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How to Choose a Domain Name for Your Non-Profit Organisation

In the digital world where awareness and visibility are crucial for non-profit organisation success, SEO (search engine optimization) has become not just mandatory but also an essential marketing strategy.

If you plan on leveraging SEO’s true potential to stand out from other competitors on the market, you might as well start at the very beginning, which is picking the right domain name. But what exactly is a domain name and what does it have to do with SEO? Simply put, a domain name is a name you register for your non-profit organisation, i.e., your online address.

The correlation between domain and SEO lies in making your organisation easily recognizable online, as well as about giving context to both users and search engines to what your organisation is all about. Therefore, before you decide to build your website, you must first pick an SEO-friendly domain name. It sounds simple enough really, but it can oftentimes get tricky. With that in mind, here are a few tips for choosing an SEO-friendly domain name.

1

Learn about the domain

Before you get down to picking the right domain name, there are a few things that should be cleared up beforehand so that you can focus on what's important, which is an SEO-friendly domain. Many people confuse a domain name with a URL (Unified Resource Locator). As an example, a URL looks like this: https://www.mywebsite.com, where the actual domain name is just "mywebsite" and .com. Therefore, let's break down each element to make things a bit more understandable. "https" – This is a protocol that consists of an HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) used for communication and an SSL/TSL (Secured Socket Layer or Transport Layer Security) cryptographic protocol for enhanced security. "www" – Also known as the World Wide Web, is a subdomain name used for naming Internet hosts and it's not mandatory to have in your domain name. "mywebsite" – This is your domain name, it can be anything you want, as long as it's relevant to your organisation in any way. ".com" – Also known as a top-level domain. It's used to specify where you operate, such as location or industry.

2

Focus on brand-related domain name

It's no secret that branding is an efficient and reliable marketing strategy that can help non-profit organisations, especially new ones, stand out on the crowded market. If you plan on developing a brand for your organisation, you can incorporate your domain name into that strategy. A branded domain name is always SEO-friendly. The main reason is that it immediately gives context to your organisation.

If your brand is well-known on the market, your domain name will be visible and recognizable online. In addition, choosing a branded domain will ensure a seamless domain name registration, especially since your brand is unique and thus your domain name as well. The main benefit of branded domains is that you get to build visibility for your brand alongside the visibility for your website through SEO efforts.

3

Choose WWW or no WWW

As mentioned before, the World Wide Web subdomain isn't mandatory to be included on your domain name. However, search engines treat websites with and without subdomain as two entirely different websites. Therefore, if your website doesn't have a www prefix but some of your web pages do, then search engines won't be able to link the two together and will, therefore, treat them as separate sources.

Moreover, aside from a few technical advantages of using the www prefix, having a subdomain can boost your credibility from a consumer point of view. With that in mind, you can choose either of the two options available to you, but you'll have to stick to your decision if you want search engines to properly index your URLs.

4

Explore keyword-related domains

It's no secret that keywords are the buzzword in the SEO world. By including a keyword in your domain name, you can certainly ensure that it is, in fact, SEO-friendly. However, choosing a keyword-related domain name can oftentimes become tricky. The main reason is that most other organisations that wish to rank for the same keywords are probably already implementing it in their domain name. In other words, finding a domain name that matches your non-profit organisation and that has a related keyword included may turn out to be difficult.

Still, are domains with keywords important for SEO? The answer is yes, but only to a degree. Search engines won't give you a significant boost in ranking because there's a keyword in your domain name. But, consumers, on the other hand, are more likely to click on a domain with a keyword related to their search. That's why a keyword-related domain might favor more organic traffic than websites without a keyword in their domain name.

5

Always keep it short and simple

When picking an SEO-friendly domain name, it's important to understand both human and computer processing of your domain. You'd want to avoid confusing either of the two parties. Therefore, have search engine algorithms in mind, as well as human consumers looking to find you online. Simply put, make it short and simple. As an example, avoid numbers in the domain name because they can easily create confusion.

Also, avoid typos and grammatical errors when choosing a domain name. What's more, don't go overboard with characters. The rule of thumb is that you should aim for anywhere between 50 and 75 characters in your domain name to keep it on point. In essence, try to make your domain name meaningful and compelling while avoiding unnecessary complexity that will make your domain name not so SEO-friendly, to begin with.

Further information

A domain name is very important for your non-profit, especially in today's digital age. You should decide on the domain name as soon as you decide on your organisation name. By choosing an SEO-friendly domain, you improve your chances of being seen online, as well as of becoming more competitive on the oversaturated market.

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Page last edited May 14, 2019 History

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