URLs are a lot more interesting than just the address to your website.
Let’s run through the structure and why each piece matters to you.
A URL is basically the address on the internet for your website or file. PDFs, images, and your web pages all have their own address…the URL.
The protocol sounds complicated, but all you need to know is that a few years back Google started rewarding secure sites. Think of the “s” in https as “secure.” Go check out your site and if you don’t have the little lock icon and aren’t using https, check with your hosting provider or web developer on how to get an SSL certificate for your domain.
Most of the time you’ll see www as the subdomain which I highly recommend rather than nothing at all. It might not affect you today, but it may come in handy later as you grow and integrate more tools so might as well hedge your bets and set up your main site with a subdomain like www.
The domain and top-level domain (TLD) are what you’d buy from companies like GoDaddy. This is for your website and likely your email address too. Over the past few years, it’s gotten extra fun because you can buy a whole lot more than just the .com. You can get .ninja if you want! If .com isn’t available, maybe get creative and see what else is available.
I get asked a lot if you should buy more than just .com. My rule of thumb is pretty simple. If a competitor were to buy the .net version of your domain a week from now. Would you kick yourself for not spending the $17 to claim it first? I generally buy up a lot of top-level domains. Most of the time you can get a pretty decent package deal.
This is a good time to check your email address. Make sure you’re using an email that matches your primary domain. Consistency is key in digital marketing. If you are still using Gmail or Yahoo or even AOL for your business email I strongly recommend the move. It’s a big credibility marker. When you sign up for G-Suite or Office 365 it will walk you through how to set that up with your domain.
The folder path is important because it indicates how your site is structured. If you don’t use ANY folder paths, it indicates to search engines, like Google, that all of your pages are equally important. Which is never the case. A single blog post should not be as important as your services page, for example.
The closer the page is to the root domain, the more important it is. We’ll talk more about this when we get into tracking and analytics too. A proper structure makes analyzing your site content a breeze.
When we get to the page level, this is where we usually see room for ongoing optimization. Try to incorporate keywords into your page URL and keep them very short. Most website builders (like WordPress) allow you to change the URL. So you can keep your longer page title but adjust your URL to remove words like “and,” “the,” “a,” etc. Keep it short and to the point. When your page shows up in a search result, you want the URL to be stupid-clear what the page is about.
I think that’s enough digital nerdery for one day.
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