Tips for Choosing a New Domain
by Sharon Housley
Choosing a domain is one of the first steps in establishing an online presence. Changing a domain after-the-fact can be time consuming, and can be harmful to search engine ranking, so it is best to get it right the first time around. Follow these simple steps to select a domain name that will represent your online brand…
1. Nice Neighborhood
Stick with .com or .net domains for businesses, .edu for schools, and .org for non-profit organizations. Some search experts say that any other extensions will have a more difficult time ranking well in the search engines.
2. Easy To Verbalize And Understand
Domain names should be easy to verbalize. Often in conversations, similar sounds are difficult to discern. Select a domain name that is clear and easy to understand without having to repeat it.
3. Easy To Spell
Select a domain that is easy to spell. Certain words can be spelled in a variety of ways, and this can cause confusion and result in people being unable to easily locate your website. Use a domain name that is intuitive and easy to spell.
4. Keep It Brief
Shorter domains are easy to remember, so if possible, avoid selecting a domain name that is excessively long. The domain name can not exceed 63 characters, and may consist of letters, numbers, and hyphens. If you decide on a hyphenated domain name, be sure to articulate it so that it is easily understood.
5. More Than One
Domains are reasonably inexpensive, so register multiple domain names that relate to your primary domain name. The additional domains can be permanently redirected to the main domain. Also, purchase domains that use common misspellings, plurals, or that alleviate any confusion. This way you will be sure to capture all of your traffic.
6. Extend It
Protect your brand by purchasing common extensions for your domain (ie. .net, .org, etc). And consider purchasing country extensions if you sell globally (ie. .uk, .au, .fr, etc).
7. Written Form
The written form of the domain should be clear and not cause unnecessary confusion. If the domain contains multiple words, make sure that the written form cannot be misinterpreted.
8. Make It Memorable.
Select a domain name that is easy for people to remember.
9. Related And Relevant
The domain name should relate to your core business. Building a brand does not end offline; brand continuity should encompass all aspects of your business, both online and offline. A related relevant domain should reinforce your brand and corporate identity.
10. Check Trademarks
As with any name, be sure to check carefully for trademark infringements. Do not take chances by infringing on another company’s brand. The extra effort might save you from a court case or hours of expensive legal maneuvering. Search the USPTO website at http://www.uspto.gov for any existing trademarks.
11. Brand vs Keywords
Many webmasters struggle with the decision to use a brand as their domain, or to incorporate keywords into their domain name in an effort to rank better in the search engines. The decision does not need to be absolute. Domains are inexpensive, and redirects are easy to set up, so there is no reason you can not purchase both brand and keyword domain names.
12. Location Specific
Unless you only serve a specific region, avoid using the location in the domain name. A geo-specific domain will limit a company’s ability to expand into other regions as it grows.
And before doing anything, use the database at Enetica to determine whether a desired domain name is actually available or not.
Selecting a domain name is an important step in establishing a web business. Take your time and think carefully about selecting a domain, as it will be the hallmark of your online presence.