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The How-To: Choosing A Website Domain Name For Your Business Choosing a domain is one of the single most important decisions you will have to make when creating a website.

By Mark Hirst

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Choosing a domain is one of the single most important decisions you will have to make when creating a website. While most realize its importance, very few understand the true significance it can have on a business' marketing, branding and overall success. Here's a look at what you should consider when choosing a domain for your enterprise.

1. Make it memorable

Choosing a memorable name is important, to ensure that people can easily recall your domain and visit your website. A good test to apply is the "radio test," which is to ask yourself: "If a potential customer hears a radio advertisement that mentions my domain name, are they likely to be to be able to find my site?" Listed below are a few tips on making this happen:

  • Keep it short (if you can) Shorter domains can be recalled more easily.
  • Avoid using numbers Numbers can be confusing because they aren't as easily remembered, and it's not clear whether the number should be written out as a digit (7) or with letters (seven).
  • Avoid using hyphens Hyphens are difficult to communicate verbally, and difficult to remember. If another business or brand has the unhyphenated domain, you could leak traffic to it when people forget to include the hyphen when searching for your site.
  • Avoid using homophones Homophones are words that sound the same phonetically but are spelt differently such as die, and dye, or thyme and time.

2. Consider using an exact match domain

An exact match domain (EMD) is a domain name that exactly matches the searched keyword phrase of a user. For example, if a user searches for "credit cards" in Google, then an exact match domain for this query would be creditcards.com. The advantages of using an EMD are as follows:

  • SEO benefits Exact match domains carry advantages when it comes to SEO (ranking in Google), because Google takes into account the keywords used within the domain.
  • Trust and conversion benefits It can also help your website to gain almost instant trust and authority. Consider creditcard.com vs. brandnamecreditcard.com: users are psychologically more likely to find the former more credible, because people to tend to believe that the best companies own EMDs. This can often translate into higher conversion rates, and increased revenue.
  • PPC benefits When it comes to paying for clicks in the sponsored section at the top of the Google search results (known as PPC, or pay per click), using an EMD can increase your click-through rate, which helps to lower your cost per click. Over time, this can add up to a substantial saving depending on the search volume and average cost per clicks.

If you're considering using an exact match domain, try to choose one that doesn't limit you. For example, using cinematickets.com could limit your business from selling other types of tickets. Choose one that will still be relevant when your business grows and expands. Also, choose a short EMD, as much of the benefits of an EMD are lost if you're using a long domain such as reallycheapcreditcards.com.

Most .com EMDs have already been registered, and buying them from the registered owner can cost a pretty penny. However, country level EMDs particularly in the Middle East are often unregistered, and even if they are, they can be purchased for a fraction of the price of a .com.

3. Consider the countries you want to target

This is an important consideration when choosing a domain name that often gets overlooked. From an SEO point of view, Google takes into account the domain extension that your site uses as a signal to where your business is located and the area it serves.

If you are predominantly targeting one country, use a country code top-level domain such as .ae for UAE, .qa for Qatar, etc. You could use a global generic top level domain name such as a .com, and sign up to Google Search Console and tick which country you'd like to target within the international settings.

If you want to target multiple countries or a global audience, then you should avoid using a country level domain name, as this could restrict your site from ranking for Google searches in other countries.

Related: Staying On Top Of Trends: Local SEO And Your Business

Mark Hirst

Founder and CEO, Blue Beetle

Mark Hirst is the founder and CEO of Blue Beetle, a full-service digital agency based in Dubai.

Hirst started Blue Beetle in early 2004, after having worked for a number of years in the UK and the Netherlands on various international multimedia projects. Within its 12 years of operation, Blue Beetle has grown into a comprehensive and integrated digital agency with prominent clients across all major industry sectors, including leading brands in hospitality, retail, F&B, technology, and property development/real estate.

As founder and CEO, Hirst is responsible for providing the vision, overall leadership and strategic management for Blue Beetle, as well as in ensuring the quality of the services provided. Hirst holds a BA in Industrial Design from Loughborough University in the UK. When he is not working, Hirst can be seen spending quality time with his friends and family, exercising and playing sports and exploring the great outdoors.

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