Your journey to an online presence starts with choosing a domain name. It matters which name you choose, to both your visitors and search engines. It should match your business offerings, and should have a timeless quality so that it is still relevant a decade from now. Here are ten solid tips to guide you on making the right choice.
Do some research
Time spent researching is time well spent when buying domain names. Use sites like compete.com to see what your competition’s domain names are. Media Temple can help you find available domains by keywords or domain names, while http://dnpric.es/ will show you when a domain was sold, for how much, and the broker’s details.
Choose an easy domain name
Your SEO plans should not prevent you from getting a domain name that is easy to recall and type. Misspelling of words, use of hyphens, characters and numbers is discouraged. Similarly, avoid words that have multiple spellings. A good way to bypass this is to buy both domain names and direct your visitors to your preferred one. A short name is ideal, but it should not be cryptic. A memorable name will make marketing much easier.
Slang terms are seasonal, and lack the aforementioned timeless quality. They are not good because non-native speakers will not identify with them. The use of slang terms will hurt your cause when you want to do international business.
Between short and long domain names, go short
A longer domain name is harder to remember and easy to misspell. It’s hard to find single name domains, but there are a few if you are creative enough. You can add a verb or adjective to a single name to see if it is available. Your domain will be your brand after all, and will determine people’s perception of you.
For most people, websites always end in .com. If you choose any other extension, it will be harder to remember than it is a .net or .org. This is not to say you cannot find success with these, as there are exceptions.
Stay off Trademarks
Buying a trademarked name never ends well as there are always legal challenges that follow. Ensure you check with the relevant institution to ascertain that the name you choose is not already trademarked.
Strive for uniqueness
When you buy a domain name that is similar to an existing one, you set yourself up for failure. So the addition of plurals or hyphenations to already popular domain names is ill-advised. You can, however, use these to redirect to your website.
Hyphens bring mixed results
Hyphens might make some names more readable and easier for search engines to recognise. The problem is, most users don’t remember to use them when they type. If you must use a hyphen, try to keep the count under three.
Stay off numbers
The problem with using numbers is that it is never clear whether it is a digit or a word. If you must use it for some reason, buy both the digit and the word domains, and redirect to the one you will be using. The number zero is even more confusing, as it can be perceived as the letter O.
Check with social media sites
Once you settle on a name, check whether with social media sites – YouTube, Facebook, Tumblr, Google+ and Instagram – to see its availability. You might not have any social media marketing plans in the beginning, but you always want to ensure that you can use social media when the time comes without having to change anything.