Despite bookmarks, social media, etc…, domain names are still very important to the success of the websites built upon them. A great domain name can be the difference between a successful website or blog and one that is doomed to become a failure.
If you were to ask someone “Where did you get that great shirt?” and they said “I got it at this really great website called superstorename.com.” it is likely to be remembered by that person and they in turn might visit that website to see what they offer. On the other hand if you asked someone the same question and they replied by saying “I faved a Tweet by someone I came across online and there was a website link in one of their previous Tweets and I followed that link and found this great online store who’s domain name I can’t remember.” then it is highly unlikely that you will receive a visit to your website because there is not a memorable domain name they will remember.
Now before we go further into why a great domain name matters, I think I should outline some things that help define what a “great domain name” is. Here are a few of the main things required in most cases for a domain name to be considered a great domain name:
- The name is not too long.
- The name must be easy for people to spell correctly.
- The name must be easy for people to remember.
- The name sounds nice and has the potential to be a good sounding brand name.
- The name should not contain hyphens and numbers unless relevant (most cases).
- The name has a .com extension if a good and relevant one is available.
One of the arguments that some people have as to why they don’t think that a great domain name is that important of a role on the success a websites has is that they assume that web surfers will bookmark or subscribe to a given website after they have visited a particular website if they like it enough.
Most of the time, this is not the usually the case for most website visitors. Most people will need to come across a particular website many times before they decide that they are going to bookmark the website.
Usually on their first visit to a website, they will come to that site by following a link on another website or blog or from a link found in a web search from a search engine. A great domain name, however, can play a very important role weather or not that website visitor remembers that website to return for another visit. If the domain name is easy for website visitors to remember and easy to spell, more visitors will come back to that website for future visits. If the domain is too long, too hard to spell or remember, however, there is a great chance that the visitor will not return to that website in the future.
I’m not just talking about website visitors that will remember your domain name and type it directly into the URL address bar of their web browser later. If your domain is too long, too hard to spell or the name is irrelevant to what is on the website then there’s a very good chance that the site visitor will completely forget about the website and never return to it in the future. After a few days that website visitor most likely won’t remember the name of that website and forget it exists. A short and catchy domain name will, on the other hand, stick on the mind of that website visitor. Even if that website visitor is not able to type it into the URL bar in their web browser, Google, Bing or other search engine will be there to help him/her find your website.
Another point to think about is the connection between the domain name of your website and the brand of the business. If your website has dozens, hundreds or even more similar type of websites competing for the same niche, the brand name relevancy will be highly determinant. Then if you realize that the brand of any website is heavily anchored to its domain name, you’ll see how important a great domain name becomes.
Some notable facts about the top 500 websites:
- Over 376 out of 500 domains had 14 characters or less, more than 75% of them.
- The average number of words was 1.83.
- The most common domain name, statistically had 9 characters in the name and 2 words.
- 94.4% of the domains had a .com or .net domain extension.
- only 8 out of the top 500 domains (less than 2%) contained a dash in the name.
Exceptions to the rules:
At this point I’m pretty sure that some people are thinking “I know a website that’s real popular and has a really long and confusing domain name.”
There are exceptions to the rules, but these are rare.
It’s just like when you are discussing smoking and the health problems it causes. Even though statistics have found that smoking will reduce most people’s life expectancy by 20 years or so, there’s always someone that has a friend, family member or someone else that they know or know of that smoked their whole life and still lived to the age of 100 years or maybe more.
That friend, family member or whomever that person was represents the exception to the rules/statistics, but that does not diminish the validity of the statistics. The same exceptions, although they are rare, apply to what we have shown above, even if you know a popular website with a really long or weird domain name.
In Conclusion: The Law’s of Domain Names
Based on that evidence that we have presented, here is the conclusion or the “Law’s of Domain Names”:
“With all other things being equal (e.g., marketing budget, the quality of the content on a given website, it’s design, affiliation with larger websites and so on), a website with a great domain name will always outperform a competitor with a bad or average domain name.”
So, does this means that if you have a longer, a hard to remember domain name or so on, your website is then doomed to fail? No, by no means is that what we are trying to say. We are just saying that if you have a competitor in your particular niche that has a much better domain name, you are going to need to produce better content, offer better services, or spend more money in promotion your website to compensate for that.
So the bottom line is that if you are starting a new website or are doing a complete overhaul, make sure to get the best domain name that you can find/get within your particular budget.
If you have a comment, question or something else to share, please leave a reply below!