Tips and Pointers for Choosing a Good Domain Name
Before setting up a blog, website or basically any sort of an online presence for yourself or your business, one of the very first things that you’ll be required to do is choosing a domain name – a name for your website and what it will be called.
Choosing a domain name is one of the most crucial aspects of establishing your online presence, because not only will your domain name be your identity online – something that you’ll be recognized by – but mainly because it will remain with your blog for the rest of its life.
While it is quite easy to switch webhosts and even domain hosting providers, the domain remains the same regardless of which hosting provider you use. Furthermore, a blog/website’s Google Page Ranking (PR) actually associated with its domain name. This is precisely why some bloggers prefer to purchase old domains (often put up on auction by people) which already have a high PR.
Changing a blog’s domain means that you’ll have to start from scratch, with a 0 PR and work your way up once again. And apart from having a negative effect on your Google rankings, it would also adversely affect your Alexa rankings, among other ranking metrics.
Therefore, it is advisable to pick a good domain name right from the off by giving it a lot of thought. Choosing a domain name that is suitable for your business (or for yourself), one that will stick with you for a long time, and one that instantly lets a person know what your blog is about is essential.
Here are a few tips and pointers to consider before choosing a domain name for your blog:
- TLD: TLD stands for Top-Level Domain, and refers to which domain name extension you will be using along with your domain name, for instance ‘.com,’ ‘.net,’ ‘.biz,’ ‘.info,’ or the like. Dotcom (.com) TLDs are the most popular, with 104 million dotcom domains registered out of a total of 141.2 million domains out there. Other options include .net, .info, .biz and the like. You also have country-specific TLDs like ‘.us’. Choose one that you think is the most appropriate and applicable to your business. My advice: always go for a dotcom as your main domain, and reserve all others available in order to secure your online presence.
- Keywords: Extremely essential to choose keywords relevant to your business, and use one or more of the important ones in your domain. These keywords will allow Google to know what your blog is about and rank it appropriately, and it will also allow people to instantly know what your website is about when it shows up in the SERP. For instance if you have a blog that covers basketball and the NBA, a domain name like basketballblog.com or allaboutbasketball.com would be a better fit rather than something like microsoft.com.
- Memorable: Often times, we come across some excellent looking websites and blogs, with extremely complicated URLs that are anything but easy to remember. The sign of a good domain name is that not only does it contain all your relevant keywords, it is also easy to remember, so much so that people can easily access your blog by typing in the name of the webpage in the browser in order to access it. Such a name will also be easier to market. Having a complicated name that no one can remember means that you’re losing out on traffic. And speaking of memorable domain names…
- Concise: A concise and short domain name will instantly be more memorable. Ideally, your domain name should be of less than 10 characters and should never exceed 15 characters at all. Although with hundreds of thousands of domain names registered daily, and with more than 141 million domain names already registered on the internet (at the time of writing), finding a concise, short domain name will not be an easy task. However ideally, you want your domain name to be something like phoneapps.com, instead of thisistheblogwhereireviewphoneapps.com. Long names tend to easily be mistyped and often end up getting too confusing and difficult to remember.
- Catchy: Domain names can also be catchy and creative. Popular examples include Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Pinterest and the like. All of these names have gone on to reach stellar levels of popularity, and tick all the right boxes when it comes to good domain names.
- Legal Considerations: As discussed, of the reasons that it is advisable to ‘do your homework’ when choosing a domain is so that it accurately reflects the nature of your business and can be easily committed to memory. However another important consideration is the legal side of things, which includes any legal and copyright considerations, such as choosing a domain name that is not similar to a rival’s or one that doesn’t infringe any copyrights and may have you face legal issues in the future. It would be a shame losing a good, high-PR domain name at a later stage just because of such issues. For instance common sense dictates that using a domain name like bookface.com or generalselectrics.com would surely give particular organizations grounds to pursue legal action against you. It is advisable to visit copyright.gov before you register your domain.
- Hyphens/Numbers: Unless you simply cannot land the domain names of your choice, and you’ve exhausted all other options as well, I do not recommend using hyphens or numbers in the domain name. Not only do these make it difficult to say your domain name verbally, they make your name more confusing and prone to being misspelt as well.
Hundreds of domain names would’ve been registered by the time you finish reading this article. I suggest heading down over the name.com or godaddy.com to registering and securing a domain name for yourself at the earliest, before it is taken by someone else!