A domain name is a website’s name that is written in a browser’s address bar and identifies a web resource for all the internet users. A domain name consists of two parts (which we demonstrate on your website’s example): adindex.ua. In this case, [adindex] is a website's name, and [.ua] is a domain name’s extension.
All the domain names are registered at the ICANN organization (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). This organization is a storage for a centralized database with addresses: it defines availability/unavailability of a domain name’s extension for website owners.
The choice of a domain name for a website or an online store is very important, as, in the future, it could significantly affect the fate of an internet platform and business in general. Therefore, you should approach it with utmost seriousness and learn which criteria to keep in mind while picking a domain name for a website.
There are so many factors that affect the website’s position in search results: a website’s structure, its content, reference weight, an optimization level, and so on. The domain name is one of these factors. Just try typing a ‘cargo transportation Moscow’ keyword into any search engine: most likely, one of the first positions in search results will be taken by a website that contains any part of this keyword in its domain name. For instance, it could be a website named gruz-moscow.ru (cargo-moscow.ru).
This happens because any search engine is designed to prioritize those websites that match a user's search request as accurately as possible. Therefore, if a domain name contains at least one of the keywords, it will be easier for a potential client to find that website.
The most interesting thing about this is that even if a website or an online store doesn’t have the best optimization and content, it could still climb a few positions higher in the search results if it has a domain name with a particular keyword. However, one shouldn’t rely on that completely and shouldn’t relax because of that. You should always strive for informational content and proper optimization; a domain name is just an additional element in this case.
The usage of keywords in a domain name is the best fit for small businesses that take their first steps online. For instance, if you are an owner of a small store selling pet products, you can try including a keyword in your domain name. However, you should make sure that a domain name is free: after all, there are so many other people who decided to do the same thing.
Keep in mind that this option wouldn’t be a good fit for a business that doesn’t intend to focus on only one type of product. For instance, if you sell pet collars now, but intend to expand your product range in the near future (by adding pet clothes or food), it would be wiser to come up with a proper name for your company.
Here’s another tip to keep in mind: don’t use long-tail keywords in a domain name. The search engines often consider such websites spammy and exclude them from the search results. Remember: no more than two keywords for one domain.
Companies that promote their brands actively include the company’s names in a domain name. In this case, the search engines will associate a particular brand with specific search queries, and in the future, a company will have an advantage in the form of branded search queries.
A domain name that contains a brand’s name ranks well by search engines.
An interesting fact: even if a user enters a domain name containing a brand's name and makes an error or a typo, a search engine will still redirect these users to a website they need, because there are interconnections between a search query, a website’s content, and a domain name.
A domain name consists of several words divided by dots: [adindex][.ua]. Our website’s name (adindex.ua) is a second-level domain. Domains that contain three or four words are third- and fourth-level domains, respectively. Can you use more than four words? Yes, of course. However, it is undesirable, as such domains look too long and inconvenient.
A domain name consists of three parts: a domain zone (adindex.ua), the name of a webpage (adindex.ua), and a subdomain. Our domain name doesn’t have a subdomain; however, if we had one, it would look like that — blog.adindex.ua. An URL with a subdomain ‘informs' a user which section of a website or an online store they visit at the moment. In this case, it would be the Blog section.
In a domain name adindex.ua .ua stands for a domain zone that falls under the linguistic and territorial name category. Usually, such names consist of two letters (ua, eu, ru, uk) and specify a country or a language that people of a country use. Such domain zones also indicate that a website covers the residents of one specific country or a region: UA (Ukraine), RU (Russia), UK (Great Britain), EU (European Union), and so on.
In certain countries, you need to have a trademark of the same name to register a domain name with a specification of a certain geographic zone. In other countries, you could even register a domain zone of another country (which is the most relevant for websites that run their businesses in other countries).
The linguistic and territorial zones, in turn, could be divided into regional ones. For instance, this happens when a company needs to concentrate on traffic in one specific region: kh.ua (Kharkiv region), dp.ua (Dnipro region), kiev.ua (Kyiv region), and so on. That is, if we decide to promote the ADINDEX services only in Dnipro instead of the whole Ukraine, as it is now, we’ll have to change the existing domain name adindex.ua to adindex.dp.ua.
There’s also another domain name category — a cultural and thematic one. Such domain zones consist of three letters and indicate that a website is dedicated to a specific category or topic. For instance, the .net domain zone indicates that a website belongs to one of the telecommunication companies, .com indicates that a website is an international domain dedicated to general topics. A .edu zone indicates that a company is related to education; a .tv one stands for telecommunication providers.
A domain could also look like that: .net.ua. Such a domain means that a company is located in Ukraine and offers telecommunication services.
Before you pick a domain zone for your website, answer the following questions:
In which region do you plan to offer your services?
Do you plan to expand your business in the near future or to focus only on one country for a start?
What topic does your website relate to?
If you plan to work only in Ukraine, you should pick a .ua domain zone. If you plan to expand worldwide, pick a .com zone. However, a situation when companies create several websites in different regional zones is not unusual. For instance, we use the adindex.ua website to work with the Ukrainian audience; however, we also have another website adindex.biz for international clients.
If you want to focus on a specific region (for instance, for now, you only have one coffee shop in Lviv), pick a subregional domain zone .lviv.ua. In this case, your domain will look like that: adindex.lviv.ua.
If your website is dedicated to a specific topic, pick a domain zone that specifies a category. For instance, adindex.edu (for an educational project) or adindex.tv (for a telecommunication provider).
If you want to pick a good domain name for a website, follow our tips.
- Pick a name that is simple and easy to remember. Think about companies like Ozon or Amazon: their names don’t seem to have any connection to what these companies do; however, these companies are still super successful and easy to recognize. Even if the brainstorming didn’t help, and you couldn’t come up with a domain name that reflects the essence of your business, don’t get discouraged. Take a piece of paper, a pen, and let your fantasy run wild: just write down all the words that come into your mind when you think about your company. Don’t strive to be logical here: these words could be different and don’t have to mean something — sometimes it’s enough just to sound good. We are sure that something interesting will definitely pop up. However, keep in mind: your domain name shouldn’t be longer than 63 symbols.
- A domain name has to be unique; it’s crucial if you don’t want the users to mistake you for a company with a similar name. Always check twice to ensure that your domain name is truly one of a kind.
- Keep it short. We recommend using no more than two words in a domain name; furthermore, these words have to be short. Don’t use three or more words in a domain name, because: 1) such a domain will be hard to remember; 2) it will be difficult to type such a domain name into an address bar. We don’t advise using hyphens and numbers in a domain name; however, if you cannot do without them, use them.
- Avoid using non-Latin letters. For instance, Cyrillic letters like ю, я, ч, ш: you have to use two Latin symbols to write them (and four if you want to write letter щ). Not anyone could read this correctly, and it could confuse your audience.
- Pay attention to the subregional domain names, especially if your business is focused on one specific region. We already mentioned this before. You deliver your goods in Dnipro only? Then use the .dp.ua domain name. Do you sell your products only in Uzhhorod? In this case, you should register the .uz.ua domain name. Such geolocation could help your clients find you as quickly as possible and immediately understand where your business is located. Furthermore, it will make you look more unique.
- Rent a domain name for the long term. A minimal rent term for a domain name is usually no less than one year. In most cases, that’s enough for a business to understand whether it’ll prosper or will have to close. If you are confident in your success, rent a domain name for a couple of years. This is foremost good for SEO, as search crawlers see such domains as more serious and growing, and prioritize them in search results. Furthermore, in this case, you’ll be able to protect your domain as well: other potential owners won’t be able to purchase it after a year.
- Use numbers in a domain name only when it makes sense. For instance, if you run a tourist agency, a domain name tourist365 could indicate that your services are available for 365 days a year. A domain name like Apteka-24 (drugstore-24) indicates that your drugstore works round-the-clock. However, you can pick any other number: the most important thing is that your audience will be able to understand why you used these numbers in the first place. For instance, if you promote a team of creative marketing specialists that always consists of 10 people, you can freely use this number in your domain name (for instance, 10creators.ua); however, don’t forget to remind about that during the promotion. This way, your potential clients will definitely know why you use this number. But if you include a number in your domain name just to stand out among competitors (for instance, a domain name romashka (chamomile) is taken, and so you pick a name romashka2 (chamomile2), this will look weird and complicated.
- You can use hyphens as well; however, keep in mind that search crawlers see the hyphens as spaces between two words. Therefore, it’s appropriate to use hyphens if your brand’s name consists of two words (only-sport.ua), or your name looks like the competitor’s one. You can also use this symbol if your domain name is too long, and it will be difficult to read it without a hyphen.
- Pick a domain name that wouldn’t require re-registration even if you change your company’s specialization or add new categories of products. A domain name that consists of your company’s unique name would be the perfect option. In this case, you won’t have any trouble even if you decide to change your assortment or a company’s policy.
- Don’t neglect the Cyrillic if your business operates in CIS. Most beautiful domain names in Latin are already taken (unless you manage to come up with a brand new name that doesn’t exist yet). The Cyrillic, however, is less widespread; therefore, it’ll be easier for you to occupy your niche on the market. Let’s take the famous духи.рф (perfumes.rf) website as an example. They promote their brand very actively, they are popular among the users, and no one seems to care that their website’s name is written in Cyrillic. It’s even more convenient for Russian-speaking users. However, we’ll talk more about Cyrillic and Latin later.
- Pick a domain name that has a good history. If, for some reason, you decide to purchase a domain name that already existed before, be sure to check its history and reputation. It’s crucial to ensure that both the history and the reputation of a domain name are positive.
Cyrillic or Latin domain names don’t affect a website’s ranking at all. The only thing you have to pay attention here is if a domain name is convenient to your audience.
The Cyrillic: pros and cons
Cyrillic domains have the following perks:
- they are convenient for the Russian-speaking users, just like the example of духи.рф (perfumes.rf) website shows. Such a domain is easy to enter in the search tab; it’s also easy to memorize if you see it in advertising.
- they are less common. This is more important for the website owners, and we already mentioned it. A unique, good-looking Cyrillic domain name is easier to pick than a Latin one.
- they could be used as a mirror. Many companies practice this option: they register a good-looking name both in Cyrillic and in Latin. When people click on a good-looking Cyrillic domain, they get redirected to the main website with a Latin domain name.
However, Cyrillic domain names also have their cons:
- problem while copying. If you copy a Cyrillic domain name in any other browser window, it could display incorrectly. This happens because some browsers support the coding, and some don’t. Such links do work; however, they look strange and therefore, could scare off the potential clients (for instance, if you publish it on social media or send via messenger). Such links could also be mistaken for spam.
- inability to create an email for a domain name. Let’s take the already mentioned domain name духи.рф (perfumes.rf) as an example. Their corporate mail looks like this.
This happens because you cannot create an email with an address like info@духи.рф (firstname.lastname@example.org) as you have to use only Latin symbols.
- difficulties for foreign users. The cause of such difficulties is the same: coding. Despite nowadays, most browsers can ‘understand’ such addresses, the users could still struggle with them.
- difficulties for web administrators. Web administrators could face URL readability problems while trying to copy the addresses of the webpages and during other manipulations with a website.
The Latin: pros and cons
Latin domains appeared earlier than Cyrillic ones; as a result, they usually cause fewer problems, as all the rules and standards are written for these domains.
The pros of Latin domains:
- they are familiar. Even the Russian-speaking users are used to the Latin domains. Furthermore, people tend to trust these domains more, and they are considered less spammy (unlike the Cyrillic ones).
- they are convenient for SEO and web administrators. All the support services that the specialists in website creation and promotion use always work correctly with the Latin domain names.
- correct URLs. Latin domain names don’t have coding; therefore, when you copy them, the links preserve their initial look.
Latin domains also have their cons (however, they don’t have much, and most of them were already mentioned above):
- most of the eye-catchy domain names are already taken. You have to be very creative to avoid looking like someone else.
- it’s hard to perceive letter combinations that consist of two or more sounds. For instance, if your domain name sounds like читают-все.ру (all-read.ru) in Russian, it will look like chitayut-vse.ru in Latin.
What is the conclusion?
- If you want to stand out and to pick a good-looking domain name, consider using Cyrillic. However, keep in mind that it could cause more technical difficulties than a Latin domain name.
- Latin domain names are easier to use and harder to come up with: you have to be very creative. However, if you already manage to come up with a new and unique name for your business, this might not be such a problem for you.
In this article, we tried to share as much useful information on domain name selection as we could. Let’s sum everything up.
- Focus on your current niche in which you plan to grow and invest in the nearest future. If you offer products for growing orchids and focus on them at the moment, pick a domain name that is related to orchids specifically, not just to any flowers. Such a narrow direction could open you more opportunities for domain name selection.
- Your own unique brand should guide you. Keep in mind that yes, your brand’s name won’t be familiar for some time. However, it’ll become more recognizable with the growth of your business and your brand’s promotion.
- Keep the key request in mind. On the one hand, if you include a high-frequency keyword in your domain name, this could positively affect the brand’s ranking. For instance, a website called orhidei-na-zakaz.ru (custom-orchids.ru) will most likely rank well in search engines for a keyword ‘custom orchids.’ On the other hand, this isn’t a brand’s name (so, how will the buyers memorize you?), a name is too long, and you’ll definitely have to change that domain name if you decide to expand your business. However, if you don’t plan on implementing global changes in the near future, then why not?
If you picked a domain name that’s already taken:
- try using another domain zone (biz or org), using subregional domains;
- try to purchase a domain name: in many cases, popular domain names are already purchased by buyers who resell them to other people. The only disadvantage, in this case, is the price: most likely, it’ll be significant;
- try to add an additional word to a domain name; for instance, after a hyphen. Maybe you’ll be able to come with something even more interesting than your initial idea.
Keep in mind: the choice of a domain name for a website or an online store is a very important process, and you have to treat it with utmost seriousness. After all, it could significantly affect the online promotion of your business in the future.