How to Choose Brand Vs Keywords for Your Domain Name?

January 24, 2012 by  Filed under: Domain 

A lot of people ask me this when starting a new website, and I usually give them the same answer: Go with keywords. There are many reasons for this, which I’ll get to in a minute, but first let’s have a look at the case for using a catchy brand name as your domain.

There are plenty of websites that use a phrase or name that isn’t a common English word, and they are wildly popular. But they’re popular because they’ve spent millions of dollars on above-the-line advertising to associate that phrase or word they’ve made up with their business activity. A classic example is is a microlender – one of the first to gain a real foothold on the internet. You’d never naturally associate the meaningless word “Wonga” with borrowing money, which is why Wonga has spent so much money on catchy jingles, expensive TV ads, content network banners, etc. Personally I think they could have got a lot more bang for their buck by calling their business “QuickCash” or something – but they didn’t ask me for some reason.

The Benefits of Using Keywords as Your Domain Name

You’re more than welcome to come up with some catchy word and use this as your domain – it’ll be a lot easier to find an available domain in any case. But ask yourself whether you have the marketing budget to get your catchy name associated with your business activity. If you don’t, then don’t bother. Find a domain that includes one of your primary keywords, however, and you can enjoy the following benefits:

1. Obvious SEO advantages – If you were selling used cars, for example, and you were lucky enough to get the domain, you wouldn’t have to do much on or off site SEO to get the top spot for the keyword “used cars”. You’d have to do some work if the competition was fierce, but you’d have a much easier time of it than your competitors. If you bought this domain in the early 90s, you probably own an island by now.

2. Instant brand association – if a website is called, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what that website’s main business activity is. This means you can focus your marketing budget on other things besides brand association, which is what a lot of companies spend a lot of money on.

3. Valuable internet real estate – if the time ever comes when you don’t want to run your website any more, or if you buy the domain and never have time to do anything with it, you still have something that’s worth a bit of money. If you have an aged website with traffic, you can sell it for thousands of dollars. If you just have a domain you can still often unload it for a couple hundred and wash your hands of it. You could even make a few bucks from AdSense from Domains.

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