Correctly written, the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) should look like this:
It should not look like this: http://www.yourdomain.com/?p=6173p3h
Why is this url (http://www.yourdomain.com/your-page-name/) better?
1. The anchor text.
It is vital that the content of a web address is both interesting and has a strong and clear meaning to those reading it. It will also need to be easily interpreted by the search engine being used, to enable traffic to be directed to the correct location.
“your-page-name” immediately grabs the readers’ attention, encouraging them to explore the link further. Its clarity provides the reader with quick and easy access to your page, by allowing the search engine to instantly identify it as an appropriate source of interest.
In contrast, “?p=6173p3h” does not mean anything and consequently, will not provoke any interest.
2. It is easier to track your social media marketing.
When you see the words on the link “your-page-name” you know that you already posted this link on this particular social media website.
3. It is much easier to track your visitor’s behavior on your website.
There are many types of software to help you track what people do on your website, in particular which links they frequently use. Pretty amazing right! “?p=6173p3h” would not allow you to do this.
Furthermore, webmasters and bloggers would recall the subject of your page much more easily, simply just by looking at the text of the link that they chosen.
It is not a coincidence that WordPress has an option for semantic urls.
You can see on the picture below how WordPress Content Management System has the option to create the url for it’s users from the title of the post or the page. This means that the user does not have to learn any programming languages and can still produce perfect url addresses.
Please note that you might have to change your address manually when you change the page/post name.
Long URLs create problems.
1. No one reads them = no one clicks them.
Despite the fact that some people like to be descriptive, for most of the readers, this is rather distracting and may cause potential visitors to look elsewhere. We almost certainly don’t want this to happen when this link points to our site.
2. The long address will shorten your post on Twitter!
Twitter tweets are limited to only 140 characters, so the shorter the link the longer the message. There are methods of abbreviating URLs, but you might not always have the patience for them.
3. Easier to remember.
4. The printed materials problem.
The long name will require smaller and less readable letters as you can see below.
5. Easier to type.
There is another issue when it comes to typing. The symbols that require two keys or are on located the corners of the keyboard, are to be avoided.
6. More suitable for branding
If you want to create recognisable brand, you must give people the chance to remember the name.
7. The logo problem.
When you create a Logo, the length of the name is a huge concern. In this environment space is at a premium, so naturally, the Logo should be short and clear instantly promoting the brand. On large outdoor advertisement a grater amount of text might still be legible, but on a smaller scale such as leaflets, banners, newspapers this simply won’t be appropriate.
Your domain name better be your brand name!
You boldly show your domain name claiming that your brand will eventually generate interest by itself. In other words half of the name “Puff Cars” does not mean anything but however it increases the likelihood that people will type “Puff Cars” in there search engines looking for your brand.
2. Your potential clients must be able to find you by your name.
Supposing that your brand name is “Puff Cars” and your domain is “bestcars.co.uk,” when someone sees your outdoor ad saying “Puff Cars – best cars in town” there little chance that a person will find you online!!! A search for “puff cars” will not lead directly to your website and on top of this a search for “best cars” will have the same result unless you pay for advertising.
3. The logo issue again.
No matter where you put your logo or how big it is if it isn’t the same as your domain everyone’s search will lead in someone else’s website. Keep it short and unique and your flyers and business cards won’t be a waste of money.
4. Differentiation and recognizability
The domain name “bestcars.co.uk” will “wipe your companies identity” from everyone’s mind and from the search engines as well. Topcars, Megacars, Classycars, Supercars all look the same and there is no reason to pick one instead of the other. Even more disappointing is that often “topcars” will be missed with “bestcars” and vice versa.
5. Generic or non- generic name
A semi-generic semi-unique name is the way to go.
Despite a lot of opinions supporting the use of generic names there are not much of them left and they could confuse the user. Semantic names have meaning. This can be beneficial when the name describes your business, but has no connection with your brand. For example producing a product such as trainers and give them the name “trainers”. This is a generic name which would fail to differentiate them from other trainers. “Botrainers” for instance would have completely the opposite effect without losing the descriptive properties. It would literally mean the trainers produced by “Bo”. In one word you are identified as a company that solves people’s shoe problems.
What if your desired domain name is taken!
In case your desired domain name is taken there are still some things you can do.
1. Firstly you can choose a name that is almost the same as the one you want. The hosting companies themselves are aware of this problem and usually offer some alternative names. The very website you are on now has the domain name is ‘theitsin.co.uk’ which I chose just because ‘itsin.co.uk’ was not available. Other slight changes like myitsin.co.uk or itsins.co.uk could also be acceptable. Beware that if the change of the name is almost unnoticeable and is mimicking the name of a popular brand you may be charged with trademark infringement.
2. Secondly, you can use a different domain suffix such as .org, .net, .co.uk, and many others. In 2013, completely new range of domain names was introduced and these are now available. Endings such as .london, .lol, .club, .bar, .computer, .photos, .vacations and a lot more may easily be the perfect suffix for you.
3. The final option that comes to my mind involves buying the name. Assuming that is not too expensive you could acquire it from the owner. I hope you don’t aim for a domains such as autotrader.com or tripadvisor.com because it might be a bit of a problem.
4. To build an extra defensive wall for your branding strategy you might need to buy more than one domain. Protecting your name seriously would mean buying the .com, the .net, the co.uk, the .eu and some other more popular suffixes.
Consider a more generalized name.
Despite the fact that you most likely want real financial results in foreseeable future, it is not a bad idea to consider some possible changes in the overall business plan. Whether the business is doing well or not, the option to modify it could always come handy. The domain name ‘intrnetmarketing.com’ is good and specific but there will be a need for new domain if the company decides to try some computer repair services. On the other hand a name such as ‘theitsolution.com’ could represent both activities and thus save some money.
Overly specific names confuse the ordinary user.
‘pixelshader.com’ might look geeky and cool for the hardware engineers but for the normal visitor is just funny word that makes them change the page. However it might be a real blow in case your target audience is very specific.
Don’t change the url later!
I made this mistake and the feeling of regret was substantial. Initially the name of my article was http://www.theitsin.co.uk/blog-vs-website-table. Happy with the result, I promoted the post throughout my social media and social bookmarking websites. In one way or another I decided that the name is not correct enough and altered it to http://www.theitsin.do.uk/free-blog-vs-paid-wesite-table/ Guess what happened! ALL the links that I had created were leading nowhere!
The first web address is different from the second one and it would have been inappropriate to promote it again with the new URL, because I would have looked like a spammer annoying everyone with the same content!
Don’t misspell your page name URL.
Even though you don’t like to put more pressure on yourself, a small amount of extra effort could save you from a great deal of trouble. People may have a small laugh but they will forgive you.
The problem is that Google won’t. Search engines simply won’t understand the meaning of your URL if it is not entered correctly. The mistake for the search engine is another word. Usually a non-existing word in our vocabulary and sometimes an existing one such as hugepark.com instead of hugepart.com. This will result in you sending your visitors for a picnic instead of buying spare parts for ships.
Use subfolders, no subdomains!
A subfolder url looks like this: http://www.mydomain.com/my-new-page/ and subdomain folder looks like this: http://www.mynewpage.mydomain.com. At first glance there is not much difference, however, but for the search engines, those are two different websites. The subdomain is considered a separate website and all the efforts spent for the main website won’t benefit the subdomain pages. The online marketing applied for the subdomain does not benefit the main website and could take huge amounts of time.
Even the url is intended to be just an address, today it is much more than that!