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

Written by Zac Johnson
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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?

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33 Replies to “The Importance of Having a Great Domain Name… or not?”

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

      1. 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

  2. I just epically failed on this. For some reason the domain always sounds good until you register it.
    My recent post WordPress- Excluding yourself from Google Analytics reports

  3. 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

    1. 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.

  4. 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.
    My recent post How Bad Can You Hurt Your Reputation By Being A Copycat

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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

    My recent post How to find Do follow Blog and How to make Do follow links No follow

  8. 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

  9. Yes, domain names are very important. Thanks for sharing the importance of having a great domain name
    My recent post Affiliate Cash Clone Review My 499 Worth FREE Bonuses For You

  10. 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.

  11. Having a top notch domain name is huge, I have StocksonWallStreet.com and help me so much.
    My recent post Who’s Interested in Having their Guest Posts Published Every Sunday

  12. 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

  13. 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?

  14. 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?
    My recent post GBPCHF Hitting the Previous S3 Pivot

  15. 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!

  16. I think it depends on your vision, either way it's best to follow your instincts.
    My recent post BeConfiDent – frågor &amp svar om tandblekning hemma

  17. 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.

  18. 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!
    My recent post Fluoride Water Filters

  19. 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!

  20. 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.

  21. 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….

  22. 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!
    My recent post 5 Wonderful Life Wake-Up Calls

  23. 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.
    My recent post Why Traffic Metrics Are Important For New Traffic Sources

  24. 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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