Find a Domain, How Do I Get A Website Name
Your domain name is important, it is the first contact point people see of your website. If they like what they see there is a greater incentive to click through to your URL. When your site appears in the search engine listings, as a link on another sites or on your business card, your domain name will indicate what people can expect from your web site.
Choosing a domain name
Choosing a domain name you like is not difficult. On the other hand, choosing a domain name that’s available that you like can be a very time consuming (but fun) process. If you search systematically and consider all the permutations of the website name and website niche, you will get lucky, I promise.
- One thing to remember when choosing a domain name, you are not limited to buying domains from domain registrars. Established domains can also be offered for sale.
Make your domain name memorable and relevant to your company, product or service. If your domain name is completely irrelevant to your chosen web site topic, then people are less likely to click through and visit your site. In addition, if your domain name is too long, difficult to type, looks like a spam link or simply looks unprofessional then you will definitely not get visitors.
- Only register your domain name through an ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, http://www.icann.org/) accredited registrar. I personally use GoDaddy and JustHost (where this site is hosted) to register my domain names. You can research your domain name choices at any of the recommended registrars listed in my article, Where to Register Domain Names.
Three Choices When Choosing a domain name
You have three basic choices for the type of domain name to buy.
1) A business name, possibly your family name.
If you already have a business then it makes sense to use the business name for your domain name, assuming it hasn’t already been taken.
2) A keyword name (keywords of the product or service).
If you have a niche product or service then a domain name highlighting the product could be a good idea, i.e. Joes-Dalmations.com.
3) A generic name, i.e., because you made it up.
A generic name gives you versatility and doesn’t tie you down. It also enable you to create a brand without any former preconception. Just think Google, Yahoo, Airfix, Armco, Biro, Durex, Polaroid or Ribena. The list is almost endless.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Domain Name
Your Domain Name Should be Your Website Name
Naming your site after your domain may seem obvious, but you’ll be surprised by the number of websites not named after the domain name.
Naming a site after its domain name is important. When people think of your website, they’ll think of it by name. When your name is also your website URL, they’ll automatically know where to go. For example, this site is called King Solutions (I hope that was obvious) so people will automatically type in kingsolutions.com, kingsolutions.co.uk, etc.
Memorable Domain Names
Make your domain name easy to remember and memorable. A catchy word or phrase helps. After all, you do want people to remember your name and return time and time again, right?
Keep Domain Names Short
Keep the domain name short if possible, preferably less than 30 characters in length. Shorter domain names are easier for visitors to remember. I seem to remember reading somewhere that the average length for domain names is about 11 characters.
- The longest website name I could find was, http://www.thelongestdomainnameintheworldandthensomeandthensomemoreandmore.com, do you fancy typing that into your browser? I bet it would stop most people visiting the site!
Most experts agree that long versus short domain names have little or no effect on your search engine rankings. There is in fact a maximum number of allowed characters in a domain name of 63 character (determined by ICANN) which popular registrars like GoDaddy strictly enforce.
Customer Friendly Domain Name
A good domain name plays a vital role in your web marketing efforts so try to create customer friendly domain names.
In generally, you want a domain name to be something easily remembered, easy to type (20 characters max), meaningful, related to your website content and preferably keyword-rich. A keyword rich domain name is not too important, but every little helps.
Avoid long URLs and the overuse of hyphens and underscores. Write your preferred domain name on a piece of paper by hand and check very, very carefully for unwanted meanings or puns.
Here are some examples of domain that went astray:
- Therapist Finder
- Pen Island
- Experts Exchange
As an aside, although I say these domain names went astray from their original meaning, they certainly have received a lot of publicity because of it. Something to think about maybe!
Avoid Tricky, Confusing Names
It may be funny and quirky to pick a name containing strange spellings or unusual characters (!$&#, i.e. my!bay.com, etc.) but if you have to explain how to spell your domain name then people will get it wrong and once again you are potentially sending your visitors to a competitors site.
Your chosen name should be easy for the average person to spell. Choose words that are spelled the way they are pronounced. If there are alternate spellings (misspellings), consider buying them too and redirecting them all to your web site.
Think Like a Marketer
Would your domain name work if it were up on a huge billboard or said over the telephone or on a commercial? Does it have commercial appeal? If yes, then it will be easy to market, especially if you are creating a business website. When choosing a domain name think, publicising, think marketer.
Should You Break Domain Names With Hyphens?
Most people will forget hyphens or put it in the wrong place, so if at all possible avoid using a hyphenated domain name.
The most common reasons for inserting hyphens into a domain name is either to make a long domain name easier to read or because the domain name without hyphens is already taken.
- Hyphens may help search engines to parse your domain for keywords but the difference hyphens make to search engines is minimal at best, most will parse the keywords from your site name regardless of hyphens. Try to shorten your potential domain name before opting for hyphens or try alternative keywords with the aid of a thesaurus.
The downside of using hyphens because your domain name choice without hyphens is taken is; most people who try to return to your website are going to enter your websites name without the hyphens. , You could potentially be sending your visitors to a competitor’s site. How many of your favourite sites use hyphens in their domain name?
Keyword Rich Domain Names
Keyword rich domain names require less SEO work in some niche markets to rank well for your main keywords (or so they say). Try it, type a keyword into a search engine. Do all the domain names for the top sites have the keyword in their name? See if it matters in your niche.
- There is no proof that search engines place significant weight on keywords occurring in domain names. It’s only speculation that they look at the URL at all.
Even if search engines do check the URL for keywords, it is not important where in the URL they occur. In most cases, long domain names stuffed with keywords as search engine ‘fodder’ is most unattractive as your main domain and breaks all the rules for a good, memorable domain name.
Buy a .com or Country Code Domain
If possible buy a .com suffix as they are the most desirable. Sadly, most good, short, easy to remember .com suffixes have been taken. The alternative is to buy the country code domain, (.uk for the United Kingdom, .au for Australia, .ca for Canada, .de for Germany, .cn for China, etc.). I would advise buying both if possible. While there are others, .net” and .org, people tend to forget these and type in .com first.
Check for Copyright
Don’t use domain names that are copyrighted. (Sorry if that’s too obvious).
Spend some time researching and thinking about a name before purchasing it. Sleep on your decision for a few days. Use your thesaurus to brainstorm alternatives, you never know, you might think of something better. If you’ve found a really good name, don’t wait too long though, for the sake of a few dollars it’s not worth the chance of loosing the name to someone else.
Check for Domain Name Availability
Once you’ve decided on a domain name it’s time to check for domain name availability. Any good registrar can do this for you, I personally use GoDaddy but any of the registrars listed in my article, Where to Register Domain Names are equally good.
Find a Domain, How Do I Get A Website Name Conclusion
Whilst choosing a domain name do remember one very important fact.
- Although your domain name is important, it’s the content of your web site that ultimately determines the success or failure of your website. There is no such thing as the “ultimate domain name”, so pick a good one and concentrate on content.
As I’ve said, you can research your domain name choices at any of the registrars listed in my article, Where to Register Domain Names. Most of these registrars provide domain name registration, domain name hosting, FREE domain name search facilities and some even give you a FREE domain name if you accept their domain name hosting package.
Well, I hope you found something useful and enjoyed this article, Find a Domain, How Do I Get A Website Name. Don’t forget to let me have your thoughts in the comment box below. See you soon.