Choosing a Domain Name

There are a number of things to consider when choosing a domain name for your business. Here are some helpful hints, tips and nuggets of advice to help make sure you make the right decision and snap up the perfect domain name.

Two Essential Tools:

Google Keyword Tool — to assess a few of your chosen keywords for local search volumes (UK only), use the Google Keyword Tool at https://adwords.google.co.uk/select/KeywordToolExternal.  Enter a few keyword ideas and Google gives a free brainstorming session based on how many people actually search for those keywords and related ones.  INVALUABLE!

Bulk Domain Checking — to search through multiple domains for an available one, this is a great tool to save you time.  My favourite tool for this is from Daily at http://www.daily.co.uk/products/domain-names/domain-bulkreg.html

I have a number of techniques for using these and other tools to generate a comprehensive list of options and assess the best domain names to buy.  Get in touch here and we can discuss further.

Other Essential Tips:

 

    • Avoid confusing spelling. If your domain is targeted at a worldwide audience then stay away from words that are spelt differently throughout the world, such as words ending in ize(us)/ise(uk). This also applies to many words that have different meanings throughout the world. Some common english words are even offensive in other languages.

 

    • Avoid domain names that are very similar to others if possible. After all, you want customers coming to you, not your competitors! An exception to this rule is if you register the domain name of a commonly misspelt word, in the hope of catching additional customers, provided that you are not infringing on any trademarks.

 

    • Avoid domain names with words that join to form unintentional words such as “pen island” which reads “penisland”. Avoid them altogether or use captialization in marketing material or hyphens in the domain name to separate the words if really necessary.

 

    • Avoid hyphenated names – should you get a hyphenated name? There are a few things to consider here: people struggle to remember if your domain name has hyphens and where they are, so best avoided, unless all other domain names have gone and the hyphenated version is all you are stuck with. In this case it is probably better to choose another name altogether.

 

    • Avoid trademarked names – companies no longer need to open their chequebooks to get their names back. They just call their lawyers. Even if your site sells one brand, you need permission from that brand if you want to use their name in your domain name or one of your parked domains (for seo benefits). Check you are not infringing on an existing trademark or other name that rightfully belongs to another business or individual. An available domain name does not necessarily give you the right to register and use it.

 

    • Be Quick! Domain names are being snatched up fast so register asap unless you want to get stuck with leftovers.

 

    • Dot what? – there are various extensions available right now. For UK businesses, a .co.uk suffix is best.

 

    • If you take these alternate forms of a name, you will always have to promote your site with the full form of the name. Otherwise, users forget to add the necessary prefix or suffix. The best way to do this is to capitalise each word and remove spaces – e.g. Thedomainwebsite. In logos, using different shades or colours for the different words can work well.

 

    • It usually makes sense to get several domain names registered. If you have “yourname.com”, register “yourname.net” so no one else takes it. You can register your full business name and a shorter, easier to remember version. Some people even register common misspellings of their business’s name. (you don’t need a separate web page for each. Several domains can point to the same website.)

 

    • Keep it short – people need to remember it easily and type it into their browser quickly. Register the shortest name that your customers and visitors will associate with your website.

 

    • Keyword names, generic names or brand name domains? – there are huge benefits of having the keywords of your product or service in your domain name , but if you have or intend to creat a strong brand, then a domain name matching your brand name is very important. The name you use to advertise your product is the name that you want for your domain, because that is the first thing that people will likely type into their web browser.

 

    • Know your target audience – choose domain names that are appropriate for them. Depending on who you are targeting this could mean choosing names that sound sincere, cool, current, active, professional, or that use key words from the industry for example.

 

    • Plan for the future. If you are planning on releasing other products or services from this domain name in the future then don’t limit the relevance to the initial product or service. That being said internet marketing experts believe that your web site should have only one subject or focus. All products or services listed on the web site should be related. A web site with a broad focus is not as appealing to someone who is looking for particular information.

 

    • Plurals, and other forms of the domain name e.g. “the”, “go”, “my”, “4u”, “your”, etc. – if your preferred domain name is gone, the domain name registrar may suggest alternate versions of the name you want. For example, if you were after datingwebsite.com, it might suggest forms like: thedomainwebsite.com, mydomainwebsite.com, domainwebsites.com

 

    • Register a long domain name containing a list of relevant words for your web site to achieve a higher ranking in some search engines. Several of the major search engines rank web sites much higher if the search terms are contained in the domain name. You can use up to 63 characters to create a long domain name with keywords and automatically redirect visitors to the real web site. Some registrars offer the redirect service as standard in their price.

 

    • Register the domain name in the correct global or country level domain. For universal appeal use a .com, .info, .biz, .org, or .net domain. For local appeal use an appropriate domain in your country, such as .co.uk or .org.au. Note that many domains have restrictions on what domain names can be registered. In some domains you can only use a name that is derived from a registered business or organization name.

 

    • Avoid confusing spelling. If your domain is targeted at a worldwide audience then stay away from words that are spelt differently throughout the world, such as words ending in ize(us)/ise(uk). This also applies to many words that have different meanings throughout the world. Some common english words are even offensive in other languages.

 

    • Avoid hyphens between words if possible. A domain name with hyphens is harder to describe when said aloud. It is commonly accepted that a domain name with multiple words does not include hyphens. An exception to this rule is when choosing a domain name that has many words or words that are hard to decipher. Consider using capitalization when displaying the domain name in marketing material instead. For example, WebDesignTrainingCourses.co.uk is easier to read than webdesigntrainingcourses.co.uk.

 

    • Get the opinions of others. When you have settled on several available name choices, see what your friends and clients have to say. A name that may make perfect sense to you may be too hard for other people to remember. Is your domain easy to say? Is it hard to spell? Do you have to explain why you chose the name?

 

  • Your domain name should be your website name – naming your site after your domain may seem obvious to some of you, but you’ll be surprised to learn that not every website is named after the domain name even when the webmaster owns that domain name.