As an online marketing instructor with WOW! Women on Writing, I get students who are just starting out. Just beginning their marketing journey. And, they don’t know the very basics of an effective website.
I’m sure most of you on my subscriber list already know this stuff, but if there’s a chance someone doesn’t, I want to reach out to that person.
Okay, the very first thing to do, when you’re first thinking about creating your own website or having one created for you, is get a domain name.
The domain name is your online address.
Think of your home address. The domain name, which will be turned into a URL, is your online home address.
For example, my content writing site is Article Writing Doctor – that’s the domain name.
When I was thinking of creating the site, I plugged that name into the search box at Bluehost.com (I’m an affiliate), with a .com location, to confirm the name was available. It was, so I grabbed it.
Bluehost turned the name I chose into a URL to be used when I set up my site:
The Key Elements of a Domain Name
1. You want your domain name to be reflective of what your site is about.
Still using my Article Writing Doctor site, the reason I chose that name is because it’s highly relevant to my site’s niche.
My site ‘Writers on the Move’ – the same thing.
If your site is about cooking, you’ll want a domain name that reflects that. If I had a cooking site, I might use something like Cooking with Karen. Or, maybe zoom in closer on the niche, Karen Cooks Italian or Italian Cooking with Karen
Make it as specific and keyword effective as possible. The reason I added “with Karen” is because “Cooking” and “Italian Cooking” are very popular keywords. Chances are the domain name wouldn’t be available.
2. You want it to be keyword optimized.
The keywords for the domain name Article Writing Doctor are: article / article writing / writing.
I also have an inactive health site:
Health Tips to a Healthier You
The keywords: health / health tips / healthier you.
Using Writers on the Move, the keyword is “writers.”
3. Keep it short and clear.
Keep your domain name short and to the point. This is best for both readers and search engines.
For example, Health Tips to a Healthier You is kind of long. I could have shortened to Health Tips Healthier You.
Readers don’t want to write long URLs.
Moz.com says, “If a domain name requires considerable attention to type correctly, due to spelling, length or the use of un-memorable words or sounds, you’ve lost a good portion of your branding and marketing value.”
4. Think unique.
Try to make your name unique. This may be difficult as there are millions and millions of websites out there – you may not find the domain name you initially want available.
Try again. Make a list of around 5-10 names, possibly using variations. Find one that works and that’s available to use.
5. Choose the most popular ‘ending’ if possible.
There are a number of name extensions or endings for URLs: .com / .net / .org, and so on.
You might think of the URL endings as the same as using Street / Avenue / Drive / Road, and so on. Your home address might be:
123 Smith Street
123 Smith Avenue
123 Smith Drive
Get the idea?
Marketing pros all say to get a .com, including Moz.
Moz actually says it’s “critical” to use a .com is you’re serious about building your brand and driving traffic.
Again, this may mean tweaking your domain name because of all the ones already taken. But, do your best. Worse comes to worse, you may have to use another ending. But, give it your best shot.
I’ve been able to tweak my names to find ones available with the .com.
Summing It Up
So, there you have it, five of the basic elements of creating an optimized domain name. If you’re getting ready to take the website plunge, use these tips to create an optimized domain name.