favour of convenience or simply getting things done quickly.
The vast majority of businesses out there today THINK they have an excellent domain but the question is, do they really?
Several factors play a key role in assessing the value of a domain name and if you've got just one of these, you're doing very well indeed.
Web experts have been arguing about the value of having an aged domain for a number of years now but after recent changes to Google's algorithm, that argument has been well and truly been put to bed.
Gone are the days where a brand new domain name can immediately blow older sites out of the water, in this day and age, years of web presence equates to trust and credibility and that means big business online.
New websites can of course still do well and there are plenty of ways you can attain a good level of trust and credibility quickly but if you already own a domain that's several years old then you already have the foundation to leave the competition scratching their heads.
Almost every business gets this part right but it's still worth mentioning just how important your domain name can be to your branding.
If your business is called “Manchester Accountants LTD” then you obviously want something relevant to that but what you also want in an ideal world is something that will immediately tell potential visitors what you do.
You want something that is memorable and easy to spell too as this makes life easier when you venture into all areas of marketing.
- SEO Benefits
If your accountancy firm is called “Numbercrunchers” (which would be a terrible name for an accountancy by the way) then a domain like NumberCrunchers.co.uk is all well and good in many aspects but doesn't really offer much marketing benefit.
NumberCrunchersAccountants.Co.Uk would offer some hidden value as the search engines can establish that they need to rank you for accountancy related terms.
Having related keywords in your domain name is a strategy that has lost some clout in recent years but tests have proven that domains that feature keywords are still being given more weight in a lot of cases and this is particularly true of Local SEO.
Ultimately SEO is a long term game that can't be won or lost on a small factor like domain name but there are several small things you can do to aid the process and this is one of them.
- .Com or Co.UK
Again, most businesses tend to stick to .Com or Co.UK extensions this is generally considered to be good practice.
There is no significant benefit from an SEO perspective like many claim but consumers certainly trust these two extensions more than they do the likes of .Org, .Net or dot whatever else.
It's simply a credibility thing and in the consumers mind, .Com or Co.UK means reputable company.
- Finally, 14 characters or less...
This is not a rule that is written in stone and there are thousands of exceptions to this rule but it's worth mentioning that the best domain names are considered to be ones with 14 characters or less.
That's not to say you can't create a good long domain and it's not to say that anything over 14 characters is going to bamboozle potential customers by its sheer length as that won't be the case.
Avoid hyphens if you can as they look unprofessional to many and numbers in the domain itself is another thing you'll want to avoid.