First, ask yourself this: Should your domain name be brand-based or keyword-based?
In other words, are you building (or do you already have) a recognizable brand?
Or will you need to be a little more literal to make your site resonate?
Think Nike.com versus Shoes.com, and you’ll get the picture.
The branding approach
When it comes to domain names, users seem more interested in brands and their associations than in generalized product or service listings.
If literal names worked, Books.com would be the world’s biggest online bookstore.
Of course, that title belongs to Amazon.com, one of the most successful brands.
But there’s a catch: if you don’t have a well-established brand, building one is no simple (or cheap) task.
When keywords count
That’s where keywords can come in.
They tell users up front what they need to know about your offering.
They can also improve your search rankings, since search engines use inbound links to categorize and rank your site, and many sites will simply link your domain name itself.
But keywords alone aren’t enough.
After all, where do you search? Google, or Search.com?
The middle path
So what to do?
If you have a strong brand and own the domain, use it.
But for a new, yet-to-be-named company, a keyword-based domain name can bring you faster returns and longer-term results at a lower cost.
The trick, however, is to work your keywords into a memorable brand name.
For example, look at "DoubleYourDating.com" and "MyWeddingFavors.com," two keyword-based domains owned by multimillionaire internet marketing gurus.
Bottom line: are people more likely to search for your brand, or their goals and your products or services? If it’s the latter, name your domain accordingly.
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