Every day, over half a million new websites are launched, joining an estimated 1.7 billion sites already occupying cyberspace.
Anyone planning to launch a new website clearly faces some stiff competition in terms of attracting audiences.
There are many ways to ensure your own contribution to this cornucopia of online content doesn’t simply disappear without trace.
These include regular updates, inbound links from third-party websites, frequent promotion on social media, and the deployment of keywords and long tail phrases of three or more words.
Your choice of website address also plays a key role in determining a site’s fortunes once it goes live.
As the most visible part of a website, and one of only two elements to be published in search results, a site’s uniform resource locator (URL) represents cornerstone content.
An effective choice can provide free advertising and propel even a relatively new website up the SEO rankings, though long-established sites retain an advantage by dint of their age.
These are our recommendations on how to choose a new website address which maximises the site’s chances of being viewed…
Pick a co.uk TLD. The top level domain is the last part of a website address, but ironically, it’s where you should start when choosing a suitable URL.
A co.uk or .uk TLD will rank highly in British search results. It has more gravitas than newer additions to the thousand-strong canon of TLDs, and domestic audiences trust it.
Choose a website address with relevance. Nobody would know what vrc.co.uk means, whereas volvorepairscumbria.co.uk ought to attract relevant site visitors.
Including one or more relevant terms in a URL boosts search engine performance, identifying it as relevant to searches for that word or long tail.
Keep it short. It’s possible for website addresses to include 63 characters, but that’s a lot of typing if you’re not clicking a hyperlink.
Shorter URLs reduce the risk of being mistyped, potentially losing visitors forever as they end up somewhere they never intended to go and lose faith in their ability to reach your site.
Keep it simple. This builds on the last point, with brevity and simplicity often going hand-in-hand.
Avoid consecutive duplicate letters, which are hard to read (e.g. chrisssweetsshop.co.uk), and ensure your chosen address can be read aloud without causing any confusion.
Avoid plagiarism. It might seem clever to register amazom.co.uk or bootz.co.uk, but search engines and internet users are all attuned to such tactics.
Don’t try to piggyback on the success of an existing site. Instead, choose a new website address which is distinct, in the hope your platform carves its own niche over time.
Study competitor sites. Even if your website is a hobby platform, there will be alternative sites competing for top billing in search results.
See what sort of online presence your rivals have adopted, and consider whether there are useful lessons for your own choice of URL.