A domain name represents the address of your website and most of us (if not all!) would love to have our own domain name. For one thing, your domain name is as personal as your car number plate that is not only functional but is also a reflection of who you are as the owner of the website.
On the other hand, some prefer to have their own personalized domain name simply because they wouldn’t want visitors to have difficulty remembering or locating their website, just like how a brick and mortar address on a difficult-to-spell road will be challenging to find, much less remember.
If you run a personal site, you might be content with a random domain name but if you run an e-commerce site, you are expected to have your very own .COM domain. After all, domain registration and web hosting is pretty affordable so there is an instilled expectation that professional businesses should have the foresight of having their own .COM website as well.
Tips to choose a Great Domain Name
The bottom-line is that we could go on and on about why anyone would want to choose their own domain name, be it for personal or business reasons. However, a good domain name may not necessarily be the right domain name for your website. Before you plonk some of your hard earned cash on an impulsively chosen domain name, we will share some tips that will help you decide upon a great domain name for your website.
Related to your content
Your domain name should be related to the content of your website so the first thing you would want to do is to think about what your site is about and then extract as many keywords as you can. For example, a site that sells women’s clothing might have keywords like: fashion, dress, garter belts, pantyhose, lingerie and lace. From this list of keywords, you now need to select the top five words that best represent what your website is about. Have fun mixing and matching the names until you come up with your own unique domain name.
Do not include hyphen or misspell
If you are unlucky enough to come up with a domain name that is already similar to an established website, then we suggest that you promptly scrap the idea and start again as no amount of hyphenating or pluralizing your domain name will set your site apart from another similarly-named site.
Whatever you do, we also strongly recommend that you do not attempt to misspell your domain name on purpose in order to set yourself apart as it is more than likely that most of us mere mortals will not be able to type in the name of your site correctly.
Always go for dot-com
If you’re planning on running a website for the long-term or if you simply want to start out with a good reputation, your only option is to get your very own .COM domain. If you currently already own another domain under a .ORG or .NET extension, you should still purchase the .COM extension and have it redirected to your original site. While it may not seem like such a big deal, there are still plenty of Internet users who assume that every domain on the Internet ends with a .COM instead of a .ORG or a .NET (and so forth) so you should cover as many different domain name extensions as you can, especially since it is still so affordable.
Keep your domain name Type-Easy
Most of us already understand that domain names with hyphens should be avoided like the plague. What you wouldn’t know is that keyboard letters such as “Q”, “Z”, “X”, “C” and “P” are equally as challenging to type in as well. If your domain name is taken, do not try to compensate by mixing numbers into your domain name either such as H0tm41l.com or Gm4i1.com. Not only is it difficult to type in, it is also pretty painful to look at and speaks volumes about how unoriginal your website will be.
Keep your domain name simple
If you’re torn between one domain name that is awesome but complicated versus another domain name that is simple and to the point, we suggest that you stick to the one that’s easier to remember and type. After all, a fabulous site isn’t worth anything if nobody can remember what it’s called (or know how to spell it correctly).
Try to shorten your domain name as much as possible as that helps in making it memorable and it will also be much more visible on your business card (as opposed to squishing a really long word on to a 3.5″ x 2″ wide card).
Mean what you say
If your site is Banana.com, then it had better involve bananas of some sort. If you own a more abstract domain name such as Amazon.com or Zillow.com, then be prepared to budget more time and money in marketing what your company actually does as names like these make it impossible for visitors to pre-guess what the website will be about.
Branding through your domain name
The reason why companies like Amazon and Zillow choose those domain names as opposed to Books.com and USRealEstate.com is because branding your company through your domain name is a great marketing strategy. However, if you’re on a limited marketing budget, we suggest combining an important keyword with the name of your company, so that people can still guess what your website is about even with the presence of your company’s name.
Don’t be a trend victim
Remember how people used to name their companies starting with AAA just because they wanted to be first in the Yellow Pages? Jumping on domain trends could make you seem hip for 30 seconds, but eventually, the novelty fades and then all you’re stuck with is an outdated, corny domain name.
Selecting the right domain name for your website is one important step towards creating a great web site. Do not rush. Take your time to bounce ideas around because while you shift houses and have your house address changed, the brand name of your site will follow you wherever you go. By adhering to the above domain name tips, we’re pretty confident that you will find a suitable domain name for your website.