Picking the right domain name can be important to the success of your Internet business. There are a few different criteria when picking your domain name, and in this article, I will go over these in detail.
Why it’s important to choose the right domain name
Your domain name will probably be one of the first things your visitors notice about your site. So it’s important it instills confidence, gives a good idea of what your site is about, and can be remembered.
A domain name that matches the site name.
Ideally, you should name your site after your domain. Naming a site after its domain name is important because when people search for your website they search for it by the name that they hopefully have remembered.
If you’re just starting your own online business, you might prefer to obtain a domain name first, and then name your website (or business) after the domain name that you’ve acquired. So if you’ve acquired, the domain name “mymoletraps.com”, then your website should be named “My Mole Traps”.
Typical features of a great domain name
- Easily spelled
- Descriptive or brandable
- No hyphens or numbers
Domain names can be of any length up to 67 characters.
I personally prefer a shorter name if it is meaningful. I would definitely avoid a name verging on 67 characters, keep it short and simple.
Keyword-rich or brandable
You can make your domain either keyword-rich or brandable.
A keyword-rich domain
This is a domain that has the keyword that you are targeting in the domain name. Keyword-rich domains used to get an extra boost in the search engines a few years ago, but now it is not a necessity.
There are some downsides to keyword-rich domains:
- Most keyword-rich non-hyphen domain names are already taken.
- The keyword-rich domains that are available will usually contain hyphens that are easily forgotten.
A brandable domain
If you look at the most popular sites today they all have brandable names (not keyword-rich) for example Google, Twitter, Facebook, Bing, eBay, Yahoo…
Advantages of branded domains include:
- Easier to find available .com names.
- No hyphens necessary
Brandable domain names also have disadvantages as well:
- The domain name is not indicative of the website content.
- Marketing and advertising costs are initially higher as you develop brand awareness.
- It may take longer to rank well in the Search Engines.
I would go for a brandable domain name which should work just as well as a keyword-rich domain with the advantage that it is easier to remember.
Are hyphens good in a domain name?
The main problem with hyphens is that people forget to include them in the title and end up on another site.
The main reason for choosing a hyphenated name is that the non-hyphenated version is already taken. This way you can get the domain name you wanted, albeit with a hyphen.
Personally, I avoid hyphenated names if possible, but if it’s the only way to get the domain name you want why not. I have one site with a hyphenated name and it doesn’t pose any problem.
Different forms of the domain name
If you can’t get the domain name you want, the domain name registrar will often suggest alternative forms of the name. For example, if the name you wanted was moletraps.com, and it was already taken the domain registrar might suggest:
and other similar names that are still available.
In the example above the “mymoletraps.com” form of the domain name is acceptable, but you should always promote your website with the full name.
Should you use only a dot com domain?
When you have decided on your domain name, but the .com version is already taken what should you do?
While the .com domain is the most popular many companies use other top-level domains (TLDs) without any problem.
If your website or business caters to the local community, such as a shop, plumber, restaurant or the like, then you can go for a country-specific domain.
If your site or business benefits from an international audience and your choice of domain with .com is already taken I would take an alternative TLD, but make sure you always promote your website with the full domain name “perfectdomain.net” or “perfectdomain.org”.
Tip for finding a domain name.
If you can’t come up with a domain name that you are happy with there is a site, NameStation.com, that will help you come up with a name for your website. You can use this site to find your new name or use it to give you some ideas. They do have name-generating contests which cost money, but when the contests are finished all the suggested names are made public and you can see them for free.
The main point in all this is getting your domain name before you start your site or business. Then name your website after your domain. Personally, I would keep it as short as possible and make it brandable. It’s not a good idea to make your domain name so long and clumsy that it’s hard to read and remember. One last point if you do buy your domain name don’t pay too much, an average price is around $10.
Should you buy a domain name or use a free domain?
Now that you have chosen your domain name, you need to decide if you want a free domain or if you are going to pay for a domain.
Get a free domain with free hosting.
It is possible to get a free domain with free hosting and this is probably a good way to go if you are just starting. To do this you will need to set up an account with Wealthy Affiliate.
There is no cost to set up your account and included with your account are 2 free websites. This page and video will show you how to set up your free website. These free websites also have free hosting so you don’t have to pay anything to get started.
The only downside of this is the domains are not .com or.org but are.siterubix.com. This is no problem, they are treated as normal domains in the search engines and you can change later to a .com domain if you like. Personally, I started with a free domain and changed to my present domain after a few days.
If you have any questions or comments about choosing a domain name I would love to hear from you.