How to Find the Perfect Name for Your Website Business

January 10, 2008 - Written by Gyutae Park  

whats your nameIn Internet business and in search engine optimization, a name is everything and is absolutely crucial for online success. A name is what describes something and tells others what that something is all about. On the Internet, the name of a site or brand is especially relevant because important search engine optimization aspects are involved. For example, the name of the site is what most people use in anchor text when linking to the site. If you have good keywords in your name, your site will rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) for those keywords because of the increased link popularity.

Furthermore, site owners usually include the name of the site in their title tags, header tags, and body copy. This on-page optimization for targeted keywords will also help search rankings because search engines will have a better understanding of what the site is all about. Because of these benefits, it is imperative that the name of the site contains optimal keywords and is carefully chosen after much research and thought. Choose the right name and you’ll reap the benefits of increased organic search traffic as well as having a brand that people will remember.

Choose the perfect name for your site

The below is the procedure I use to find viable names for my online businesses. The brunt of the decisions will depend mostly on domain name availability so it’s important to have a set strategy. Read more to find out how you can choose the perfect name for your site.

Have an industry in mind
You need to pick an industry that the site is focused on. You don’t want to pick a topic that is too general, as you will otherwise be faced with fierce competition. Rather, pick a topic that is in a niche market and is narrowed down to something specific. For example, a site about men’s designer sunglasses is going to be much more manageable and targeted than a site about all sunglasses ever made.

Do your keyword research
Next, use keyword tools to find the relative search frequency of related keywords in the industry. Then focus your attention on the top keywords. Going back to the sunglasses example, the keyword ‘designer sunglasses’ receives 244 searches per day compared to 1,399 for ‘sunglasses’ according to Wordtracker. Knowing this, you definitely want to include ‘designer sunglasses’ in the name of the site or business. This will help you to target searches for long tail keywords related to ‘designer sunglasses’ as well as for the more generic keyword ‘sunglasses’.

Find a domain name
After making a list of important and profitable keywords, you want to reserve a domain name that is easy to remember, brand, and has SEO value. Try to keep it under 18 characters and 3 words if possible and avoid using more than 2 hyphens. I usually avoid hyphens altogether as they limit the branding potential of the domain. How would I tell a friend about winning-the-web.com in person? It would be much easier if I had the non-hyphenated version (which is why I own winningtheweb.com).

  • Try to get the domain name with just your main targeted keyword
    If possible, try to get a non-hypenated .com domain name with your main targeted keyword. For example, if you’re targeting ‘designer sunglasses’, designersunglasses.com would be optimal. However, finding such domains in competitive fields is nearly impossible these days.
  • Otherwise, think of a catchy name using alliteration, assonance, or rhyme
    If you can’t get the exact match domain, the next best thing is to be creative and come up with something catchy while incorporating some of your main keywords. Use alliteration and rhyme to help people remember the name. SassySunglasses, SunglassesFast, and SunglassesBlast are some examples of this strategy.
  • Or make up a name altogether and brand it
    If you don’t have any luck finding a domain with your keywords, you might want to consider coming up with a word yourself and branding it for your business. Google, Yahoo, Flickr, YouTube, and EBay are all megabrands that successfully used this strategy. Suggestions for the sunglasses example include SunnyGlasses, NoSola, Shaderoo, and Glassun. You get the idea.

I hope this article gives you some ideas for your website name, which is an extremely important component that is many times overlooked. A good name could potentially get your site over the top in search engine rankings and traffic. What names are you using and why did you choose them?

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Comments

13 Responses to “How to Find the Perfect Name for Your Website Business”

David Hong on January 10th, 2008

Creating a domain name is very difficult lately. I think if you come up with a great domain name you’re 25% complete with your business

 
Alan Johnson on January 10th, 2008

Sure, it’s not nearly as easy as it was when the Web was in its infancy but after some serious brainstorming, you are bound to come up with some great ideas :)

Alan Johnson

 
David Chew on January 10th, 2008

Choosing the right domain name for website business is important, anyway i will be giving a free review contest and entrecard credit, anyone who is interested can visit my blog http://celhub.blogspot.com

 
Gyutae Park on January 10th, 2008

@David Hong
Well I wouldn’t say 25% but a good name definitely facilitates everything.

@Alan Johnson
There’s always going to be good ideas out there. It’s just a matter of finding them.

@David Chew
Yes, very important. You should get a new domain for yourself.

 
Tevin Anderson on January 11th, 2008

If you’re making a niche site, sole for the purpose of SEO keywords, is there a downside to using a hyphen?

In your hypothetical, lets say I were trying to rank for “Designer Sunglasses”. And let’s assume that designersunglasses.com is not avialable but designer-sunglasses.com is.

Wouldn’t registering the latter be better for SEO than sunglassesblast.com?

I am not an SEO but am looking into building a network of keyword targeted niche blogs. And I have several hyphenated names in mind.

Now I understand from a type-in perspective you don’t want to use a hyphen for the same reason you don’t want a .info. Because people KNOW .com . And they don’t know to add hyphens.

-BUT-

If you’re strictly trying to rank for keywords, and this is your primary source of traffic, what’s the better option?

Thanks!

- Tevin

 
Nicholas James on January 11th, 2008

Another excellent post :) There are some good points mentioned in here about finding your perfect domain too.

 
Alan Johnson on January 11th, 2008

Tevin, if you’re interested in branding, I would suggest going for a domain without a hyphen. Sure, from a SEO perspective, having keywords in your URL helps (but it’s not nearly as important as it used to be) so that, if SEO is your main focus and the version without a hyphen is taken then why not, you can consider registering such a domain.

Alan Johnson

 
Gyutae Park on January 13th, 2008

@Tevin Anderson
Good points you bring up. However, it’s always a balance of SEO and branding. Of course if a domain name like ring-tones.com was available, I’d definitely bite on it even though the branding potential is low. The advantages of SEO far outweigh the “general rules of thumb”. However, with so many .com domains unavailable these days, those kinds of situations are rare. In the end, it’s all about providing value for human users. Search engines merely strive to follow where they go.

@Nicholas James
Thanks, hope it helps.

@Alan Johnson
I’m not a big fan of hyphens as they make the site look spammy and are extremely difficult to brand.

 
Life is Colourful on January 15th, 2008

Well, I really don’t agree with it 100%. Look at my website’s name and the topic. Still, I get good enough search engine ranking and traffic for my post pages.

 
fordy on February 23rd, 2008

I’ve developed http://www.domainnamesoup.com to find available domain names. I hope you find it useful. Any comments would be appreciated.

 
Jacques Snyman on October 16th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

The great domain name is definitely a key component towards assuring success. By itself it won’t do the trick though.

 
Salt Websites on February 10th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

@Tevin Anderson – yes this would be better for SEO purposes if you’re interested in ranking for designer sunglasses more than sunglasses blast (which is, umm, a reasonable assumption).

I always fear hyphens because I worry that when my new product takes over the world half the people that want to go to my site forget the hyphen and then some guy that was sitting on designersunglasses.com doing nothing with it (no doubt just a page containing that standard stupid page with the chick with the white shirt and backpack and a few links in green) suddenly puts up his own sunglasses site and thrives off my mistyped traffic. That would be horrible.

 
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