This post is not intended to be an exhaustive write-up on the subject of domain names, just an introduction to spark initial thinking. I hope it’s useful to you.
Tips on choosing a domain name
Domain names are very important in terms of your website. There are a number of things you should think about when setting up your website. A good domain name can enable you to be listed higher in the search engines and be memorable to people so they can find your site easily without necessarily having to search for your site first – it even makes a difference how long your domain name is and how uncomplicated it is. Keep in mind which alternatives of a domain name extension and domain name / close domain names to register and be careful with domain name choice to ensure that its not confusing or could be easily mis-spelt and so on.
Other considerations include checking who else has similar domain names – including ‘dot’ somethings which have the rest if the name the same e.g. http://www.dtwocreativeservices.net, .org, .info and there are also all the country domain extensions – if that is important and what the content / subject of their sites are.
There are many more factors you might need to consider when choosing a domain name. For some companies especially those that are mainly internet based, the name of the company and domain name may be critically important so domain name needs to be considered at the same time as creating the company and thinking of the company name. In all cases domain name and company name should be a consideration because of availability of domain names and/or possible costs of the domain name you would like to use.
You might want to do some research into the most popular keywords for your business sector, or your personal website main subject areas because including one or more of these keywords in your domain name may help you to appear higher in the search engines – but remember to keep your domain name as short as possible. Most people will not bother to type in a very long domain name unless they are really keen, or specifically need to view a website.
It remains possible to be quite creative with domain names – they don’t always have to be an exact reflection of the services offered or simply the company name. Some very effective domain names have been related to, but quite different from, the actual company name. Domains can be made popular as much for content and marketing them right as for being ‘accurate’ and exactly the same as the rest of the company. http://www.comparethemeerkat.com is one example, or http://www.thefuntheory.com/ by VW. This kind of lateral thinking could get you a good domain name where you might think one can’t possibly be found!
All the above suggestions also apply to domain names for personal websites too.
There are many websites and software that can help you with generating ideas for domain names today. It is more difficult to come up with original domain names as so many have already been registered. Thus sometimes it is easier to use something more unique in your domain name to give you a greater likelyhood of availability as well as uniqueness.
My own bad example…!
I will take my own original domain name (http://www.dtwocreativeservices.co.uk) to critique to highlight some of the potential bad things about choosing a domain, and so you might avoid the same mistakes I think I made…
D2 Creative Services is the original name of my business. I registered both dtwocreativeservices and d2creativeservices – it is most likely that people will automatically type d2creativeservices and not dtwocreativeservices, but it was important to register both names anyway. I came across another company recently that had only registered the letter version of their domain (like my dtwocreativeservices) and had not considered that they were probably loosing e-mails and perhaps even customers – by not also having the alternative (like d2creativeservices) which many people – even if you are careful to spell out your full domain when you give it out – will automatically try as a first option.
2. Too long / complicated
The domain http://www.dtwocreativeservices.co.uk is quite too long and not very catchy – but I did at least avoid having to use dashes in the name as a result. Its also difficult to say and spell out.
3. Considering the company name and domain name version of the name
I came up with my company name without spending time considering my company name as a domain – hence the two problems I’ve also highlighted above are I think partly a result of this. The one thing I did check was that the domain name of the company was available.
Over to you
Do you have any experiences or tips regarding choosing domain names that might help others, including links to domain name creation options / suggestions like software, or on-line websites — whether good or bad experiences – please share below so others can be inspired and helped too! 🙂
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