Rand Fishkin says “.com”. I say “It depends”


Which domain name should you decide on for your next website? It's a tough choice, right? This post with a brand new video from Rand Fishkin from Moz - one of the leading SEO experts - will help you on the way. There are some solid arguments here to help you get the right domain name - and avoid the common traps. Rand released a new Whiteboard Friday yesterday with best tips to choose the domain name for your site. In the video below he presents eight important issues to consider. While I'm a fan of his work and strongly recommend you to follow him on twitter I don't fully agree with him here. I do find that he underestimates the power of the new domain extensions. So if you're interested I have added my points below the video. Anyway, check the video below:

Here is my take on Rand's eight points in the video one by one.

  1. Make it brandable I agree. The domain has to be unique and memorable. Generic keyword domains are too easy to forget or mix up. Make sure to avoid hyphens and numbers. It has to pass the radio test.While Rand says that numbers is a no no, I'm not so certain. is a great domain name and brand. I would say that some numbers make the cut. The reason is that they as being written numerically. Some numbers are even mythical in certain industries. Here are some examples:13 (The unlucky number) 23 is good for a brandable domain 23: If you're a basketball aficionado you will know why. 99 ("I got 99 problems...") 365 (Number of days in the year) 666 (The Devil's number)
  2. Make it pronounceable Again I agree. To add to Rand's argument. Why do we end up with unpronounceable domain names? The answer is: amalgamated brands. Meaning, people tend to combine two generic words to create their brand name leading to tongue twisters.
  3. Make it as short as you possibly can, but no shorter I agree. If I was ever to create a new business, the brand name would be no longer than five characters. However, if you're going for a .com domain it will be very, very hard to find an available domain name. And it will usually be very expensive to buy the .com domain.
  4. Bias to .com It depends. Surely the US is the most .com prone country in the world. However in most other countries the local country code is just as popular. And in Asia where a large number of new internet users aren't aware of the .com domination any TLD is up for grabs. Surely, if you're in a particular country you should get the country code domain extension. If I had a local service in Denmark, my country, .dk would be the obvious choice.Rand suggests a .net or a .co as alternatives to .com. While these are certainly not bad alternatives, my advise is to check what's available first. You might run into a new domain extension covering your niche. Wilson and Prince are two of the biggest tennis brands. However, they do share their brand name with so many other entities and persons. If they were going to launch tomorrow under these brand names, what would be the domain name for them to stand out in a very crowded market place? Sure, Prince's current domain name is OK. But they could go with, which is short and describes exactly what they is of course a great domain name, but would make it clear that they are the Wilson tennis brand.There are some extensions out there, which really tells the world who you are. If you're also lucky to get the .com domain, then redirect it to the new domain extension.So which ones are particularly interesting? Cities: There are now 39 cities with their own top level domain. Great for local services. Sports domains: .cricket, .tennis, .club, .golf... Industries: Particularly in real estate and law there are some great options available.
  5. Avoid trademark infringements I agree. Check the internet for similar brand names before you decide on your own.
  6. Make the domain instantly intuitive Let the domain hint what your business is about. This is a solid argument for new top level domains. You can now elegantly explain on the right side of the dot what your business is about. It can surely be abstract, what it's about. Are you in the express business you could use .now, or do your sell organic vegetables it could be a .green.
  7. Use broad keywords when sensible As Rand states:"if you can get a keyword mention in your domain name that helps make it obvious what you're about, go for it. But if you're trying to target what would be called keyword rich or keyword targeted domains, I would generally stay away from those actually in 2016."Many legal offices insert a or in the domain name. I can agree that it could be a good idea, however I would advise against it, if there is a new domain extension to cover this. If you plan to open up your legal office today, then go for
  8. Not available? Then it's ok to modify it I'm completely against this advise. Your preferred .com isn't available. Tough luck. But don't go for the second best and longer .com domain name. In 2013 this was a valid option. Today, you can do much better with all the 881 other domain extensions available.
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