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The Importance of Having a Great Domain Name… or not?

Whenever I start a new web site, I always spend a lot of time on the domain name and the name of the site. While it’s very important to me to come up with a great name, or brandable domain name, is it really that important?

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular web sites and companies that have branded themselves off of an “exact match” domain name:

– FreeCreditReport.com
– Money.com (CNN)
– Dictionary.com
– Cars.com
– Weather.com

Now let’s take a look at a few amazingly successful companies that started off with domain names that really mean nothing, or not relevant to their overall business model at all.

– Travelocity.com
– Amazon.com
– Facebook.com
– MySpace.com
– GoDaddy.com

I ran through the list of top 100 Alexa US sites and it was surprising how many of the top 100 sites were NOT exact or generic word domain names.

Before stressing over the idea of trying to get an exact match domain name or something close for your new site, just remember it all comes down to the content, brandability and end product/service of your site.

What other exact match and crazy non-relevant domain names can you think of that have turned into mega million dollar companies?

About the Author Zac Johnson

My name is Zac Johnson and I have been an online entrepreneur for the past 18 years and blogger since 2007. This is my personal blog and I welcome you to the site. In full disclosure, it is safe to assume that I am benefiting financially or otherwise from everything you click on, read, or look at while on my website.

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ExSuit says

Google, Yahoo, Bing, Twitter, Flickr…….I think the point is that a domain name won't make your business, the idea will!

    Zac Johnson says

    There definitely seems to be more original and creative successful names, then combinations of generic words.

      Kevin Kimes says

      Having a clever, creative and brandable word, even a made-up word, is certainly a very good option. You could say it's more of a requirement if you want to build a web-giant the likes of those mentioned by ExSuit.

      Google is especially clever, being a play on the word googol. Which I won't define, so you all can now go Google it. 🙂 When you find out what it means, you'll have a deeper understanding of why Google calls their HQ facility "Googleplex".
      My recent post Securing Your Online Business – Part One

@poorwebguy says

I just epically failed on this. For some reason the domain always sounds good until you register it.
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    Zac Johnson says

    I've purchased a decent amount of domains name that seemed like a good idea at the time…

Graham Lutz says

I think exact match is better for niche affiliate sites and brandable names like Facebook and other large projects.
My recent post The Art of Crafting a Blog Post

    Zac Johnson says

    Definitely. Exact match domains have always helped with search engine rankings.

DinoVedo says

LOL. Way to leave off the biggest one of them all out.. :p

Google.com ring any bells? haha
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    Zac Johnson says

    I didn't post Google since it was created off the word ""googol", which means "a number that is equal to 1 followed by 100 zeros and expressed as 10 100"… still a good example though.

Fazal | Make Money says

I think that choosing a brandable and cool name is important for a domain then anything else. Yes, picking a name an unique name could profit you but can you really create a search engine, a dating site or etc? I dont think a lot of us have enough programming skills even though creating forums or dating sites is rather easy today.
My recent post Tips For Choosing The Right Domain Name For Your Blog

Money Blogger says

Thank god. I got a good domain name for my blog in this hustle. My site is Blogwith.in domain. Will it affect the foreign visitors?

Dukeo says

That's funny, I went through the same analysis before launching dukeo…

I had to choose between [something]marketing.com, stephanekerwer.com or dukeo.com.

I went for the easier to brand… 1/Short name, 2/Easy to remember, 3/Successfully passed the "phone-test". And just in case, it will be easier to exit than with a personal name.
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CRM Software says

Have to say, godaddy is simply cheapest.. 70 cent .infos are something hard to beat.!!!

Vitaly Tennant says

I agree with you guys, I’ve registered tons of domain names too that I thought were good at the time…

I totally agree Zac about content being the king. There are just so many sites to list that generate tons of traffic that aren’t relevant to their business mode.

doroki says

Good suggestion and importance of having domain name which associates your business , thoughts and objective of your blog. From this article i can understand how the domain name can play important role to make your blog successful.

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clickforliving says

Just to add, Google’s Keyword Selection Tool is an awesome way to discover relevant keywords to include in a domain name. I always play with this for hours before registering a domain name so that I may come up with something both catchy and relevant!

Alex J

CEO & Founder
http://www.clickforliving.com

affiliate cash says

Yes, domain names are very important. Thanks for sharing the importance of having a great domain name
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KDB says

Just goes to show that when the internet marketing "experts" tell you how important a relevant domain name is….well lets just so you need to be careful who you consider to be an expert.

Stocks on WallStreet says

Having a top notch domain name is huge, I have StocksonWallStreet.com and help me so much.
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Kevin Kimes says

In my opinion, we should not worry about exact or near match domain names related to some keyword. I think search engines need to stop giving any boost in SERPs whatsoever to the lucky one or lucky few who happen to swipe up exact match or near match domain names.

In the early days of the internet, most traffic was from people typing in domain names, basically hoping for a match. These days, most users will search for their intended destination, even if all they're doing is typing in the domain name (with or without the dot com) into their browser's search box – then clicking the link in the SERP.
My recent post Securing Your Online Business – Part One

stags in budapest says

I start a new web site, I always spend a lot of time on the domain name and the name of the site. While it’s very important to me to come up with a great name, or brandable domain name, is it really that important?

Hugh Kimura says

I recently went through this decision with my new blog. I decided to make up a name to represent the concept that I will be blogging about. I learned from Frank Kern that you should invent your own movement/language and name yourself the leader. It's so simple and makes sense now, but I just didn't get that before.

My only concern was making sure that the word I made up didn't mean something like 'dumbass' in another language. I'm still not 100% sure but I don't think I could ever be, so I'm moving forward.

For my niche sites, I always use exact match phrase domains. In researching different ccTLDs I found it interesting that there are so many different rules in other countries. I also see tremendous opportunities in smaller, more restricted countries.

Anyone have any experiences?
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Ben D says

I usually try and go with something that has a keyword relevant to what I am doing – normally a keyword that has some traffic but not too much competition which will give whatever I am doing a head start!

Riya @ Couponseasy says

I think Google, Yahoo, Bing, Orkut these all just domain with no sense but still get huge traffic on daily basis. Orkut certainly lose it traffic to Facebook but still getting good traffic.
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Tandblekning says

I think it depends on your vision, either way it's best to follow your instincts.
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TreeLover says

I think if one can optimize and advertise their site for popularity or traffic, even if it doesn’t have a good domain, the website will still manage to be a huge hit.

George Lewis says

I think creating a domain you can trademark is key to ultra big success – and a combination of words is harder to trademark.

I, for example, am starting http://www.Greenscious.com. It's a combination of the words Green and Conscious… (but I want to brand it by having people use the word as a hippie would in describing something that's both groovy eco-friendly – like: "I found a Greenscious new website…"

Now all I need are people to join me in launching the site… and sharing in the profits! Are you Greenscious? Let's work together – and save the planet!
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Phil says

I like catchy URL's better, however sites that have great keywords in there names always rank higher. For example my site is called OfficeAnything.com. We don't rank as high as a lot of office furniture sites out there but I do like our name better. In the long run.. it's not what we like. It's what the search engines like!

Affiliate Training says

If you can find an exact match keyword rich domain name based on your sites niche with a good keyword phrase that you are trying to target in the domain name. then go for it, it can only help. But I agree with a few previous comments its about your site, and if it offers valuable info to the reader or provides a valuable service. This determines if it is a success or not.

Adeel says

Ofcourse Website name does matter and some times it does't coz of product or service you are providing so much powerfull itself so it does't need to stress upon name…just build it and Rock it….

John Sherry says

I think well used phrases or terms in common speech make great domains as they are always on people's minds especially if they rhyme. We have CompareThe Market.com in the Uk and everyone seems to remember it as it flows of the tongue and of course what makes it and similar type of names a big success is that it's catchy and funky. Some names have SEO titles but are flat, boring, and rather stale. Bring a vibe and you bring an audience!
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Jeff Bode says

It really depends on the site, like many of my Amazon affiliate sites go after broad buyer keyword phrases, but my larger sites and sites targeted at building a brand around (not get ranked high for X) usually go after a brandable name.

It's definitely important and it takes some practice to identify good domains, if you want a good helpful tool try out dotomator.com it allows you to use your keyword + add a brandable phrase at the end it's a pretty cool way to get some possibilities.
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Web Design Malaysia says

Often time clients come to us, demanding for a domain name that's relevant to their nature of business. However, most of the time, we have to make do with a "-" hyphen. Does it hurt domain SEO?
My recent post How to make sure your web redesign does not fail?

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