Many of my customers want to be found on their domain name. They then choose a domain with keywords such as pickingfruit-amsterdam.nl. Is this the right choice or does it limit the possibilities for your website? I’m happy to explain how to choose the right domain name.

Need help designing your website?

When to choose your brand as a domain name?

When you set up your company, you chose a certain brand name. Then why not use it as a domain name? In many cases this is the best option. Do you work under your own last name? Then this is your personal brand. Your surname can enhance your image for many professions. For example, think of plumbers, bakers or bookkeepers. But for larger companies, such as a webshop or catering business, this is more difficult.

There are some pros and cons to using your brand as a domain name. The advantages are that it comes across as very charismatic and immediately inspires confidence. It often also shows that your company is a bit smaller, which is a plus for certain customers.

Of course, this plus also comes with a disadvantage: larger projects often pass you by. In addition, when your company grows, it can deter potential partners, especially for a possible takeover. Of course, the name can still be changed, but this often costs money and you have to build brand awareness all over again.

Isn’t it better to choose keywords in your domain name?

When you choose a generic domain name, you use a keyword or words to describe your company. Think, for example, of pickyourfruit.nl for a fruit farmer where you can pick your fruit yourself. The more general your domain name, the easier it is to remember for potential customers.

But you are also making it difficult for yourself. What if at some point you also want to sell fruit juices in a small webshop on the same website? Then your domain name no longer matches what you offer on your website and that can have a negative impact on the SEO of your website.

Speaking of SEO: Google doesn’t pay much attention to your domain name these days. Where in the past websites such as buyacar.nl or cheapholidays.nl ranked very well, this effect has now been greatly reduced. You will get branded traffic as you build up brand awareness and you will never optimize for branded keywords in terms of SEO. It is better to focus on optimizing the content on your website. That will be much more effective. You can use plugins like Yoast or Rankmath for this.

Read here which SEO plugin best suits your website

The ultimate combination in your domain name

And what if we make a combination of your brand and a keyword? Of course, you can! Then you have the best of both worlds, such as petersplumbing.nl. It is important to choose the right keyword. Be sure to do some research on this. You need to know which markets you want to reach and for which keywords you want to be found.

Tools that can help you with this include Google Trends or Google Keyword Planner. Both are free and you can see which keywords are often searched for and in which region. You can also view the results of certain combinations of keywords.

Some tips for optimizing your domain name

So, you’ve finally chosen a domain name (or not yet), but what else should you keep in mind when putting together your domain name? Below I will give you some golden rules that will ensure that visitors not only remember your domain name, but Google will also be satisfied.

  • Don’t make your domain name too long. The shorter it is, the fewer characters visitors have to type and the better they will remember it
  • Do not use capital letters in your domain name
  • Instead of a word, you can also use a sentence. Here too the rule applies that you should keep it as short as possible
  • When using a sentence, make sure that there is no double meaning (eg Who Represents becomes whorepresents.com)
  • Try to avoid hyphens. Not only is this difficult to type in, Google isn’t a fan of this either
  • Avoid numbers or special characters, such as accented letters. The chance that your website is typed incorrectly is quite high
  • Choose a domain extension depending on your location, identity and target group. This can be a .nl, but also a .com or .eu 
  • However, avoid free domain extensions such as .tk. These undermine your professionalism and do not seem very reliable. It will also be more difficult to build domain authority this way
  • Do not use (old) brands in your domain name that are not yours

Is the domain name still available?

Well, I’ve gone through all that trouble to explain how to choose a domain name, but all in all, it must still be available of course! Even the craziest domain names are already claimed these days. There are even companies that randomly buy domain names and then offer them at ridiculously high prices.

How do you check whether the domain name you have in mind is still available? Most web hosting parties have their own checker built into their website where you can see very quickly whether a domain name is still available or not. For example, you can use the one from Vimexx.

Chances are that your domain is no longer available with a general extension such as .nl or .com, but with a cheaper extension such as .biz. This is a decision that you have to make. Do you really want that domain name? Then you go for a lesser-known extension. Do you definitely want a .nl website? Then you will have to find another domain name.

You see, you don’t choose a domain name instantly. It is better to think a little longer before committing to a limited domain name that you may have to change later on. Do you need advice, or do you have other questions? Please don’t hesitate to contact me!