Choosing a Domain Name

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Choices, choices...

The choice of domain name appears simple. Our practical experience shows it is anything but.

Ideally, you want a domain name that is:

  • descriptive of your business
  • easy to remember
  • as short as possible

You need to keep Search Engine Optimization in mind as well.

The biggest issue may be that your desired domain name is already registered by someone else. This implies that this third party could be actively using the domain, or has it parked. If it is parked, you may be able to acquire the domain name. Forget obtaining such a domain for the registration price. Chances are, so,meone registered the domain to make a profit. Domain are an actively traded commodity. Someone else has something you desire. Usually it is just a question of the price.

 

Some experience

A South African business registered the domain name epicure.co.za, co.za being the most common South African domain ending. The client was happy, as he had managed to get the exact domain name he wanted. Marketing activities and search engine optimization started immediately. After a few years, the owner of the business considered expanding internationally. He quickly realized that a South Africa domain name would not be helpful, or even counterproductive. This realization came after years of marketing the business with a South African domain.

The client did not know that .club domains even exist. Our team then managed to acquire the domain epicure.club for the client. This domain name is short, has no nationality and describes the business even better. An added benefit is that anyone curious, who has seen the logo on a shirt or a vehicle, will immediately find the website when they enter the name into a search engine. You could achieve something similar with a QR code, but simplicity is king.

The Impact

Creating new email addresses, making changes on the website, putting 301 redirects in place and informing Google of the change of address only took a few days. After waiting for weeks for the web traffic to stabilize to the new domain, the real pain began: Getting backlinks changed.

Writing an email to or calling the owner of every website that has a backlink to the old site is a serious pain in the ass. Excuse our language, but we have spent immeasurable time and phone charges on what appears to be a simple task. It is a necessity, but not something that we would call creative & productive work. Some owners or webmasters never react to these update requests. At the time of writing this blog, the client has more than 70 backlinks still pointing to the old domain name. You would think that the webmasters of these sites would check their sites for 301 errors, but it is clear that many don't. This domain renaming project will therefore be with us for a long time.

Our Recommendation

Getting the right name takes skill. Think long and hard before committing to a domain name. Changing afterwards will be a time consuming and costly exercise, unless you are willing to start completely over. Contact us if you would like to discuss your options.