Ten Tips for Choosing the Best Domain Name


 09/23/2014 12:00 AM

A memorable domain name is one of the greatest weapons in a webmaster's arsenal. It makes promotional efforts stick, it gives the website a sense of authenticity and authority, and it prevents competitors from latching onto the idea later. Finding an official domain name can be frustrating though, especially with so many good ones already taken. Make it easier by coming up with something that's unique to your particular website. Learn from those who came before you, and listen to these ten tips for picking perfect domain names.

1. Use descriptive keywords

And what is a domain name really, except for an address that directs the world to your corner of the Internet? Your domain name is your online address, and unlike the street grids and house numbers of real-life contact info, this one has to be as easy to find and remember as possible. It also has to say something immediate about the business or brand, whether that's a call to action, a reminder of the services you provide, or a clever pun about your city. In order to make sure it pops up in search results and describes exactly what you want it to, brainstorm keywords and then get creative with the most important ones.

2. Make sure it's a dot com

It's not mandatory for every successful website to have a domain that ends in ".com". However, it's the wisest move for websites that want to stay visible, because it's still the default for URLs. Your contacts will only have to plug the domain name into the address bar to find you, instead of digging for your card or copying and pasting a link.

3. Keep it short

It might sound counter-intuitive to pick a domain name that's both descriptive and brief, but good keyword phrases are short anyway. If you can find two or three words that sum up your website and are catchy enough to remember, that's great, but one word is even easier to type and remember. Shorter URLs can also weather character limits better, facilitating more social media sharing.

4. Don't copy anyone

Be careful about getting creative with recognizable names and brands, because copyright infringement doesn't make for good PR. In fact, you might be copying another business without even realizing it. Before you finalize any domain name registration, check the phrase for copyrights first.

5. Don't be impulsive

Your domain name will quickly become a part of your online image, so it's important to find one that will work forever. You don't want to be inconsistent by changing your domain name later, especially if customers get used to looking you up that way.

6. Be appropriate

It's good to get creative, but you also want to make sure your name is relevant and appropriate to your particular demographic. If your domain name involves funny word play, you'd better be positive that your target audience will understand it.

7. Stick to the alphabet

Simplicity is best, especially if you want your domain name to be memorable and easy to look up later. Leave out the numbers, symbols and punctuation marks.

8. Make it memorable

Rhymes, keywords, and brief phrases are good ways to make your domain name easy to remember. To make sure it will stick in people's heads, share it with friends and family members and ask them to recall it a few days later.

9. Avoid alternate spellings

Again, you want people to type your domain name into their browser and find your website on the first try. Don't incorporate intentional misspellings or clever abbreviations that could throw them off.

10. Try different combinations

You might settle on the perfect domain name, only to find out it's already registered by someone else. Don't give up on it just yet. Try different combinations of the same phrase, or add words like "the", "a", "my" or "your" onto the front of it. If the other website isn't active or doesn't have anything to do with yours, no one will get the two confused and you can still take advantage of the phrase you found.

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