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The Domain Name

When a website is first designed, the URL, or address, or domain name, is something that must be decided and that choice cannot be easily un-done once its complete. Most often, the business owner picks something without even bothering to consult a professional.

The outcome of this is that the owner picks his company name as his domain name. If you think about it, this is a poor choice. The only people who are going to find you in search are those who already know your name. Lets explore this idea a little more.

Pretend you have an Italian restaurant in a tourism town. You bought the name http://www.francescosristoranteitaliano.com because that’s the name of the restaurant. You have no idea how hard it is for me to contain myself every time this happens. Seriously? Francescos Ristorante Italiano .com? Just how many people do you think are going to search that?

While each case is different, the owner normally does this by himself, without the help of a professional (obviously). The owner often says he has looked through all the available options and settled on the best. Of course, more than a bit of ego gets wrapped up in these things and the owner will be loth to admit this was a dumb idea (the boss never says that).

This was huge marketing mistake. Now I have been to this Williamsburg, VA restaurant several times and it’s very good.

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Here is how a professional would approach the same problem: first, we want to name the website after a key phrase (called a keyword) that tourists are searching for. For our hapless Italian restaurant, that may be something like williamsburg restaurant .com. If you have traveled to Williamsburg and you are searching for a restaurant, what are you going to type into search?

Not only that, we will know how many people search on each key phrase each day and how many visitors the number one position can expect for any given search.

We then take that information and look at the competition for that key phrase (keywords). In each case, we look at Domain Authority, Trust Flow, Citation Flow, and backlink profile for the current number one site.

The idea here is to find a domain name/Keyword combination we can use to get the top spot (SERP) without spending a pile of money. So, its a numbers game between number of visitors vs. competition. Keywords with a lot of searches and little competition will become the website name.

From the above, you may conclude that I am against buying your company name .com. Nothing could be further from the truth! These domain names are twelve or fifteen dollars a year. Even if no website is ever set-up on these domains, it’s far more professional to have an email end with @yourname.com than @hotmail.com. If nothing else, use these domain names for email.

Buying your company name is also a wise defensive move. Can you imagine Francesco’s shock to discover that another Italian restaurant in town bought his name and put their website up?

There are a couple of other factors we will briefly cover. One of those is the fact that most of us have been out of school for a long time. The average American speaks and writes at an eighth grade level. Do not name your website a college level name.

Perhaps throwing in “don’t use ethnic names like Francescos Ristorante Italiano” is a good idea. Can every english speaker spell Ristorante?

Another point of rage is the domain name which seem stretch on for twenty words. Yesterday, a client with a four word domain name said that was a terrible name. Not only was it the business name, it was the name he thought of himself. His office manager told him it was his stupid idea.

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Here is an example of a long name: A unit of the US National Park Service is named The Claude Moore Colonial Farm at Turkey Run. The people running the place were smart enough to understand that that name was too long to work, so they came up with and purchased www.cmcfatr.org.

The year the Colonial Farm portrays is 1771. Now, that is short, easy to remember and even tells a little about the place. www.1771.org was recommended and accepted. While our professional website was long-ago replaced by a volunteer effort, the domain name and graphic package continues to serve them well.

The majority of .com domains are now controlled by cyber-squarers. An example is the site you are on right now. www.tourismmarketing.com is available for fifty-five thousand USD. Its controlled by a company that buys and sells domain names. The domain name www.tourismmarketing.tips was just a couple of dollars. The search engines do not penalize the new top level domains (that’s the .com or .net part of the name). So a .com and a .guru are the same in Google’s eyes. If we are lucky, millions of the older domain names may become available again.

Don’t be afraid to look through these new top level domains (TLDs) to find a short, easy to remember name. If that key phrase is searched often, the trade-off is well worth it. At this time, research is showing these new names are being embraced by the public.

Yes, we will help you with this research if you want.

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