Finding the right domain name is obviously a very important step in launching your new website. While not directly tied to hosting, there is an obvious connection people make between your website and your domain name. We have a lot of experience with these sorts of issues, so we will try to explain what goes into a great domain name.
There are two main strategies when it comes to choosing a domain name. We will discuss those below. There are some other concerns that should be mentioned as general rules:
- Use a .COM! A majority of people still, and probably always will, assume the .com portion of a domain name. When someone sees your results in the search engines, there is also an inherent trust given to a .com. Imagine you’re searching online and you see mywebstore.com and mywebstore.net. Which would you choose to click on first?
- Avoid trademarks. Including someone’s trademark or even being close can be an extremely dangerous domain on the Web. If you are making an Apple review site, it might be tempting to use something like iPhoneReviews.com, but you will find if your site becomes at all popular, you will be facing legal charges. It’s best to avoid this altogether.
- Don’t use dashes or numbers. I know sometimes it seems almost impossible to find the .com domain name you really want, but don’t despair and don’t settle. Domain names with dashes or numbers are generally frowned upon by web users and also search engines. It also makes telling people about your domain difficult. For example, “Hey Steve, my site is my web store. Uhh, it has dashes between all of the words. I mean it is my dash web dash store dot com.”
A “brandable” domain name is a clever or unique word (or made-up word) that can be stuck in someone’s head or is different enough to make an impression. For example, let’s say you were making a website about a great new toilet paper you designed. In our example, assuming this didn’t already exist, a great brandable name might be Charmin.com. This has the advantage of being short, it “feels” soft and importantly is most likely available for registration.
In general, you want to keep your brandable domains as short as possible and reasonably like a word. A domain like yytb.com while short is not very brandable compared to something like papr.com. Yes, this is obviously extreme but you see what we are getting at.
A “discoverable” domain refers to one that is keyword rich. For our previous example of toilet paper, a great discoverable domain would be toiletpaper.com. These types of domains are easy to remember, rank extremely well in the search engines, and also give you an instant idea of the content of the site. Of course, there are downsides to this approach. For one, a keyword-rich domain name is often very expensive to purchase. Also, these types of domains sometimes feel very generic and it can make them tough to market. However, this is not always the case.