Whether you’re starting a business, blog, or other website, getting the right domain name is a huge step. The following 10 points should guide you in the right direction. And we’ll start at the beginning:
- Make sure it’s available. Sites like Go Daddy, Bluehost, and many more all have tools to let you know if a domain is available. Just visit there sites, type in your prospective domain and they’ll say yay or nay.
- Identify your top keywords and incorporate them – people and search engines will have an easier time finding you if your domain name matches up with what people might search when looking for you. To identify these keywords, you can use any number of tools found by searching Google for “free keyword tool generator.” Of course, the first result is Google’s own keyword tool generator and it’s first for good reason. Google knows what people are actually searching for since they dominate search…it’s a great place to start.
- Make sure you domain describes your site. I had a brief stint with a discount surfboard website that we named foamily.com. It was meant to be short for foam family, which, in retrospect, still does a poor job of describing our service. Were it available, discountsurfboards.com would have been ideal. Needless to say, foamily is no longer with us.
- Don’t make up words – Google, Yahoo!, and other similarly odd named sites are anomalies. Don’t be fooled into thinking you can do the same. Unfortunately, Foamily.com, my discount surfboard company is the norm.
- Keep it short – For a number of reason like ease of typing, ease of remembering, and common sense, don’t make your domain name a novel if you don’t have to. It’s no wonder that domain names like ask.com, about.com, fitness.com and a host of others cost thousands and thousands of dollars while thebestsurfshopinkaneohe.com fall at the lower end of the price scale. The top five prices in domain names are: Insure.com – $16,000,000; Sex.com – $14,000,000; Fund.com – $9,990,000; Porn.com – $9,500,000; Business.com – $7,500,000.
- Make is easy to remember – That’s common sense right? While the word flicker is easy to remember, how many of us have debated the sites spelling when typing it in. Is it with or without the c? Is the e included? Sure, they’ve been successful, but were it available to purchase, They’d have been better off coughing up the money for flicker.com.
- Don’t use hyphens or numbers – Yes, hyphens and numbers will almost always guarantee you an available domain. That’s because nobody wants them. They aren’t easily accessible on the keyboard and are a nuisance to type time and again. There’s a good reason you’ve never heard of face-book.com
- Differentiate, be unique and don’t just use a variation of an already established website. With URL’s being claimed on a daily basis, it’s no easy task to find an appropriate and unique domain name. But keep searching because it can pay off. Being noodlehouse.com in a sea full of noodle restaurants is a plus. It sets you apart and makes you easier to find when customers are searching.
- Use a .com if possible. .org’s are ok for social/non-profit causes, and .co’s are popping up here and there, but still, .com’s are and will remain the primary domain suffix.
- If you’re products/services are locally based, you’d be wise to keep your domain local too. For example, if you own a lawn care business in Kaneohe, Hawaii, the domain www.kaneohelawncare.com is better for you than www.lawncare.com. Unless you’re trying to service the world market and have a huge marketing budget, stay local, let people know not only what you do, but also where you do it.
Well, that’s it for now. Getting a domain is an important step in setting up your website so make sure you get the best one possible. That being said, don’t let it stop you from moving forward. Don’t get paralyzed by domain buying phobia.
Hopefully this list helps point you in the right direction when getting a domain name (regarding pricing, take a look at my other article/post on the various hosting and domain companies: http://hiwebdesigns.com/choosing-a-website-hosting-plan/)
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