When it comes to starting any sort of website, the first thing that you will need to sort out is the domain name. While many years ago you may have been able to register pretty much any domain that you wanted, there is now fewer quality domains available and choosing the right domain can be difficult. This article will cover 10 important points to consider when purchasing a domain name,
- Domain Extension – The most popular extension for any domain name is “.com”. If your website will be dealing with more than one country, you should ensure that you have the .com extension. If you are only planning on dealing with one country though, you may want to consider domains such as “.co.uk” for the UK, “.com.au” for Australia, and “.de” for Germany. These will give your website more of a local presence and help with your online marketing within that country.
- Domain Length – With most of the short domains already being snapped up, it is easy to keep adding words to your domain until you end up with a domain that is too long. Long domains lead to problems with people typing them in wrong or not remembering them properly. They can also look rather spammy and cheap.
- Avoid Hyphens – Unless you have a very good reason to use a hyphen, you should ensure that you do not use any in your domain. An example of when it may be acceptable to use a hyphen is if you need to make a clear break between 2 words. For example, expertsexchange.com which could be misread if it didn’t have the hyphen to create experts-exchange.com.
- One Spelling – You need to ensure that your domain can only be spelled in one way. For example “Jewelry” and “Jewellery” (US and UK spellings). If there are multiple spellings, ensure that you have registered all versions and redirect one to the other.
- Keywords – If possible, you should try and use your keywords in the domain name. For example, if you sell garden sheds, in an ideal world you would choose “GardenSheds.com”. However the chances are that is long gone, so the next option would be something such as “UKGardenSheds.com” or “GardenShedsOnline.com”. This can have an added benefit when it comes to online marketing.
- Do Not Use Numbers – Unless your company or product name has a number in it, avoid using numbers. Do not replace “for” with “4” or “to” with “2”.
- Do Not Use Slang – Ensure your domain does not use slang or text speak. While you may know that “FishinB8.com” is supposed to be “FishingBate.com” – your customers want!
- Memorable – The domain should be easily remembered. If you think that 15 years ago, nobody had heard of Amazon, Google, or eBay, now they are all household names, all instantly recognizable and memorable.
- Easy To Understand – The domain should be easy to understand in every format. For example, if it is printed it should be easy to read, and if it is spoken it should be easy to understand the first time.
- Copyright Issues – Make sure that your domain does not contain any copyright or trademarked terms. If you are unsure, check before registering. If you are still unsure, leave it and move onto the next domain.
If you are unable to find a suitable domain available to register, you may need to put your hand in your pocket and buy a domain from someone who has already registered it. While it may seem cheaper and easier to just buy a domain that is still available, a large amount of your website’s chance of success rides on choosing the right domain name.