Whether you are starting an online business, a personal blog or a global enterprise you must understand one thing that is crucial right from the beginning to help your website be more successful, that thing being you domain name. Having your own domain name and website will be a long term investment and much more beneficial for your online business. Here is a guide to help you with choosing a good domain name and avoiding some common mistakes.
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What you should do
Relevancy is the most important aspect when trying to decide on a domain name. On the Internet, nobody knows who you are. You don’t have a shop front for visitors to just walk by and see through your window (until you become a big name like Amazon). The only thing people can link to your online business is your domain name, so think of a name that tells you market what you are all about. Try to think of relevant catchy names. This can be a difficult job especially as most of the common domain names have been taken. Here are some guidelines you can try. (In this example we use an example product “children’s toys by John Smith”)
- Names related to the product of your business eg childrenstoys
- Names related to the creator of the product of your business eg Smithstoys
- Names related to the broad category of your product eg toysforchildren
- Names related to the audience your are marketing eg preschooltoys
It is a general rule that your domain name should contain your keywords but more importantly it should also be short, catchy and easy to remember.
In most case your preferred domain name is probably taken. If it is a popular niche hundreds of other people around the world would also be trying to get the same domain name. It is best to have a few potential domain names ready. Sometimes you can add two of your keywords together or you can choose to add your own name into it so it’s easy to remember eg johnschildrensbooks.com
Another way to go around it is to add the words “the” or “my” at the start, like or “site” or “shop” at the end, such as “thetoyshop” or “childrenstoyshop” or even adding the letters “i” or “e” at the start like “etoys”.
What you should not do
As a general rule, the following are usually not recommended when choosing a domain name as they can set out to confuse customers.
Hyphenate names – eg my-childrens-toy-shop.com is a lot harder to remember. In a verbal context people would not generally spell out the hyphen when talking to friends about the website.
Short domain names are of greater advantage, the longer the domain name or the more words are incorporated in it then the more confusing and difficult it would be to remember and spell correctly.
Try purchasing.com domains. This is the most popular form of domain name and is the default setting in most people’s head. Other forms of domain names are a lot less popular and on a verbal context people may often forget to emphasise if it is dotcom or dotnet or something else.
The choice of a domain name is very important and much thought needs to be taken at the beginning to make sure you do not regret choosing something different. With these rules in mind think of a domain name that is easy to spell and pronounce, catchy and related to the content of your website. Popular domain names are often gone yesterday, so make sure you get yours today.