Choosing your website address (or addresses) is one of your most important business decisions when it comes to your online branding.
Your website address, or URL, is a vital virtual internet asset that can improve a client or potential client’s access and ability to access your website and brand. This includes both improving the memorability of your brand as well as bettering your SEO.
Choosing your URL
First let’s try to understand some of the many acronyms and initializations related to website addresses:
A URL, or “universal resource locator”, is the name used for your actual website address. Whatever someone would type in to get access to your website.
This address normally starts with ‘http://’ and ‘www.’ and normally ends with a 2 to 3 letter ending like ‘.com’, ‘.net’, or ‘.org’. This ending normally refers to either the type of organization that the website is for or for where the organization that owns the website is located. For instance, .com stands for commerce, where as ‘.us’ stands for United States.
We generally suggest getting the URL ending ‘.com’ if you can. This is because humans are creatures of habit. Many times, people will automatically type ‘.com’ after whatever address that they’re trying to travel to. This is even if you’re an organization that could benefit from a ‘.org’ designation. You can always point both website addresses to the same website, eliminating the chance for someone to mistakenly go to the wrong website.
When you register a url you’ll see a small charge for what’s called a ICANN fee. ICANN is an organization that produces the series of numbers which will be associated with the name that you choose. A URL, you see, isn’t actually the real address to your website. A URL is just a word ‘shortcut’ that helps people better remember how to get to your website.
Your websites real address, which is called an IP address, is something like 220.127.116.11 (Google’s IP Address). Can you imagine having to remember one of these for each of your favorite sites?
Although there’s no real meaning to knowing it, you can find your website’s IP Address on Network-Tools.com. Network Tools is an awesome resource for you to find out everything that you would like to know about an address. From knowing who owns it to where the organization is located.
Alright, so you want a URL. Well, first is thinking up a name.
The simple solution is the name of your company or organization. But is that the only URL to purchase? If you want some quality SEO, no.
It’s always a good idea to purchase a couple of URLs. Your main URL and some other URLs that are more centered on what people would search for in relation to your product or service.
For instance, if you were a fish & chips restaurant based in New York called ‘A Salt and Battery’ (real place with awesome food), here are some URLs that you’d probably want:
- Essentially, you want the URLs related to your company and what the target market that you’re trying to hit would search for.
If you’re a bit stuck trying to figure your name out, you can utilize Panabee or Dotomater. They’re both wonderful tools at helping you pinpoint the best name for the website that will be the internet base for your company or organization.
Finding Your URL and Whether or Not it’s Taken
Now you have an idea or concept for what your URLs should be. But how should you look up if they’re available? The first thing not to do is to search for them on any old domain registrar, unless you’re ready to purchase them that instant.
Many Domain Registrars perform the unethical practice of looking at their users search results and buying up those domains of interest. That way, the next day when you ARE ready to buy, they can resell the domain to you for 5 to 6 times the price.
The best practice is to use a service like Network-Tools.com to check who owns the domain that you think may be a winner.
Purchasing Your URL
Url’s are relatively inexpensive but will need to be renewed once a year or when ever you have set it up to renew. I always recommend that you buy it for at least two years because google considers it more relevant if you do. You’re considered less likely to be a fly-by-night company.
As for actually purchasing, there are an unlimited selection of domain registrars to buy from. It’s really just a matter of preference.
So far, the cheapest place to buy one is through Godaddy.com. The only down side is that they try to keep up-selling you on all kinds of different products that you probably don’t need.
Others include Networksolutions.com, TuCows.com, Hover.com and BlueHost.com.
Anyway enough of the technical stuff, what’s important about a domain name is how the search engines look at it.
Oh No! Your Perfect URL was Taken! Back to the Drawing Board.
Lets go back to the ‘A Salt and Battery’ example. Most people’s first choice would be that URL www.ASaltandBattery.com. This would be a good choice and would work well using outbound marketing. Choices of url’s are beginning to narrow but I would grab it if I could.
We need to remember, people won’t search for ‘A Salt And Battery’ unless they have seen it in an outbound marketing piece, like an ad, brochure or unless they already know about the restaurant. It’s a good main URL, but not for the only URL.
Most searches are based on inbound marketing. Inbound marketing positions your product or service in a place where it can be found by customers searching for your product or service.
So What Will They Search For?
People will most likely first search for “Good Restaurant” which would be the broadest search. A url like this has probably been taken already and, if it is available, would sell for a high premium.
Try to think of names that people would be looking for in order to buy the product that you’re selling. An example would be the ones mentioned before.
Using what you sell as the first word of your url is a strong tool for inbound marketing. Search engines give you a big boost because it makes your url more relevant if it has what your selling in your name.
A strong second word in the name is your local area. People typically will search for something in their area or close to where they live.
How Do I Use These URLs?
Now that you’ve bought a number of URLs, you have to use them the right way. Your main URL will, of course, point directly to your homepage. You can do the same thing with the additional URLs, but the best thing to do would be to point these URLs at landing pages on the subjects that they target.
You could even go as far as putting up a small website with links pointing to your main website in order to “Own” that search term. We call this mini site a Satellite site.
This satellite site, we consider it a ‘grey hat’ tactic, would create an even higher relevance. You just need to be careful not to duplicate any content. Most search engines frown on duplicate content and will rank you lower for doing it.
The website can look exactly the same visually. Search engines and the people who land on it don’t know any wiser. This saves you on both the graphics and time end.
You can see this in action by Googling the below search words that we use ourselves. Although things variate a bit, These sites rank with-in the top 3 search results on the page.
- package design Miami
- package design Davie
- package design Pompano
- package design Weston
- package design florida
Like all marketing techniques, this is just another item to add to your internet marketing tool belt. To find some quality results, it is still vital to have quality copy, design, and general strategy.
If you have any questions give us a call and we’d be glad to sit down with you and answer any of your questions.