What type of domain name is best from a traffic and marketing point of view, and why?
The following answers are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’smost promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
1. One That’s Unique but Familiar
I’m a big fan of building brands so I go for unique yet familiar. Every business I’ve ever branded has been very unique, yet also very familiar — often playing off of existing well-known brands. LeadMD is not just a way to say we fix lead flow.
2. Ones That Evoke Emotion and Clarity
Stick with dot-com because that’s people’s default. VCs and business buyers value dot-coms more. your domain name is part of yourbusiness brand so it must be clear. But just stating what you do is boring. There’s no emotional energy. Evoke excitement or joy. Maybe you’re in an activist market where you want to incite outrage. Know your end goal, then brainstorm emotional dot-com names to achieve it.
3. An Exact-Match Domain
This is fairly obvious, though some would argue the best brand names are unique, not generic. The unrivaled benefit you have with an exact-match domain is the instant familiarity factor — immediate recognition by users as being authoritative.
4. Single Word Dot-Coms
You need a dot-com and ideally you’d need a single word dot-com. Our investment in staff.com has had fantastic returns in terms of branding and even search engine optimization. If you can’t afford a top-tier domain, make sure you get a dot-com. A lot of your traffic will come in directly and a dot-com is critical as it’s the first extension people will think of when they’re at their browser.
5. One You Can Own in Google Search
Choose a domain name that you can own in Google Search like “Shyp” versus “Shipping Startup.” Ranking “above the fold” in Google Search results is crucial from a traffic and marketing point of view.
6. A Keyword Domain
Always try to get your industry keyword as the domain (if you can afford it) or in the domain. From my experience the bizarre domain names that we all identify with web 2.0 are generally less successful. Although it is hard to argue with the success of Google, these stories are few and far between. You will always have better success with simplicity.
– Charles Moscoe, Earners Group
7. Something That’s Easy to Remember
While keyword domains are great, good ones are hard to find. Instead of using tons of hyphens or creating long domains, you should find something that’s easy to remember, hard to misspell and represents your brand. I always shy away from other TLDs because I think dot-com is still the one that most users type.
8. Your Company Name
Your domain name should match your company name as closely as possible. Since you’ll be using your company name everywhere, when people are searching for you it will be easy to find you under your name. If you can’t find an available dot-com domain that matches your company name, consider changing it or create a DBA (doing business as) using a different name.
9. Something Short and Brandable
Quick short names that are easy to remember if you tell somebody in passing. Don’t use anything quirky; just keep it simple. Stick to normal TLD’s, like dot-com if you can or if you have a semi-unique TLD then make sure that’s very obvious when you talk about it and brand it. And stop putting dashes in domains — nobody likes that.
10. One That’s Easy to Pronunce and Spell
If someone can’t say or spell your domain name, then they certainly aren’t going to be able to remember or share it either. There are of course lots of other requirements for finding the perfect domain, but these two basic rules are unchanging no matter what industry or target demographic.