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12 Rules for Choosing the Right Domain Name

12 Rules for Choosing the Right Domain Name
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The domain name you choose is the web address for your personal or business website. The domain name should therefore be the best option available to represent your interests online. The following are useful tips that you can follow to make it easy for you to choose the right domain name also known as domain. Fortunately, many sites have tools to help you search for the available domains before registration. These 12 Rules will work for anyone whether you are hosting a personal or company website, a blog or a website for a friend.

1. Optimize the Domain Name with 3 to 5 Popular Keywords

Words communicate. They convey a message. Use the Free Google Keyword Tool to find popular keywords people are searching for in the search engines, which are related to your niche. Use Google Keyword Analyzer to see a traffic estimate of how many people are searching the words/phrases. Then you will see if the keyword is popular or not. This will help you to know which keywords to use in your particular niche. Pick 3 to 5 keywords which have a high demand and try to combine them to get the appropriate domain name that will describe what you are doing. Optimize your domain name with strategically used keywords. Use keywords which the online population and your competitors use mostly when they are searching online for the products or services you intend to sell. This will market you and generate traffic to your website.

2. Make the Domain Name Unique and Catchy

A unique name is necessary for promoting your site. If you make it catchy you engage the audience to take interest in finding out what your website is all about. Choose or create a unique domain name which will stand out in the crowd. This name will be able to help your online store to get noticed and to generate traffic. Never ever use a domain name that is similar to domain name of popular online stores. When prospective customers browse your website and they find that they are on the wrong site, they may leave negative comments on your website, pass word around using social media sites or tell their friends about it and this will make you lose traffic and be penalized by Google. Create positive impressions on your targeted audience by choosing a unique and memorable domain name that will lead to a unique website that has the potential of earning you long-term profits.

3. Use Dot.Com if available

Dot.com is so popular that when you enter a website name on the search engines without a top-level domain extension, they search it with a .com extension before using any other. There are also many people who assume that all domain names have a .com extension. When these people search the internet, they have a tendency of typing .com at the end of website addresses. If you do no purchase a dot-com name you are likely to cut-off this class of online visitors and lose on sales. If you have like a .net website and there is a similar website ending with a .com extension, the traffic will be directed to the .com website and you may lose customers to competitors. Only the tech-savvy know much about other TLD options but most of them like .net, .org, .co, .cc, .biz and .us have become popular but .com has been reported to be the best.
Fortunately, web hosts have domain name search tools which show the names available in other domain name extensions which are gaining popularity. If your preferred name has been taken and you find it hard to create a new one, you can use the next in line of popularity such as .net, .org and .co.uk for UK or a country-code ccTLD like .us. If your business operates in the local market, you can register a domain name for that specific country. Wikipedia has a list of the Country-code ccTLDs for each country.
Do not make the mistake of using similar names as those used by your competitors because you will lose your traffic to them if they use .com while you use the same domain name with .net,.org or .biz extensions.

4. Keep the Domain Name Short and Simple

Unless you have the finances necessary to plunge into branding, ensure that the domain name is short and simple matching with you website name. People should be able to recognize it and relate it with the products/services you sell. Short names are easily remembered and one can spell and type them without thinking too hard about them. Such names also fit well on business cards, logos and URLs. Your prospective customers will find it easy to spell and type them when browsing the internet. When people search they key-in words that are easy for them to spell and type.
Long URLs which are complex put some people off if they have to crack their heads to remember them. An exception to this is when a website is crucial to them and they have visited it many times. But, if your site is new and you are striving to build your online presence, always make it as short and simple as you can.

5. Easy to Remember

When you make it easy for people to remember your domain, they will browse it as a good habit to check what’s up and pass word around to their friends using the social media or word-of-mouth. Make the name memorable so people can remember it without much effort. You can read it out to someone else and find out if he remembers it after a short while. If not, try to change it.

6. Easy to Spell and Type

Think about what would happen if customers miss-spelt your domain name. They would miss your website altogether or end up in the wrong site. Since you do not want this to happen, choose names which are easy to spell and type on search engines. Make sure people can spell the name correctly when they hear it or when they are given the name verbally i.e. over the phone. People are hesitant to type difficult words which they may type wrongly and have to think hard about them. An exception to this rule is when people click links. Any word will do since they don’t have to type it. If your site sorely depends on direct links this rule may be skipped.

7. Set your Site Apart by Branding

A strong brand name is a great advantage to any type of business. A domain name which uses the same name as the brand name or its company name cuts the edge in competition. That is why branding and marketing play an important role in getting a business a wide following. If your offline company name, brick-and-mortar physical store, logo, stationery, trucks, uniforms and offline promotions bear the same name however meaningless it may look or sound, customers get acquainted to it. They learn to associate your domain name with the brand or company name. In such a case, it would be advisable to register the same name as your domain name. Later on, you can register more domain names and create links to your main e-commerce website.

8. Avoid Using Numbers and Hyphens

Hyphens are not easy to remember for most people. Avoid using hyphens which are usually left out when spreading word around by word-of-mouth. Imagine someone talking on the phone and saying ‘’dash this and that’’. Even when they are being typed, people usually forget where the hyphens were placed. If you have no other choice but to use them, use one hyphen only, but do not use underscores like ‘’winning_domain.com’’. Numbers which add value to the tone of the domain name are fine but make them easy for people to remember i.e. “domains4hotels.com”. Other domains like “10toesNailcutter.com’’ may be hard to forget but 10 may not add value to the sale of nail cutters. Roman numerals can be confusing if they are communicated verbally like domainIVhotels.com.

9. Avoid Infringing Copyrights

Copyrights are intellectual property rights protecting owners from unauthorized use of domain names they have copyrights to. By all means avoid infringing copyrights when you are registering a domain name because it would put you in the wrong side of the law. It can also mean the end of your domain name and your company. Before you register any domain name, ensure that you have not infringed someone else’s copyright by visiting copyright.gov. Make sure you search this site thoroughly before you buy an existing or older domain name. Avoid using similar or related domains like those used by your competitors or the Big Brands to avoid violating their trademarks.

10. Creating and Fulfilling Expectations

A great domain name has the potential of creating and fulfilling customer expectations. It should convey the right message. When people see or hear the domain name they should be able to know almost accurately what your website offers. The domain name should be related to the website name and the contents within the site. The name should be intuitive enough to be understood by your targeted audience and catch their attention. Non-intuitive names like Google, Xerox, Kodak, Flickr etc. require a lot of investment in branding and marketing. These are Big Brands which you may not be able to compete with.

11. Don’t Be Carried Away by the Latest Trends

When you are choosing a domain name pick the one that will stand the test of time. There are many companies which previously went with the hype. Some registered 2000 Millennium domains and years after that they are still the same. Avoid misspellings, hyphens and words which are not inspiring. Some of these words and hyphens may be OK for marketing campaigns and promotions but not for a long-term domain name or website name.

12. Utilize Ajax Selection Tool

The sites that utilize Ajax domain search tool make searching for available domain name hassle-free. When you enter possible names on the AJAXWhois.com or Domjax.com, Domize, squurl, DomainsBot etc. domain search, you end up with a wide selection of domains which you can pick and then register with the domain registrar you choose.

Last modified onFriday, 05 April 2013 03:32
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