When it comes to buying a domain name, there are a few things you should consider. These have bigger implications down the road, where some initial planning can actually save a world of pain. Registering a domain these days is easy, and here are a few tips to make sure the decision is made in an informed manner.
While there are many factors that impact where your website shows up in search engines for any given phrase, domain names have a non-trivial contribution to the overall ranking for a given keyword. Take for example a search for ‘plumber Sydney’ on Google. Each of the first five results has plumber or plumbing in their domain, and two of them also have Sydney in their domain name. Having a name that is predisposed to good SEO is a great asset to have as it will drive organic and relevant traffic.
However, this doesn’t mean you should go out and stuff as many keywords into your domain name either. There is a point of diminishing return, as not only will search engines penalize you for this, but it also makes your website significantly harder to remember and link back to, ultimately costing you SEO rankings in terms of backlinks.
Another consideration you should take into account are the extensions of your domain name. Traditionally, there were only a few top-level domains (TLDs) that were available like .net and .org, but increasingly, new ones coming up. Would it make sense for you to consider some of these other ones that are relevant to your business? TLDs like .io are popular with technology companies or a city based one like .paris would be perfect for your local site.
You may also want to think about the availability of vanity names on social networks. If they are already taken, is there an easy alternative that still makes sense? After all, if someone searches for your company name on Google or Facebook, your company should show up, right?
How easy is it to transfer your domain?
There are some situations where you would want to transfer your domain. You may have found a buyer for your domain name, or you may want to run a web app on your site instead and have to change hosts. Most providers make it easy to transfer the domain, but it is best to check online for customer feedback on their experience.
The last thing you would want to look into is also if it is easy to get support from the provider, at the very least, they should have a library of self-help documents you can look up for common tasks, but note that there are companies that have 24 hour support (like us) available to help you along the way!