25 September 2015

How To Choose Your Domain Name

When building a website one of the most important things you are going to have to do is choose a name. The domain name is how your customers will be able to navigate directly to your site. You will want it to be memorable, but there are few other things to think about when picking your name.

Choosing a domain

Top level domain matters.

The top level domain (or TLD) is the final part of your domain name after the dot. .com, .co.uk, .net, etc. In recent years there has been an explosion in the available TLDs, but the fact remains that for now .com is still king. Most people associate .com with the internet and for many it's their default choice when trying to remember a name. Depending on the country you are based in, sometimes your countries TLD can be a good second choice, especially if your business is focused locally. But be careful, it does depend on the country. .co.uk is pretty popular in the United Kingdom, but .us is almost unheard of, even in the USA.

Be careful with some of the trendy country code TLDs that have grown in popularity recently. Never forget that these country based domains may be governed by rules and regulations of countries that may not share the same values as you. For example, the currently very trendy .ly domain (used by bit.ly and many others) is administered by Libya. Are you ready to ensure that your website complies with Libyan law, or risk it being shut down?

Think about the pronunciation and spelling

You're going to have to say your domain name a lot. Every time you tell a possible customer about your website you will need to pronounce your domain name. If they can't work out how to type your name, you are going to have to spell it out for them. You want to avoid names that have spellings that don't obviously match their pronunciation.

  • microsoft.com - Good, it's spelt exactly like it sounds.

  • reddit.com - Bad. say it out loud. that could be readit.com or redit.com. You'll end up saying "reddit.com, that's r - e - d - d - i - t" every time.

Keep it short

Short names are easier for your customers to remember, and the easier it is for them to remember the more likely they are to end up on your site. Short domain names can be hard to come by, but if you can find a good one they are worth it. All of the three and four letter .com domain names were taken years ago so unless you have deep pockets or get very lucky you aren't going to nab anything that short, unless you are happy to explore alternative TLDs. Short doesn't have to mean that short though, anything short enough to be quick and snappy to say is an advantage,

Try to avoid dashes

Sometimes adding a dash can help you get a domain name for your business that might otherwise be taken, but do it with caution. Remember that any character you add is going to have to be pronounced every time you say your domain to a customer.

For the same reason it's also best to try and avoid numbers where you can. When you read the domain to your customer you will have to explain whether they should type the number itself, or spell out the word.

Typing on keyboard

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