How to Create a Great Domain Name Part I

November 24, 2011 by  Filed under: Domain 

One of the keys to getting your web pages to rank well in Google’s organic searches is the domain name. A lot of people are under a misconception about domain names, however. This article is going to explore the correct way to choose a domain name.

Many Internet users think of choosing a domain name in the same way as they think of naming a business. When you name a business your only concern is how people (humans!) are going to respond to your name. Does the name reflect what the business is about? Is it appealing? Does it make people want to walk in the door, pick up the phone, mail in the coupon? Most importantly, is it memorable?

Choosing the domain name for a website has many of these same criteria, but the human side of things is way overshadowed by search engine optimization issues. If you don’t get the search engine optimization (SEO) part of your domain name right, you can forget worrying about what your real human visitors are going to think about it–there won’t be any!

That may sound harsh, but a lot of internet users still do not fully comprehend how most of us actually arrive at a site for the first time.

Very few sites are visited for the first time from someone actually typing the domain name (in the form of the URL) into the browser address window and hitting Enter. The exception to this maybe the results of email marketing–but we’ll leave that discussion for another day.

In order to pick a great domain name we have to address the search engines first, the human visitors second. To do this I use two free keyword research tools, Google’s external keyword research tool, and WordTracker’s free tool. You can find both of these by googling those terms.

Let’s suppose I’m creating a site about dog training. I take the above two tools and enter “dog training” into them. They both will return a list of keyword phrases related to dog training, along with some indication of how many searches each of these phrases gets per day.

I take those results and organize them into a hierarchy. I choose the top few results to use for my domain name. The others I organize in a two tiered system according to subject matter and number of searches each keyword phrase gets.

Finally, I name the site. This is discussed in Part II of this article.

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