How to choose a Domain Name
Tips and Suggestions
It helps to have 5 terms or phrases in mind that best describe the domain you’re seeking. Once you have this list, you can start to pair them or add prefixes & suffixes to create good domain ideas. It is also good to ask others what they would search for if they were looking for your product or service – you may be surprised at their response! If you’re launching a mortgage related domain, you might start with words like “mortgage, finance, home equity, interest rate, house payment” then play around until you can find a good match.
Choose a domain that is unique – but has domain relavancy i.e. Yahoo creative but what is it – try having your product or service in your domain name. For example samanthas.com versus samanthasslinkyshop.com – you now know what samantha sells. Having your website confused with a popular site already owned by someone else is a recipe for disaster. We do not recommend that you choose domains that are simply the plural, hyphenated or misspelled version of an already established domain.
If you’re not concerned with type-in traffic, branding or name recognition, you don’t need to worry about this one. However, if you’re at all serious about building a successful website over the long-term, you should be worried about all of these elements, and while directing traffic to a .net or .org is fine, owning and 301’ing the .com is critical. With the exception of the very tech-savvy, most people who use the web still make the automatic assumption that .com and they will try that first – if they don’t find you they may stop looking.
If a domain name requires considerable attention to type correctly, due to spelling, length or the use of un-memorable words or sounds, you’ve lost a good portion of your branding and marketing value. I’ve even heard usability folks tout the value of having the letters include easy-to-type letters (which I interpret as avoiding “q,” “z,” “x,” “c,” and “p”). If your business name has a commonly mispelled paradigm – purchase the mispelling as well and set up a 301 redirect. i.e. colesharbour.com is your business name but you may purchase colesharbor.com as well.
Remember that word-of-mouth and Search Engine results both rely on the ease with which the domain can be called to mind. You don’t want to be the company with the terrific website that no one can ever remember.
Short names are easy to type and easy to remember (the previous two rules). They also allow for more characters in the URL in the SERPs and a better fit on business cards and other offline media.
This is a mistake that isn’t made too often, but can kill a great domain and a great company when it does. To be sure you’re not infringing on anyone’s copyright with your site’s name, visit copyright.gov and search before you buy.
Both hyphens and numbers make it hard to give your domain name verbally and falls down on being easy to remember or type. I’d suggest not using spelled-out or roman numerals in domains, as both can be confusing and mistaken for the other.
When you check your domain availablity – this will provide alternatives if your domain is not available. You can find this tool here.