Choosing a domain name is a very important process as it represents you or your company on the web. There are a number or important things to consider, not least to make your domain name memorable, but also to avoid sending your potential customers to a competitor’s website by accident.
.com, .org, .biz, .me …What Do I Pick?
There are sooooo many TLDs (domain name ‘endings’) out there, and new ones seem to become available all the time. Which do you pick? Do you need all of them?
Well there are some unscrupulous companies out there who will tell you that you must secure as many as possible otherwise ownership of your company name is at risk. This is absolute nonsense!
What I will say is that you always try and get a domain name for which the .com is available. This can be beneficial for three reasons:
- It can help add credibility to your site as it portrays brand/niche ownership.
- It allows you access to a global audience. That is not to say that people outside the UK cannot access your website if you have a .co.uk domain, but they may assume that your products or services are available ONLY in the UK, which if course may not be the case.
- It is more memorable. Some people just assume that all domains end in .com!
If you cannot get the .com, then .org or .net are the next best TLDs, unless you really do want to limit your services to your country with a country specific TLD like .uk or .au.
It can often be tempting to choose a more obscure TLD if the .com is not available, but keep in mind that if you have buyfromme.info and someone else owns buyfromme.com, what will happen if someone you gave your domain name to accidentally types .com instead of .info? Will they mistake that site for yours and buy from them instead?
You also don’t want to risk treading on anyone’s toes trademark wise. That could get very messy!
Make it Memorable and Easy to Write
The next step is to make the domain name memorable. Short and snappy is best, but sometimes it helps to squeeze in a keyword or two, although don’t get too hung up on keywords.
Choose your domain for your readers, not Google as Google doesn’t put much weight on keywords in domain names these days when it comes to search rankings. It is the quality and quantity of your content that earns you brownie points with Google.
If people are to be emailing you a lot through your domain name, then the longer your domain name is, the more likely they are to misspell it, causing the email to go AWOL, so again, short and snappy is best.
You will also want to avoid numbers and hyphens. People may leave out the hyphen or get it in the wrong place and numbers are hard to get across when giving out your domain name over the phone or face to face: is it the number 2 or is it spelt out as two?
If you choose a domain name with a hyphen, such as my-website.com, just because the domain name you actually wanted, mywebsite.com, was taken there us a pretty big chance that someone will leave out the hyphen and end up on what is potentially a competitor’s website.
Ideally you should try to pick a domain name that is easy to give out over the phone, rolls off the tongue, does not require explanation and is brand-able.
If you are having trouble, using a thesaurus can help you find alternative words. Remember not to make it too obscure though – it must still be easy to spell and memorable.
Do let me know in the comments below if you have a domain name that you need advice on and I will do my best to help. Or perhaps you have come across a particularly clever or memorable domain name somewhere that you want to share.