This guest post is by Karol K of newInternetOrder.com.
If you’ve ever wondered about domain name selection, you probably already know that there are basically only three main types of domain names. And they are:
- semantic names
- unusual names
- combined names
Which will be best for your next blog? If you’re not quite sure yet, read on! In this post, we’ll consider each of these options in detail.
A semantic name
This is a name created from one specific word, or several words put together. What’s important is that the domain uses existing, well-known words. Here are a few basic examples:
There are a number of advantages to using such a name:
- It specifies the theme of the website/blog.
- It clearly defines the niche which the blog touches upon (everyone knows what they can expect to find at toys.com).
- It’s easy to memorize.
- It makes your job easier when it comes to getting good ranking in the search engines for the keywords that are included in the domain name.
Of course, there are some disadvantages to using a semantic name:
- Many basic semantic names are already taken.
- There’s often no direct connection between the domain name and your company brand, which can make the task of brand-building more difficult. Blogs using this type of name can be literally replaced overnight with different blogs on the same topic and many people wouldn’t even notice.
- A semantic name makes it hard to expand the theme of the blog to other areas. It’s very unlikely that we’ll see a catalog of garden furniture on pizza.com anytime soon.
- Semantic names don’t assist with building trust, since they don’t define a brand: they’re usually very generic. For example, if I name my website WeWillStripYouOfAllOfYourMoney.com, I probably won’t gain as much trust as I would have if I’d given it band named like BWin.com. The difference is similar to making a statement like, “we’re a sports betting site” rather than “we’re BWin.com, a sports betting site.”
An unusual name
Unusual domains usually employ a brand name. Think of domains like:
To create such a name, you need to find or create a semantically empty word—a word that has no meaning among the target audience—and give meaning to it.
As you can see from the list above, some of the biggest players in the online game use semantic names.
So there are, obviously, some advantages to this type of domain name:
- It’s characteristic. It can’t be confused with the competition. Google is Google, and Bing is Bing—there’s no way of mistaking these two even though they both do the same thing.
- It doesn’t create a brand—it is the brand!
- It’s easy to get good rankings in the search engines for the name itself. And if the word you’ve chosen doesn’t already exist, the competition won’t be too strong for the domain name itself.
As you’d expect, there are disadvantages to using this type of name:
- It doesn’t define the niche, nor the theme of the blog. If this kind of name is attached to a new blog, and no one really knows about it, it can easily be overlooked by a potential visitor—even if they’re looking for the kind of content that the blog publishes—simply because they won’t be able to guess what the blog’s about.
- Since it’s usually harder to say or communicate the name orally, it’s easy to get it wrong. When my friend first told me about ebay.com years ago, I fired up my browser and typed “ebuy.com.” I’m sure I wasn’t the only person who made this mistake.
- It’s harder to gain good rankings in the search engines for specific keywords using an unusual name than it is with a semantic name. If you write about computer hardware, then it would probably be a little easier to get good rankings for the keyword “computers” if you had a domain like “computers.com” rather than “compunationgeorge.com.”
A combined name
…are all combined names. These domains combine semantic and unusual names. Although the name may have little meaning on its own, as soon as you visit the site, you grasp what’s going on—and recall the domain—very quickly.
I think that these are the hardest types of names to come up with. You really have to think outside the box to find an existing word or several words, and then give them a unique meaning that binds them somehow with the theme of your blog.
If you succeed, you can expect some benefits:
- A combined name defines the brand in a unique way that’s similar to an unusual name, only better.
- Visitors can quickly grasp the concept of the blog even though it’s not as obvious as it is with semantic names.
- A combined name clearly differentiates your site from the competition.
- It’s usually easy to memorize.
And as for the disadvantages:
- A combined name can make it harder to get a good search ranking for specific keywords (similar to having an unusual name).
- It’s easier for your competition to imitate this kind of name. This usually happens when we’ve used an obvious framework to create the name. For example, if our car-related blog is called “4wheeldrive.com” then somebody could try to copy our success with a domain like “rearwheeldrive.com”.
Which one is the best for you?
Here’s my advice. If you want to create a small blog targeted at the members of a small, precisely defined niche, then I think it’s probably best to use a semantic domain name. You have a better chance that interested people will find your blog in the search engines, and that they’ll actually visit it, because the URL itself will tell them what the blog is about.
If you’re aiming at taking over the world with your blog, then you should probably choose an unusual or combined domain name. As I’ve already said earlier, the biggest players in the game use such names, and we can learn from them. There’s nothing better when it comes to building a brand than a good, unique name that’s easy to memorize.
So go on and try to choose one of these three types. And if you’ve already done it, congratulations. You’ve just started a marathon in which your domain name is the first step. This is just the beginning.
What do you think about this classification? What’s the type of your blog name?
Karol K provides blogging and marketing tips at newInternetOrder.com.