Chances are that you will be reading this article because you are either thinking of creating a new website or simply want to add to your existing collection of domain names. Maybe you are even unhappy with your current domain name and are looking for some tips and tricks which you can use next time. This article will look to provide you with some guidance the next time you find yourself in such a situation.
1. What keywords best describe your business?
Anybody who has ever bought or considered buying a domain name has shared the same problem… what on earth should I choose? For those of you who are representing a business, then generally the name of that business will be your first port of call. But what about if your setting up an independent blog or your business name is not suitable to be used as a domain name, for example it contains some uncommon spelling or is just really long? In this instance you should try to isolate the key aspects of your business or blog and build from there. For example, if you own a business that specialises in interior design then you may consider ‘creativeinteriors’ or something to that effect. In terms of a blog it is usually a good idea to use your own name as the domain name; this is because a blog is an extension of yourself and therefore using your own name allows it to become that more personal. After all, your audience may visit for the content, but they keep coming back because of your personality and writing style.
Excellent examples of well thought out domains are autotrader.com, hotmail.com (before it changed to outlook) and Webmd.com. You can guess what each respective website does by simply looking at the domain name. Or go really wacky, the graphic below shows its possible to be wacky and popular if your service quality speaks for itself.
Picture courtesy of http://www.dearblogger.org/best-domain-names
2. Make the domain name unique
The last thing you want from a domain name is for it to be familiar to other businesses as they will ultimately be taking away from your traffic. Before committing to buying a domain name, make sure to check around at other domains that may be similar to yours. For example the ‘creativeinteriors’ domain name would be less effective at getting traffic if the domain name ‘interiorcreative’ or ‘creativeinterior’ existed. In order for people to remember your domain name it needs to be memorable and therefore unique. Additionally, don’t choose a name that resembles a well-known business that already exists. For example, the popular photo sharing website Tumblr does not own tumbler.com, instead this domain is owned by a company that sells drinkware. If one of your friends asked you if you had seen something on ‘Tumbler’ you would immediately think of the photo sharing website and not the website that sells drinkware.
3. What top-level-domain (TDL) should I choose?
If you are not a multinational company then this decision will be made for you to some degree. For example if you supply trade to exclusively UK companies then you may prefer a .co.uk domain over a .com domain. This is because people are more likely to search for a .co.uk domain if they are looking for a UK based company. This will also increase the likelihood of your website appearing nearer the top of Google search results. If your business is not restricted by logistical boundaries then by all means select a .com domain as these are the most common and are therefore more likely to increase your internet exposure. There is of course the argument that if you have developed the most perfect of domain names then the extension won’t play a significant factor in its success. After all, who ever includes the domain name extension in their Google search? At the end of the day, a top level domain is not going to make or break your business.
4. Keep it short, simple and sweet
The average domain name contains between six and nine characters, while you do not have to limit yourself to these figures you get the idea that snappy domains are generally more effective. A domain name that is short has more benefits than you may at first appreciate. As well as being easier to remember, it is easier to say in public, easier to fit onto business cards and easier to spell. All of these factors play an equally important role in getting people to visit your website. This is especially true if you attend exhibitions where people will have many other websites thrown at them and it is often the most memorable which win the day. This also means trying to avoid hyphens, dashes and the like where possible and only including them if it is absolutely necessary.
5. Don’t buy from the first domain registrar you find
If you find that the domain you want is available then never go rushing to the first registrar you can find. In theory, if a domain name is available then it will be available everywhere. Your choice of registrar will however be restricted if you are looking for a country specific domain name such as .co.uk or .tv. A company called Nominet control the .co.uk domains and so you would have to go through them in order to buy a domain name. However if you are happy with domain names such as .biz, .net, .com then you should be able to shop around. There’s not a whole lot of variation in prices for a single domain name of a particular type, nevertheless it is always good to make sure. There will be a more significant variation between the different types of domain name though so have a clear plan in mind before you go looking for domain names.