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Domain names: Brandable vs. Keyword-Rich

domain namesWhen you choose domain names for your web business, you need to weigh your options considering these two paths: Brandable or keyword-rich. Here is my view on choosing domain names for your sites.

Before you decide which kind of domain names to choose, you need to ask yourself: What am I going to do with the site – a.k.a. what’s your plan for your website? Are you going to drive visitors through catchy, brandable domain name? Are you going to rank well on search engines with a hope for organic traffic? And more issues to address before deciding on registering or acquiring a domain name.

Ideally, you would want a domain name that is both brandable and keyword-rich. But that’s probably as rare as a diamond.

Business.com is a great domain name and brandable, but it could cost you millions of dollars to acquire. Basketball.com is an excellent domain name, but the problem is just the same – it costs the world to acquire. What about registering a new domain name? Choices are limited today, and from my personal experience, to get a great domain name, you need to acquire from domain name marketplaces, domain name brokers or by contacting the current owners whose contact is on WHOIS information.

Brandable domain names

Brandable domain names, such as my Connotati.com, Jbomb.com, Noobpreneur.com and FranchiseNote.com, are memorable and valuable, indeed.

What’s more, you would want your domain names to be short, so that it makes easier for your ‘brand evangelists’ to refer your sites to other people. In other words, short, brandable domain name helps your web business to go viral.

Now, there’s a fine line between short, meaningful domain names and short, catchy domain names. Meaningful domain names get your message across easily – e.g. Amazon.com, Facebook.com, and my own site, TechnoBlab.com. Catchy domain names – which often have no meaning – are a bit more risky, but can work well if they ‘get along well’ with visitors – e.g. Twitter.com, Mint.com, Yuwie.com, and my favorite undeveloped domain name, Vapple.com.

Keyword-rich domain names

Keyword-rich domain names, in the other hand, are those that generally focus on getting better noticed by the search engines. Some examples include my VoyagerTelescope.net, CreditCardDebtReliefTips.com, DebtConsolidationEstate.com and CreditCardO.com.

Sites with keywords ’embedded’ in the domain names are generally viewed as being able to be better ranked on search engines. Unfortunately, these kinds of domain names are usually longer and often difficult to stick to visitors’ mind – except if you own sites/domain names such as Entrepreneur.com and Astronomy.com.

Which one to choose?

From my explanation above, you could see which one I prefer: The brandable ones.

I highly consider keyword-rich domain names, as they can add value in term of search engine optimization; I also invest in a handful of these kinds of domain names. These domain names also help your sites to rank better, but rank yourself in search engines need more than simply a domain name filled with your target keyword.

Brandable domain names, however, are more long lasting. If you can build a great web asset on a unique and catchy domain name – unless your domain name is xcglkjswt.com – yours can be very, very valuable in many aspects: branding, potential, marketability. Again, consider Google.com, Twitter.com, and the other big guys’ domain names as examples of how great business built on non-keyword domain names can have superb value. On contrary, how would you see Twitter.com as, say, the-leading-microblogging-platform.com? Twitter worth millions of dollar; the latter much, much less than the former.

Have your say – please share your thought by commenting on this article.

Ivan Widjaya
Domain name as brand name


Ivan Widjaya is a webpreneur and an owner of a site network. He actively runs Noobpreneur.com, a small business tips blog, and CBRdigital.com, a cloud business blog .

One Response to “Domain names: Brandable vs. Keyword-Rich”

  1. Earl Jones says:

    Awesome! You rock!

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