Getting a good domain name for your website is extremely important and isn't always as easy as you might think.
So you've built your website and you're ready to register a domain name for it. Well slow down a minute and consider some of the following information before grabbing the first domain name that comes to mind. The domain name or names (that's right, you can use more than 1) is just as important as how your website looks and what information is on it when it comes to getting people to see what you have to offer.
The domain name is your website's address on the internet. It's what most visitors and potential customers will use to get to your site. Many people think that their official company name should be their domain name. We think so too. However, that only gets people to your site who already know that your company exists and what its name is. One of the biggest benefits of having a website is the exposure it can give you to potential new customers all around the world at little or no added cost. That can occur by your site getting listed well in the search engines (more on this topic later), but it can also occur by having a descriptive domain name setup with your website.
Here's an example. A home improvement construction company builds a website to showcase their work, help service their existing customers, and to acquire new customers within their established service area. Their speciality is remodeling bathrooms. Their company name is Schneider Home Improvements, so they check to see if schneiderhomeimprovements.com is available. It is and they register it and set it up with their new website. However, that domain name alone isn't going to allow their site to accomplish all the goals that they set out to acheive with it.
The domain will help them service their existing customers, at least the ones who know how to spell the name correctly. But what are the chances that somebody who does not already know about them will type that long, hard to spell domain into their browser address bar at random?
In cases like this example, we would recommend getting multiple domain names for the site. The one with the full company name, one with an abbreviation of the company name (such as shi.com - the shorter the better), any commonly mispelled versions of the company name (such as schniderhomeimprovement.com), and at least one short and descriptive domain related to the work that they do. For example, since they specialize in remodeling bathrooms a good descriptive domain would be bathroombuilder.com or bathroomcompany.com.
All of those domains would be connected directly to the home page of the website. They cover all the bases that make it easy for their existing customers to find their site and the descriptive domain makes it possible for them to easily acquire new customers who randomly type in the domain for the type of contractor they are looking for. In fact, with a descriptive domain that good, the website could get so many visitors from outside the company's regular service area that it could open up a whole new revenue stream in referring customers to other contractors outside their service area.
Applying all of the information above to the selection process of domain names would enable any website to be very productive without even getting any visitors from the search engines. However, the descriptive domain name or names can also help in getting the site well listed in the search engines if the right domain name is registered for an extended period of time.
No website automatically gets into the search engines. The website has to be submitted to them for consideration and then each search engine decides on it's own if, when, where, and how to list a site. There are many factors that each search engine uses to determine those things. Some of those factors you have direct control over, such as the content on your site, the title tags of your site pages, keywords used, etc. (more info about this is available in your account). One of those factors is commonly believed to be how long the domain name is registered for.
At least one search engine (Google) has openly acknowledged in a recent U.S. Patent Office filing that it considers the registration term of the domain name connected to a website in its algorithms that determine how the website gets listed in their search results. What that means is that if 2 websites are both targeting the same search keywords and one has a domain name that is registered for 1 year and the other has a domain that is registered for 10 years then the one with the 10 year domain registration would get a better listing assuming all other considered factors are equal. It makes sense that a search engine would do that because a website that has a 10 year domain shows that the owner has made a stronger commitment to it then somebody who might be only testing the waters for just 1 year and then disappear.
So in conclusion, take some time and apply all of the above examples to your own situation before registering your domain name. Your official company name may not be the single best choice to get the most benefit out of your site. Consider abbreviated versions of the company name and common misspellings if the name is long. And without a doubt, always try to get a descriptive domain name that is as short as possible that people might randomly use when looking for the type of service or product that you offer. This is very important - ONLY SUBMIT 1 DOMAIN NAME TO THE SEARCH ENGINES! We recommend submitting only the descriptive domain because it will most likely include a keyword that is also included in the content of your site, which helps in getting listed higher. Submitting multiple domains could hurt your chances of getting listed at all. The search engines don't need to know about all your domains to effectively list your site. They only need 1. If your site does get listed then it will show up in search results for your company name by default because your company name appears in the content of your site and it isn't something alot of other companies will be actively trying to get listed for against you.