Are you currently on the hunt for that perfect new domain for your startup? Do you feel the stress setting in, wondering why all of it even matters? Whether you’re launching a business for the very first time, or you happen to be a serial entrepreneur crafting a new brand, this step doesn’t get much easier—the thought process to pick a name is relatively the same. There are factors that matter when purchasing a new domain name, and some that look like they should but can end up getting in the way. Here we’ll break down what actually matters when you buy a domain for a new business.
TRUTH: .com names are generally the most accepted among web users.
If your preferred domain name is available across many of the “standard” TLD’s (e.g. .com, .net, .biz, or .info), you should try to grab your-preferred-name.com or a very-close-variant.com that you can live with. Domains ending in .biz or .info are often perceived to be spam sites, so even if your site is 100% legit, you risk creating sour first impressions on website visitors. Note this advice is for perception only and the benefits end there.
FALSE: New, or less common TLD’s, like .agency or .guru negatively impact SERPs.
Though .com often appears the most “legit” among web users, this TLD is very, very old. Most of the good names are already snatched up by other businesses or squatters to be resold at “premium” prices. It’s only a matter of time before registering a .com domain that fits your brand becomes impractical or impossible.
Many new top-level-domains have been added in recent years, allowing greater creativity and new possibilities when choosing a domain name. Google has weighed in on how they treat the new generic TLD’s, with the main takeaway being they won’t help nor hurt your rankings.
TRUTH: Having the perfect domain name will make virtually zero impact to your bottom line.
When putting together a new brand, it’s all too easy to get caught up in the perceived necessities, like the perfect name, logo, and business cards. While these things are nice, they are, quite simply put, expenses—they won’t earn you a dime (at least at first). Do not allow unnecessary obstacles to crop up before your launch. Starting a new business can definitely be a little nerve-wracking because no one wants to fail. With that in mind, your business has already failed if you never even launch. You can always go back and buy a prettier logo later if you need.
TRUTH: Country code TLD’s (e.g. .uk for United Kingdom & .sg for Singapore) are considered more relevant in their regions.
Top-level-domains based off country codes will definitely possess an edge over gTLD’s in their respective region. Your website’s page relevance must still be a good match against search queries for any edge to matter.
Pro Tip: Be careful not to accidentally snag up a gTLD if you’re hoping for the geo-targeting benefits of a ccTLD. Some gTLD’s appear like ccTLD’s (e.g. .london & .nyc) but don’t actually possess any regional edge.
FALSE: Don’t buy the .io TLD for your technology business because it’s actually a ccTLD.
Though .io TLD is in fact a ccTLD belonging to the British Indian Ocean Territory region, Google treats this top-level domain as a ‘gccTLD’ to prevent unwanted geo-targeting. This is great news for tech-focused companies, given its resemblance to ‘I/O’ and its already common use throughout the IT industry.
FALSE: Using a “keyword stuffed” domain will significantly help your website’s SERPs.
In recent years search engines have become very good at judging a site’s relevance as well as smelling any B.S. they come across. The hyper-improved accuracy is due in no small part to AI/machine learning. If the recent advancements on the web from learning algorithms are worth basing predictions off of, search engines are going to become even smarter over the next few years. Owning a relevant, optimized site at your-brand-carpets.com should easily shutdown a crappy competitor at carpet-cleaning-service-city-state.com. Try focusing on running the most relevant & useful website you can for your targeted keywords & your visitors.
Have we missed anything? Have you found evidence that contradicts any of the above info about domains? Please leave a comment and tell us!