Choosing a Domain Name – 3 Simple Rules

Registering a proper domain name is essential for your business. First, it might be helpful to think of your domain name as a phone number. When someone types in your domain address, it is in essence dialing up your website. While having an easy to remember domain name is crucial, it is not the only factor to consider.

Let’s start with something simple, the domain extension. With millions of websites, we now have a variety of choices beyond the .com including .net, .org, .biz and many more. With .com being the oldest extension, it is usually the first that comes to mind for most people and ultimately the best for most companies. One exception to this is non-profits where it is popular to have the extension .org. This leads to another valuable point: if possible, always buy the most popular extensions for your domain name. The extra extensions can then be forwarded to your main domain name. With domains costing about $15 each per year, this is a cheap and easy way to make sure no one muscles in on your domain name.

The spelling of your domain name is important to your success online. If your brand name uses an unusual spelling, or a commonly misspelled word, it is best to try to find a domain name that may be more mainstream or easier to spell. Example: I am starting a company in Tucson called Falling to Pieces and I sell puzzles. I buy the domain name FallingToPieces.com. There is a good chance that people will misspell pieces as peices. Knowing that, it would be wise to buy both FallingToPieces.com and FallingToPeices.com, the misspelled one would then be forwarded to the correct one.

Lastly, try to avoid using hyphens or numbers instead of words. Adding in hyphens becomes confusing and hard to remember where they should go. The same goes for numbers instead of words. If your brand name is not available, maybe you should focus on using keywords. Using my fake puzzle company above as an example, if FallingToPieces.com was not available, I could try using keywords such as TucsonPuzzles.com. This would help with my search engine rankings for people in Tucson searching for puzzles. We will talk a lot more about this later.

Follow these 3 simple rules and you can’t go wrong:

  1. Keep it short
  2. Make it memorable
  3. Try not to use special characters that make things difficult

Remember, domain names sell quickly! If you find one you like, make sure you buy it!

This post was written by Brandon on February 22, 2012
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The boss of all things CSS, he taught himself web design when GeoCities was popular. He is also pretty handy with Photoshop when needed. Contact him at: brandon@gowebsolutions.com or on Google+

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