When starting a new website, one of the first and most important decisions you have to make is choosing a domain name.

That choice will impact the website’s success in nearly every area, including search engine optimisation (SEO). SEO is a technique used to increase the visibility of a website or a webpage in a web search engine, and turning that “visibility” into revenue. It can be a lucrative pursuit if you choose the right domain name. 

Let’s examine the factors that make a good domain name and how it will impact SEO.

Keep the following factors in mind when choosing a domain name.

► Keyword

Historically, most businesses choose domain names that include their relevant keywords and phrase, or exact match domains (EMDs) For example, if you want to rank for Green products, you may want to purchase greenproducts.com.

However, in light of Google announcing that EMD no longer rank as well as before, it may be wise to also consider branding when you choose a domain. In some cases, you can consider a premium domain, keeping in mind the search volume this premium domain will generate. Most premium domains are also much more expensive.

► Branding

As mentioned earlier, branding has become more important in terms of SEO consideration, as brands are how people perceive and remember you. Said Google CEO Mr Eric Schmidt: “Brands are the solution, not the problem. Brands are how you sort out the cesspool.”

What is a brandable domain name?

Start with these factors:

► Uniformity
Select a domain name that is the same as your company’s official name. It builds uniformity across your business, and it also reinforces your brand.

► Relevance
Make your domain name industry specific, so that people know what your website or business is all about. For example, a food blog can consider a .food domain.

► Short
Keep your domain short and easy to spell. A study has shown that the top 50 websites have six characters in their domain name.

► Location
If you are targeting a specific location, say Singapore, using an extension (or geographical suffix) such as .org.sg is advised. Having a geographic extension will help rank high for that specific country as people are inclined to choose local links. Google will also give out local results.

► Hyphens
Avoid hyphens when registering for a domain, as they usually rank low in SEO. Think of it as a user, where many will type domains without hyphens, and they will end up on a different website which is not yours.

► .com extension
It is also highly recommended to always buy a .com counterpart, as 75% of all websites are using .com, and is 20 times more valuable than their .net and .org counterparts. Many domain providers also bundle geo-specific or industry-specific domains with the .com extension.

In a nutshell, having a good domain name, that is, uniform, relevant and short, will definitely build up your brand and reputation. Meanwhile, coupling it with geo-specific and .com extensions will help you reach the target audience.

Don’t forget your web hosting service provider

After selecting the right domain name, choosing a suitable web hosting provider is also critical to keeping your website alive on the web.  Web hosting issues can lead to improper loading of pages, which can also affect search engine rankings.

The following list of features can be the guidance for you to choose the most suitable web hosting your business demands:

► Server Uptime

As mentioned, staying alive on the web 24×7 is the bottom line requirement for every website. Especially for e-Commerce websites, every single moment your site is not accessible to your users may mean a loss of sale, and defeats the very purpose of your business. Typical industry standard of a server uptime is 99.9%.

► Page loading speed 

According to Kissmetrics, delay of one second in page response can result in 7% reduction in conversions. You can also lose up to 40% of your customers if it’s more than two seconds.

The RAM and the bandwidth of your web hosting decide this important factor of your website. Here, purchasing a Virtual Private Server can help, as you have specific RAM and bandwidth specially assigned to you.