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How To Pick a Domain Name That Doesn’t Suck

December 21st, 2007 posted by · 1 Comment

There’s an art to picking a good domain name that most people aren’t aware of. A lot of folks don’t think things through when picking a new domain name and that’s one of the contributing factors leading to their online demise.

Here’s a run down of guidelines every webmaster should follow when thinking of registering that new domain.

.Net, .Org or .Com?

Unless you’re an organization, there’s no need to use a dot-org. Most political parties, non-profit organizations and charities use this generic top-level domain (gTLD).

The dot-net domain extension was previously used widely by network oriented entities such as Internet service providers. Currently, there’s no set rule on who can register and use a dot-net domain. It’s often treated as a second choice when a dot-com isn’t available.

Dot-com is one of the big ones and chances are you’ll want to try to register this extension as your first choice. It’s also one of the most recognizable and oldest gTLDs, with the first one being registered in 1985.

Stay Away From .Info and .Name

Dot-info domains are commonly associated with sites promoting scams or hosting spammers. They do not have enough credibility to be recognized globally as a reliable source of information. Dot-name domains fall into this same category.

Make It Short & Sweet

The shorter your domain is, the better. People like short and to-the-point domain names. It will also benefit your business if your clients can remember your site without thinking about it too much. Also try to limit the amount of words you place in your domain. Sometimes it can get confusing if there’s too many words and people mix up their order when trying to visit your site.

Sites using multiple words in their domain tend to use hyphens to link their phrase. Don’t do this! For one thing, it doesn’t look visually appealing in the address bar and it’s a pain to tell someone over the phone that your site is for example.
It’s also extremely important that when your domain is spoken, it’s spelled as people would expect. Many sites use “bux” as opposed to “bucks”, or “kash” instead of “cash”. The rule of thumb I use when picking a domain is this: “If I were to buy a radio commercial, can this domain name be heard clearly without being confused or interpreted?”

Protect Yourself and Your Brand

If your site’s domain can be spelled an alternative way, such as differentiations in a country’s spelling, register both. Example: Colour (Canadian spelling) and Color (American spelling).

It can also be a good idea to register multiple domains under different extensions. If your main site is dot-com, register dot-net and dot-org as well. This will protect you from copycats.

When was registered, they also registered (three O’s). Sometimes people make a typo when typing a URL and can be taken to another site, but yours. To prevent this, register similar domains that could be mis-spelled by someone typing in a hurry.

Do You Have Domain Name Seniority?

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1 Comment so far
  1. Jackie MyAvatars 0.2

    Honestly, no bragging, really but aside from my ‘jackie’ domains I think I come up with some pretty catchy domains! OH and I have always stayed away from ANYTHING that was NOT .com but I do have one .info that I got cheap a while back. :mrgreen: