Choosing a Top-Level Domain

Your website’s domain name is an important factor in establishing a user base and ranking well in search. Choosing your website’s domain is just like choosing the right location for your business. It needs to fit your needs, allow your customers to find it, and be affordable to purchase and maintain. In this post we will cover some things to think about when choosing your websites domain.

Make it Memorable and Keep it Simple

When choosing your domain you will have to make a choice between branded and exact match domains. While it would seem logical that an exact match domain containing target keywords would perform better in SERPs, depending on the term, this space could be overly competitive. With a branded term you may potentially lose some positioning in SERPs, but you can offer something easy for users to type and remember. Due to recent changes to Google’s search algorithm, exact match domains seem to have a decreased value in search rankings, essentially evening the playing field between branded or keyword domains.

Domain Extensions

Choosing the right top-level domain extension is hugely important step that is often overlooked. You should try and choose the correct extension that fits your website’s goal. In most cases going with a generic top-level domain such as .com is a safe bet as it is internationally recognized and the most commonly used. The .com extension represents “commercial” and is intended for commercial businesses, just as .org is short for “organization,” and used by non-profit organizations, and so on. There are also Regional and Generic extensions for targeting a geographic locations as well. Review the list of domain extensions for more information and choose the one that fits your needs.

Maintaining Your Domain

Once you have decided on your domain and extension, it is important to make sure that it is registered and set up properly. Often times after purchasing a domain people forget to make sure to keep it registered. Just like not paying the lease for a brick and mortar business, you may find that the keys have been changed. Make sure that when you register your domain it is with contact information that will be accessible for the life of the site. Letting a domain name lapse can cause extended periods of down time, or worse the loss of the domain altogether.

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