How to Pick a Great Domain Name
In this lesson, we will discuss how to pick a great domain name for your website. In the previous lessons, we went over how to find an idea for a website, what goes into website content development, and choosing keywords for your website.
Putting this all together will help you choose the best domain name for your website.
You need to take your time when choosing your domain name because it can determine how hard or easy your website will be to promote.
Below are some guidelines on how to pick a great domain name.
Your Domain Name Should Describe Your Website
By refining your website concept through research, you should be able tell people what your site is about using only two or three words. These are your main keywords for your website.
Using these keywords in your domain name will tell people exactly what your site is about. For example, if we are building a website that focuses on cat supplies, the domain name "catsupplies.com" tells people exactly what the website is about. On the other hand, "cats.com" suggests that the website is about cats in general, but not specifically about cat supplies.
Using keywords in your domain also helps you gain better search engine rankings. Search engines give more value to domain names that contain the keywords that people are searching for, and will rank websites that have the specific keyword in the domain name higher.
Your Domain Name Should Be Your Website Name
This may seem like common sense, but your website name should match your domain name. Having your website name and domain name the same makes it easier for people to remember and return to your website. For this reason, it is best to hold off on choosing a website name until you have registered a domain name.
What if you already have an established offline business? You should definitely try to get your business name as your domain name.
Your Domain Name Should Be Easy to Say, Spell, and Remember
You want to make sure that your domain name is easy to remember, especially after people see it or hear it. If you were to tell someone what your domain name is, would they know how to spell it?
Make sure that none of the words in your domain name can easily be confused with another word. For example, maneattraction.com and mainattraction.com sound the same, but are spelled different.
Another thing to consider is different variations of the same word. For example, if you were to tell someone that your website is womansforum.com, there is the possibility that they would type in womensforum.com when searching for your website.
Keep Your Domain Name As Short As Possible
Even though the majority of short domain names (single word domains) have already been taken, you still want to keep your domain name as short as possible.
A domain name can be up to 67 characters long, but you don't want to take up all 67 characters. This is because people won't be able to remember it, much less spell it without mistakes. For our cat supply example, the following domain name would probably not be a good choice: thebestcatsuppliesandproductsaround.com.
Choose the Most Appropriate Extension for Your Domain
An extension is what appears at the end of your domain name. Domains that end with .com are the most common and are shown by the search engines first, above the .net (networks), .org (non-profit organizations) and .biz (business) extensions. Learn more about domain name extensions.
If you have a highly recognized business, I would suggest registering not only the .com form of your domain name, but also the .org, .net, and .biz forms as well. This can help prevent the dilution of your domain name.
Country-Specific Domain Extensions
You can also choose a country specific extension if your business only serves and operates in a specific country. Here are some country specific extensions (there are also extensions for other countries that aren't listed here)
Country specific domain names will have a top-level country code (i.e. uk) and a subcategory code such as .co (for commercial enterprises) or .org (for non-commercial organizations). For example, catsupplies.co.uk would be for a commercial cat supply company based and serving the United Kingdom.
Remember, if you get a domain name that has an extension other than .com, be sure that you promote your website name with the full domain name.
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In our next article, we'll discuss how to find out if the domain name you want is available