Dear golf business owner,

If you’re depending on your website to promote your golf business, your domain name is your shop window and your business card rolled into one. If the name looks trustworthy, authoritative, and relevant to what searchers are looking for, you’ll get lots of clicks and visitors. But if it looks cheap and nasty, you’ve already lost the sale. After all, if someone were looking for, say, a custom clubmaker and had to choose between visiting CustomClubmaker.com or KustomKlubz4u.biz, which link do you think they’d click on? The first one, obviously.

And what if you’re still using traditional forms of advertising? Well, let me ask you this: when you advertise your business on radio or TV, in golf magazines, in the local paper, or on the side of your vehicle, how do you know your potential customers can even remember your name and how to find it? Or that they’ll remember how they got there if they want to go back and visit it a second time? Does it pass the “radio test”? In other words, if someone hears it on the radio, can they remember it?

In today’s world your competitors are only a click or a phone call away, and that visitor you just lost might have spent a thousand dollars on golf equipment. Indeed, they could be worth many times more than that – hundreds of thousands or even millions – if your business is golf course architecture or golf real estate. You simply can’t afford to miss out on targeted visitors like these, people who are looking for the exact services you’ve got to offer.

So what can you do about it? Well, one of the smartest things you can do is to invest in an exact-match domain name for your website; that is, a name made up of the precise keywords that define what your business does.

Like the names on the right-hand side of this page.

That way, you’re already telling potential visitors exactly what to expect if they click into your site. In essence, you’re pre-selling to them. And those visitors who do click into your site are, therefore, extremely targeted and ready to do business with you.

This happens all the time in the real world. We don’t walk into a golf store unless we’re interested in buying golf stuff. So we’re pre-sold. And we can judge the quality of the store from the outside just from its appearance. On the web, however, the only way we can judge whether it’s worth visiting a site or not is the clues we pick up from the name of the site, the title of the page, and a couple of lines of description, including seeing the keywords we are looking for. You can learn to write more attractive titles and better descriptions for your pages, but one thing you’ll always be stuck with is your domain name. So you’d better get it right, because in the end that may be the difference between getting those visitors or losing them to a competitor with a more trustworthy-looking domain name. You see, on the internet, domain names are like real estate; the best ones are like oceanfront property, and the bad ones are like back-street operations. A good domain name exudes credibility and a bad one sows seeds of doubt. Prejudice is alive and well on the internet, and whether we realize it or not we all judge businesses every day based on the quality of their domain name.

One of the ways companies can gain that trust is by investing heavily in branding. In essence, they take a word that means nothing and by way of constant repetition and engaging advertising make it mean something that hopefully links to good feelings and trust in people. All of the major golf companies we know today – Callaway, Titleist, Ping, TaylorMade, etc. – spend vast amounts of money constantly in TV, print and online advertising, player endorsements and so on to gain that familiarity that leads to trust. Unless you have that kind of money to spend, you need to find other ways of bringing customers to your business. That’s where exact-match domain names can help.

You see, sometimes, instead of going through search engines, and being exposed to distracting ads, irrelevant sites and social media nonsense, people who are looking for something very specific will type into their browser what it is they are looking for and put .com after it, assuming that some major company in that line of business owns the name. Think of two-word names like GolfBalls.com, GolfClubs.com, GolfBreaks.com, etc. These visitors arrive straight at that website, cost the site owner absolutely nothing to acquire, and are highly likely to remember the domain name and how they got there if they like what they find and want to return another time. And regardless of what changes search engines make in their algorithms, these visitors always arrive because they are bypassing the search engines entirely.

For years now, many of the world’s major brands have recognised this valuable source of targeted (“direct navigation”) traffic and have been busy buying up generic, exact-match domain names that relate to their core business. So much so, in fact, that all of the top-level generic golf domain names were registered many years ago and are either in the hands of the major industry players – perhaps even some of your competitors – or are being held by domain name investors who are not all that inclined to sell unless the price is right. They all realize that generic names focusing on specific areas are valuable and can give a company instant credibility and authority, and a steady flow of highly targeted traffic.

So how exactly can a generic, exact-match domain name be used? Well, you could use it in advertising and on your business cards and email communications instead of your company name to make it easier for people to remember. In that case, all you would have to do is simply point the name at your existing website. This can be set up by your webmaster in a couple of minutes. That’s what the publishers of Golf Magazine do. They own the domain name Golf.com, so when you type that name into your browser or click on it in the search engines you’re automatically forwarded to the Golf Magazine website.

On the other hand, you might decide to re-brand your entire business around the name itself. In this way, you can go from being just another website with an unfathomable name among hundreds in your niche (e.g. greenbrowneandwhytegolfdesigninc.com) to being the most recognizable and credible name in the field (e.g. golfarchitects.com). In effect, for a once-off purchase you can go from the back of the line to the front of the line and actually ‘own the category’. And you’ll continue to own it for as long as that niche exists. You can even pass it down to the next generation and beyond.

However you choose to use it, to your potential customers an exact-match domain name will always appear relevant, authoritative, trustworthy and legitimate. It suggests you’ve been in business for a very long time and that you’re a leader in the field. And because of its simplicity and relevance, people will remember it and know how to come back to it, either by typing it directly in their browser or by recognizing it in the search engines. In the long run this greatly reduces the cost of acquiring your customers because you do not have to spend money on branding; the service or product you offer, and the domain name itself, is the brand.

Think about how you could give your business an unfair advantage over your competitors by owning a highly targeted, exact-match domain name. These are the kind of domain names that search engines love and tend to rank higher. But even more importantly, they are names that encourage potential customers to click on and visit because they promise the visitor ‘exactly what it says on the tin’. If you consider the value of a single click from a really targeted visitor who arrives at your site, in dollar terms, what’s that click worth to you? Now think about having lifetime ownership of that domain name and all the highly targeted visitors it can attract…and then do the math.

If you want to be at the top of the pile in your golf niche, you need to control the keywords that precisely describe your business – before your competitors do. Owning an exact-match domain name will help you do that, and should pay for itself over and over again for the lifetime of your business.

And finally, don’t forget that if you own an exact-match domain you can always sell the domain name again to someone else if you ever sell your business or decide to retire . All in all, I’d call that win-win!

If you’d like to partner with me in using any of my domain names as an exact-match domain for your golf business, please send a message through the contact form and let’s discuss it.

Best wishes,

Domain name collector and golf addict.