Many business owners fail to recognize the importance of domains on every level, and fail to grasp some basic concepts of domains that should never be overlooked. Truth is, there are so many intricate details and thoughts that should be considered that the depth of this post would be pages, therefore, I will limit the discussion to what I feel are the top 3 considerations I feel business owners need to make.
Domains as property
First, you should look at domains like real-property, and the analogy I make is domains=land, or real estate. I think it is important to make this connection, because most underestimate the current and future potential value of silly, trivial web-components until they make mistakes with them (damage, loss, misuse etc.) The most common failure is simply failing to develop your property – never building, or expanding – the failure to develop prime real-estate.
As any realtor will tell you, only three things are important in real estate – location, location, location. While the same is generally true with domains, location is a bit different in concept. The most valuable domains are typically the smaller ones – 3 letters. Unfortunately, those domains are already taken. Like property in Manhattan or Tokyo, these properties are pricey(think millions). Now, as you go down the price scale, you go UP the letter count, and into the obfuscated, forgettable categories of domain names.
Shorter is better
When it comes to domains, in general, shorter is better. The exception is slightly longer “memorable” name
My suggestion, choose the shortest domain possible, that is easy to remember, and more importantly easy to type without error. Always try to stay away from the vanity impulse – the self-expression in naming. ABC.com, NBC.com, etc are all good examples of short domains. They will always belong to those entities until their demise. Other non-proprietary domains will only increase in value. The best example – SEX.com, sold for $13 million….. 4 years ago. It is easy for brains to hold 3 letters. EASY. When you start going beyond 5 letters, you lose the ability to recall, after all we are only human. So once the supply of 5-6 letter domains has evaporated, we need to choose domains wisely. So how do we do that?s. This a very hard distinction make, but it is important to understand how the human mind works, to effect an impact on traffic, and revenue. To make this point clear, I will use some examples.
http://best-bananas.com/ is far more valuable than http://johnsbananacompanysince1997.com/
It is shorter, easier to remember, to type, and you will be rewarded with inherent search value most importantly.
Do no harm
This may sound like a no-brainer, but many owners fail to realize how easy it is to damage a domain by inadvertent activity. Many times, aggressive marketing, SEO campaigns and the like can actually damage your domain. Anytime you buy links, or forumlate any sketchy, grey or black SEO techniques, you can garner negative attention from search engines, and be negatively affected, and even de-listed from the index. This is the equivalent of dropping poison or radiation onto your property – turning your domain into a web-brownfield. Very bad. Sometime, undoing the damage from SEO or bad search marketing can be more expensive than simply starting over. Sometimes starting over is the best idea. Do not poison your property with blackhat techniques. Be careful who you hire and research your marketers carefully.
Most of the time, we see a few issues with search, and lack of placement in SERPS (search results). The most common cause if total lack of effort, and therefore thought about search and rankings. Many people call and ask for help, they know they need it, but up until this point they have never done anything positive about creating better rankings. So the first step is admitting you have a problem, and the easiest way to notice you have a problem is to search for your category, and probably your locality. An example would be searching for plumbers (if that is your business) in the areas you want to get calls from – “plumbers Pittsburgh, Pa” – typing in this phrase in Google will show you where you are in relation to your competitors who HAVE put thought and effort into marketing their sites.
Sometimes the required effort can be very little, while other times, in very competitive markets, the effort may require weeks of thought and effort. Even if you are the only game in town, you need to at least have a good presence, and be easy to find, so your customers don’t look in the next town over.
This is a question businesses have been asking themselves for several years now – “Do I really need a Yellow Page ad?”. Not too long ago, Yellow Pages made the difference between success and failure, and sometimes big successes were had simply by large ads on the “right” pages. Many things have changed in the last few years. The biggest change is the way consumers shop for products and services. In fact, according to Forbes, consumers report using the internet first (80% of the time) when they need a new product or service, and printed Yellow Pages only second or third (about 50% of the time.) These are striking numbers if you can recall the time when the ONLY resource we had as consumers was the phonebook. The article goes on to point out that certain industries may need to continue running ads the old-fashioned way (especially if it is working) and the phone book should be simply supplemented by web and other methods. But for the rest of us, Yellow Pages simply DO NOT WORK anymore, and for the price you are paying to advertise, you could invest your budget in something that continues to pay off year after year, for a small fraction of the price YP ads still run.
The easiest, most consistent strategy, and the one that works for everyone, is creating, good, relevant content. If you create a 5-page website for your appliance repair business, you should make sure that each page has as much relevant content as possible on those 5 pages. Relevant content is the single most important factor for organic search ranking that any local business can focus on. If you focus on other strategies before you focus on what is actually ON your website, you may wind up losing any benefit from external activity. Google, Yahoo, and Bing are very interested in making sure that it’s customers (search users) find EXACTLY what they are looking for when they click a search link. So it is in the search giant’s best interest to determine what is actually on each page on the wb, and help GUIDE users to the correct place. This reason is why you will hear the phrase – “content is king”- because it is. It is the best place to start, so you can have a strategy based on content when you move externally. Always start your marketing effort with the soul of your online-identity – your content.