Domain Names

Choosing a domain name

A domain name is your website address to the online world (e.g. www.modernants.com). Choosing a domain name is one of the biggest decisions you have to make with regards to your online business. Here are some tips on how to pick one that will work for you.

Note, in most cases it is appropriate to buy multiple domain names and point them to one place (e.g. modernants.net and .org all point to my .com site) but here I will discuss how to choose your ‘primary’ domain name, that is, the one you use for your website and emails.

What words to choose
There are two starting points when choosing a domain; you can base the name on your company name—or you can pick a generic domain name that encompasses your main SEO keywords (the phrase people would enter into Google to find your site).

If it’s a company name it’s quite straight forward. However, you can gain some SEO advantage if you go for a domain name that has your main search engines keywords in it.

For example, if my company was called Alec Garfield Warehouse I could go for alecgarfieldwarehouse.com. But Alec Garfield Warehouse actually sells yoga mats. No one online has really heard of Alec Garfield Warehouse but lots of people (in my make–believe world anyway) are wanting yoga mats so I could choose yogamatswarehouse.com.

They both have their pros and cons. My company name is unlikely to change so perhaps alecgarfieldwarehouse.com will age better—but won’t get that head start on the search engines. On the other hand, yogamatswarehouse.com will be a quicker success on Google but what happens if the market no longer wants to buy yoga mats? Then you are left with a rather useless domain name—and changing your domain name further down the line is not easy to do, without losing some of your search engine rankings.

As the owner of your business, the choice is yours to make.

Choose a memorable domain name
Make sure your domain name is easy to remember. You never know when you might get the opportunity to plug yourself at a time when you don’t have a business card to hand. The more memorable the domain name is, the more likely that individual is to look at your site when they get home.

Choose a domain name that isn’t too long
Similarly, it’s better to keep your domain name as short as possible for the same reasons as above. A longer domain name is not only harder to remember but is more likely to be misspelled.

.net, .com…or something else?
There are certain generic domain name types such as .com, .org and .net; however, there is a strong chance that your choice is not available as someone else owns it. If you must have your top choice, then .net or .net will suffice. Otherwise, .com is the most familiar and typical choice.

What if someone else has the domain name you want?
Unless you have any kind of legal right to the domain name (e.g. if they’re passing themselves off as your company) your only way to get the domain name off them is to contact the company and make them an offer.

If you can’t do that you’ll have to think of alternatives. You can try adding hyphens to separate the words and/or try alternate wording.

If you need help on how to choose a domain name get in touch with Modern Ants, I’m happy to guide you along.

The benefits of multiple domain names

In the grand scheme of things domain names are incredibly cheap. If you need a domain name don’t be so financially shortsighted as to hold out buying it for such a small amount of money; you may regret it further down the line. In most cases, it is appropriate to have more than one domain name and point them all to the same site. Why? Well, here are the benefits of buying multiple domain names for the same website.

Different versions of the same name
My primary domain name is modernants.com. Yet if you key in modernants.net or modernants.org (the main generic domain name types) you’ll be sent to modernants.com. Why is that beneficial? People may have heard of Modern Ants but not visited the site before. Most people will Google the company name and find me at the top. However, some people will key the domain name straight into the address bar. Additionally, it further establishes your online presence for that name.

Stop anyone else from using it
Most importantly though, buying domain names (even if you don’t use them) prevents anyone else from using them. If you don’t snap up all the other versions of your domain name it could be very easy for someone else to buy them. If they do, this could spell two unpleasant scenarios for you.

Firstly, the could use the domain name and start ‘passing themselves off’ as your company. Legally, they probably don’t have the right to do this but do you really want to go through the headache of taking legal action against them?

Secondly, they can just leave the domain name pointing to nothing—something legally they can do if they want to—and charge you an exorbitant amount of money to buy it from them.

Preempt misspellings
If your domain name contains a word that is often misspelled it pays to buy the misspelled variants too. For example, ‘guarantee’ is one of the hundred most commonly misspelled words. If my domain name was themodernantsguarantee.com I would also buy the domain themodernantsguarentee.com (note the misspelling on the latter domain name).

Never skimp on domain names. They cost very little but add huge value to your online presence. If someone else gets a domain name you want it is nigh impossible to get it off them—unless you’re will to pay through the nose for it. Plan ahead and buy as many as you think you need.

If you need help on how to choose a domain name get in touch with Modern Ants, I’m happy to guide you along.