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How to Choose a Good Domain Name

In order to have a successful blog, or business you need a good domain name. Don’t get me wrong, if you don’t have one it’s not the end of the world. There are plenty of successful blogs, people, businesses with a long name. But it’s usually a great idea to take some time and come up with a unique, creative and memorable name.

Here are some basic tips you should consider before registering your first domain name.

1. Go with .com extension if possible

Com domains are the most recognised, trusted and popular extensions online. They are also the most valued compared to every other extension. So registering a .com domain should be your first priority. However, if it’s unavailable you can also try .net (like I did), or any other extension, which you think is suitable for you.

There are way more options to be creative with your domain, than it was 10 years ago. Brainstorm a few ideas, write them down, ask your friends for their opinion, and register the one that suits you the best.

2. Keep it as short as possible

A good domain name is usually short. Long and complex names make it harder to remember, and are prone to typos. Of course, you could register all misspellings you can think of, and redirect them to your real domain. But that’s just unnecessary expenses. You can do that later when your blog takes off and you start earning revenue.

Today, it’s impossible to find a short .com domain name, because all of them are taken. Short, brandable domain names can cost thousands, hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars. For example, Fly.com has been recently sold for $2,890,000.

Try to keep your name under 16 characters if possible.

3. Avoid numbers and hyphens

Stay away from hyphens and numbers. Both of these things accomplish the following – they make it difficult for the user to remember and type. Imagine if Google was spelled G00gle (with zeros instead of O’s).

You’ll need to spend extra five minutes to explain how to properly type it into the address bar. And that’s an example with a short name. Imagine if your domain name consists of two, or more words.

Short, properly spelled, memorable name is the way to go.

4. Avoid using someone’s trademark

This one is pretty straightforward. If you don’t want to deal with lawsuits in near future, check before registering whether it’s an active trademark name, or not. It’s better to be safe now than sorry later.

Here’s a news story about Facebook that serves as a good example of an awkward situation.

5. Brandable, or generic

Brandable name is a lot easier to market than a generic name. Imagine if Coca-Cola was not Coca-Cola, but was simply called for what it is – sugared water. Same principle should be applied when registering your domain (there are always exceptions).

Five years ago, it was a different story. It was way too easy to rank for a keyword just by registering a domain name with those exact words. That was constantly abused.

However, today the game has changed significantly and it plays a tiny factor in the ranking of a website, which makes it not worth your while.

6. Use local extension

This may seem like me contradicting self, but it’s generally better to use local extension if you’re blog is targeting a local market.

For example, if you’re offering plumbing services in Finland, then it’s a good idea to register something like PlumbingParadise.fi. It will indicate that you’re business is in Finland, and search engines will prefer serving a local domain to Finnish residents over a .com.

But you can also target a specific country with a .com domain. So it’s kind of up to you.

7. Make your niche transparent

If you’re going with creative and memorable name, make sure that your niche is obvious. For example, let’s say you came up with GreenCabbage.com. My first and most logical guess would be that you’re selling all types of cabbage including fresh, green cabbage.

However, if you’re in a business of giving out loans, and cabbage is your metaphor for money, then you should pick a different name. So be careful with that and don’t get carried away too much.

Conclusion

These are my 7 tips for picking a good domain name. Hopefully, this was useful and you learned something new today.

Do you have any other tips? Tell me about them below!

Dave Pixel

Entrepreneur, blogger, amateur designer and founder of PixelProfits. Loves mountain biking, enjoys white wine and music. Hates Estonian weather.

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