How To Choose A Domain Name
Part 2 of a 12 part series covering How To Start An Online Business we will be asking “Whats in a Domain”
Choosing a Domain Name is a bit like choosing a name for a book – it tells the reader what to expect inside.
An explanation of your website just looking at your Domain Name is a big plus.
When registering your Domain Name take extra care to make sure that it is exactly what you want and the spelling is correct, once you have registered it there is no going back.
On receipt of your payment, the domain registrar automatically goes ahead with securing that domain for you.
It only takes a matter of seconds for the process to complete, and when it is done, that domain is yours for the period you paid for.
No alterations can be made. If you have made a typo the only way is to buy another Domain Name.
There are certain Do’s and Don’ts to get the best impact for your website.
Avoid Keyword Rich Domain Names.
Keywords within your Domain Name really have no effect on Search results.
Having said that, if you can include a keyword that makes it obvious what you’re website is about,( a brand) then no problem.
Trying to make a Domain Name keyword rich to get rankings doesn’t work anymore and I would avoid using that practice.
Building out your website with quality original content targeting your keywords is the greatest criteria for getting rankings.
Aim For A Top Level Domain.
Even now after more than 20 years that the internet has been around the .com TLD is still the extension that most people relate to.
They have the tendency to rank better, but as an alternative, you would want either a .net or .org domain.
Another alternative could be a country extension which is known as ccTLD.
These are coded by country eg: .uk (United Kingdom), .us (United States), .ca (Canada), .fr (France).
Modern TLD extensions knowns as gTLD’s are hitting the market with about 1300 new type extensions in the form of names to describe your business eg: .london, .tech, .food, .florist .art .tube .doctor .shop .blog. These are good if you are looking to build a Domain portfolio for the future but as of now they probably don’t hold much authority.
If you have thought of a really good Domain Name that fits your business, but unfortunately it has been snapped up, don’t despair.
Try adding a prefix or a suffix. For example search for an alternative with the prefix MY or THE or even YOUR NAME, perhaps a suffix that could be SHOP or ONLINE or BASKET. Something that is still in keeping with your business but will still focus on your chosen Domain Name.
It may also be that the .org or .net versions are available.
Characters To Avoid In Your Domain.
Your Domain should consist of Alpher-numeric characters (a-z)-(0-9) and hyphens only.
Any other punctuation marks, symbols and accent characters should be and must be avoided.
Keep your Domain Name to a maximum of 63 characters and it should start with a letter or number.
Avoid using numbers instead of words ie: 4>>For. 2>>too
Your Domain Name should be as memorable as possible without confusion.
You should be able to tell a customer your Domain Name without explanation, that actually, the for is the number 4. Make it as easy as possible to remember.
Choosing a “Brandable” Domain.
A Brandable Domain Name is exactly what it says, it’s a name that people recognize as a certain brand.
But not all brandable Domain Names will tell you what goes on inside until the website is so established that it becomes a household name.
Two examples that immediately come to mind are Amazon .com and Google .com. What on earth were they all about when they first launched?
Nowadays if you want to shop online your first GoTo is probably Amazon or if you are searching for something specific then Google is the place to look.
Normally the best Brandable Domain Names are a play on words.
Take Pinterest .com, conceived out of the idea of Pin and Interest. Flickr .com who originally went for Flicker, but someone else owned that Domain so what did they do? They dropped the “E”. A play on words
Creating your own Brandable Domain Name is going to take a lot of creativity and intuition, but it could be all worthwhile. Come up with a good name and it could just be worth a lot of money in the future.
Here are 4 simple thoughts to keep in mind when choosing a brandable domain name:
- Don’t make it too long, short and simple is easier to remember
- Use everyday words that are easy to spell,
- Make it special Try to think of a phrase people will remember.
- Use the .com extension if, at all possible, people resonate with a .com Domain.
You want a domain that you love and fits in with your business. At the end of the day, your domain is going to be with you for a very long time.
Avoid Trademark Infringement
What can I say about this? Trademark infringement can be a very costly exercise, companies that own trademarks or trademark slogans get very annoyed at someone encroaching on their territory.
When you are deciding on a Domain research the name and make sure there can be no confusion or mistaken identity with another company.
Maybe even taking legal advice could actually save you a lot of time and money.
Definition of Trademark as supplied by Wikipedia:
I hope this Part2 Choosing a Domain Name has given you an insight of how to go about deciding on your web address.
Watch this short video that may help you find your perfect Domain Name.
If you have any comments about this or any other part of this series please leave them in the box below.
In Part 3 we will be putting part 1 and part 2 into action by Finding a Website Builder