8 Rules for Choosing a Great Domain Name

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Your domain name is more than just a web address. It’s your company name. Your company identity. That means that the domain name you’re choosing should meet certain criteria. It should suit the needs of your company in terms of promotion and branding, but it also needs to be user friendly for the people who will ultimately be using it the most – your customers.

The perfect domain name may come you in a flash or it might be something you select over alonger stretch of time. Even if you become inspired almost immediately withwhat feels like the perfect domain, take a few moments to work through thesesteps to be sure there isn’t something you’re overlooking.

It should type easily.

Domain Misspelled
Domain Misspelled

Your domain name shouldn’t be a mess of slang spellings and commonly misspelled words. Choose words that are easy to say and to spell so that customers aren’t going to try to reach your site and wind up struggling to find the right spelling.

If you do wind up with a domain name that contains words that have multiple spellings, consider buying the domain names for those other potential spellings. You can redirect all of the extra domains to your one established site and not worry about losing traffic along the way.

Brevity is best.

Your domain name shouldn’t be a full sentence. You don’t want it to be a long phrase or have some strange combination of letters and numerals. Brevity is powerful in that it is easy to remember, easy to spell and often easier to brand as well. Long tail keywords have their place in the universe, but it’s not inside your company’s domain name.

Consider using (short) keywords.

Long tail keyword phrases are out, but more direct searchable keywords are definitely in. You don’t want your customers to have to type out a paragraph to reach your website, but if they happen to type in some keywords related to what you do, it is helpful for SEO and branding to include some of those more common keywords in your domain name.

If you are a locksmith in Smithville, for example, you might strongly consider using a website as simple as smithvillelocksmith.com to capture organic search traffic. Your natural keywords will also make a lot of sense to your customers, especially if they wind up on a local billboard.

Avoid hyphens and numerals.

You might want to be the number one locksmith in your local area, but you don’t want to be number1-locksmith.com. People have a hard time with hyphens because they show up in strange places and they don’t usually make logical sense in a domain name. They are a random piece of punctuation that has been dropped in to confuse the user.

Numbers can work the same way. Are you number1locksmith.com? Or the numberonelocksmith.com? You’re going to get very tired of trying to spell it or say it the right way so that customers will remember and actually type it in correctly. Remember, it’s not just your website that will be using the hyphens or numbers, but your domain-related email addresses also.

Try to be memorable.

Memorable Domain Name
Memorable Domain Name

In the millions of domain names, try to be clever enough to stick in the minds of your customers. Sure, it’s a tall order to create cleverness on demand, but consider some group think with others on your team or a group of friends.

You can also use one of the many domain name generators online. You might not want to actually grab the domain name, but it might inspire you to grab a particular word or idea for your own site. One of the easiest ways to be clever, unique and memorable is to simply grab your own name. If nobody has registered your full name yet as a website, perhaps that should be the first one you grab.

Use the right domain extension.

The domain extension at the end of a website tells you what type of website it is. While you see a lot of .com websites, there are many other extensions that might serve your purpose more specifically or give you some options when the more common .com is already taken by someone else.

It can be tough to find the right keyword friendly, but brief, domain name. If you are having trouble finding the perfect .com, why not consider a different extension? Some people even have a lot of fun with the possible extensions – making clever puns or playing on fun spellings by including the domain.

Some possible domain extension to consider include:

  • .photography – A long extension that pairs nicely with a short location-friendly keyword.
  • .nyc – This is just one of many possible specific location domains related to cities or states. Why not be .texas? Or .la?
  • .guru – Consider yourself an expert in your field? Why not be the .guru of your service?
  • .com – The most common domain extension for commercial business.
  • .co – the abbreviation for company, community or commerce.
  • .org – The domain name for nonprofits and organizations that aren’t commercial in nature.
  • .biz – Useful for a business website like an online store front.
  • .info  – Perfect if you’re building an information-based website.
  • .net – The more technical side of the internet.
  • .me – A useful domain extension for personal websites like blogs or resumes.

Build and protect the brand.

Build and protect the brand
Build and protect the brand

When you select a new domain name, you should also be thinking about how you will brand your business using that new url. As you are making your selection, you should strongly consider grabbing all of the popular extensions for your new domain name, not just the .com. You should also consider all of the various misspellings and commonly misunderstood names as well.

There are many companies online who make a business riding on the coattails of those who have put in the time and the work to create a bigger brand online. You don’t want to spend the time and money to flesh out a business and website and then have an interloper swoop in to build a parallel site on the .co for your .com. Or to take a domain that includes a commonly misspelled version of your site.

The good news is you don’t have to actually build a website for all of your domain names. Build one powerful website and brand, and then you can simply redirect all of your other minor, brand-protecting domains back to the main site. Consider the extra domains a bit of insulating insurance.

Do your research before shopping.

Before you start actually playing with domain names, go ahead and research in your industry. Google the keywords and the names you’re considering. Look for similar combinations of keywords and others who might have similar ideas to what you’re considering.

If you wind up with an almost identical domain name selling almost identical services, you might also wind up with a potential lawsuit. Take the time to really research the industry and see what others are doing before you head too far into your own plans.

Once you have an idea of what the industry holds, start researching potential domain names with the intent to buy. Once you start putting domain names through a service like GoDaddy, prices can start to fluctuate or your fresh brainstorm might be snatched up by someone else. When you find the right one, snatch it up. It can pay off to move quickly when you’re ready to buy.

Domain names can be big business for some internet marketers. The right domain name can save you a great time in time and expense as you work to build your brand and your overall business. If you have your heart set on a particular domain name, but find that it is not available, be aware that there is always a possibility of buying an established domain from someone else. After all, it might be worth paying more in the long run to find the perfect domain name.

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Oleg Kaluger

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3 Comments on “8 Rules for Choosing a Great Domain Name”

  1. This is eligible article and don,t forget to share. Choosing a domain name is similar to choosing a company name it requires a lot of thought and consideration. Your domain name is your identity on the web. You want to make sure you choose a domain name that not only fits your business but is also easy to find and promote.

  2. Great ideas/rules.
    I always use namemesh or knowem to get not just ideas for my new domain but also to check if I will also be able to create social media branding with that. Branding is very important for a new domain.

  3. Hey there!

    So, I stumbled on your blog this morning via Ileane’s Basic Blog Tips blog and thought to check with some of your posts.

    Well, I found this one particularly useful… And trust me, you didn’t disappoint. Kudos Oleg!

    And yes, I like your points, I feel and think they are really valid points.

    Creating a blog is never just about buying a domain that you feel right or that you really love… it should be researched and should add and help to drive easy website traffic.

    What do you think?

    Sam

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