How To Pick A Domain Name
So you have decided to create a website and you are looking for advice on how to pick a domain name. First lets look at what a domain name is and what it is used for:
A name that identifies a computer or computers on the Internet. - Wikipedia
In its simplest form a domain name is just the name that identifies you on the internet. But as the internet has exploded with people and ideas the domain name has become something more than just an identifier.
Your domain name is your brand, your brand is what you are selling. Now you may be thinking that you are not selling anything but at the very least you are selling yourself, your website, and your credibility. So when picking a good domain name you need to keep in mind what your name says about you, your site, your brand, and your credibility.
There are a couple of good points to remember when in search of the perfect domain name:
• Go with a .com!
• The shorter the better!
• Is it memorable?
• Is it related?
• Can you spell it?
• Can you get the alternatives?
Below I will discuss each of these points and what is important to remember about each as you search for a great domain name.
The most widely use and most recognized TLD is by far the .com domain. As you look for a great domain name keep in mind that .com's are the most popular and most of your potential visitors have been trained to think .com at the end of any name. People feel a little bit safer when visiting a .com verses a .info because the .com has credibility because it has been around so long. I would not however recommend a .com if it means sacrificing a lot in the remaining areas. For example a-really-long-name-with-dashes.com is not a good name even though it is a .com, use common sense and you should be safe here.
Take Away: Go with a .com name if you can but use good judgment because .com is not the only choice.
The shorter the name the easier it will be to remember and easier it will be to share. When in search of the perfect name size does matter and the shorter the name the better. In many cases keeping the name as short as possible will help your visitors remember it better, but not always. One example of a short name that would not be easy to remember would be unesco.com, short for Unlimited Export Services Corporation. As you can see the acronym is much shorter than the actual name but unless you knew the full name you would probably never remember the shorter acronym.
Take Away: A short domain name is good but if it is hard to remember you may want to find a longer name that sticks.
Have you ever met someone who had a common name but you forgot it 2 seconds after they told it to you? Most of us have had this happen to us, or have done it ourselves. On the other hand if someone tells you their name and it is unique or strange you are more likely to remember it. When picking your website name do not fall into the trap of looking for highly relevant keywords slammed together (the day of finding those are gone anyway) instead find a name that will catch someones attention and stick in their memory. Take this sites name for example, PostWorthy.com, in my opinion this is a very memorable name and I believe its uniqueness makes it very easy to remember.
Take Away: We have very small short term memory capacity the more memorable your website domain name the better chance a visitor will return at a later time.
This should be common sense, if your not trying to invent a word (i.e. - google, ebay, yahoo, ect.) then stick with words related to your core business. If you are a book store then pick a domain name related to book stores.
Take Away: This one is self explanatory, your name should indicate what you are about (unless you are trying to invent a name).
I could go on for days about why it is important to be able to spell your domain name but this is becoming less and less important. If you are going to be marketing your website on TV or radio then you want to be able to spell your domain name without explanation (1and1.com vs. OneAndOne.com). But since most website marketing these days is done over the web and through text links the ability to spell your name correctly is becoming less important. I still believe it is worth mentioning though because if you pick a difficult to spell word(s) for your domain name or your name is a domain hack then you could potentially lose a lot of type in traffic to your website or send that traffic to a competitors site.
Take Away: Most people are not great at spelling so make it easy on us and keep your domain name simple. If you must use difficult words or domain hacks then your site had better be worth the trouble!
I mentioned earlier that I feel it is important to get a .com domain but I will say that .com is not the only choice so always keep the alternatives in mind. Even if you get the .com you will probably want to go ahead and get the other major TLD's just in case. At a bare minimum I would suggest getting the .COM, .ORG, .NET domains if they are available otherwise if your website is successful you may fall prey to cyber-squatters.
Take Away: >COM is not the only choice (although it is the most popular) so keep the alternatives in mind. If you can get all the major TLD's for your domain name, so you do not fall prey to cyber-squatting.
Purchase Your Domain Name:
So where do you buy your domain name? Well there are many places that you could purchase a domain name but I would recommend you use GoDaddy.com $1.99 Domain Names. I personally use GoDaddy.com for all of my website related expenses and I have never had any complaints.
I also have written another article covering all the aspects of how to create a website. Check it out!