Finding your niche domain name is a major stumbling block for many individuals as so many of the most popular domain names have already been taken. If you are new to the Internet game, your domain is a unique identifier for a particular URL (Uniform Resource Locator). The URL is your web address and becomes the center of your identity or personal branding.
Many things must be considered when determining your domain name as it becomes your brand and establishes a roadmap to your site. The best advice is to be actively creative and not be discouraged when looking for a name. Always bare in mind that your domain name represents both you and/or your business. It is extremely important that you choose your domain name carefully.
Nailing Down Your Domain Name
Start by thinking of your ideal domain name and then throw out as many words and combinations of words related to that ideal name as possible. The key is to start to brainstorm a long list of possibilities and come up with something that is uniquely your own. Bounce some ideas to your friends, family, and anyone that will listen. If you are having difficulty in determining a name, use your dictionary and thesaurus on your computer and play with words. Sooner or later something will come to mind and you find a potential domain name and that may work for you.
Based on my research the following are eight key things to consider when choosing your domain name:
Get a “. com” Extension – The first question you will face when considering registering a domain is what ending or extension do you want. The “.com” extension, in my opinion is best if it is for your primary website. I have used the “.org” extension for a society website that I developed several years ago. Again, it all depends on what you are trying to accomplish.
As you do your research you will notice other domain extensions such as: “.net,” “.biz,” and “.info,” just to name a few. There are some new country-specific extensions that can be an advantage if you are marketing to a niche within a specific country.
Based on what I have learned, you should register a domain name with the extension “.com” for personal or business branding and “.org” for an organization as most people are accustomed to that web site address ending. I used the “.net” extension for one of my websites. I found the name using “.com” was not available and the “.net” ranked as well as the “.com.” At this stage, it is your choice on what you want to do, based on what works best for your website or desired application.
Easy to Remember – The key is to pick a name that, when someone reads or hears your website name for the first time, they can easily remember the name. Of course, there is often a give and take between trying to find a name that is easily understood and one that is “brandable”.
The easier your domain is to type into a browser, the better chance people will remember it. Think about the “elevator talk.” Can you convey your message in a few seconds or at a glance?
Andrew Carnegie put it nicely when he said: “Quality is the most important factor in business”. A friend of mine says “A picture in the head is worth more than a word in the ear.”
Try to Make your Domain Relevant to your Chosen Keywords – If you are trying to reach a particular niche, consider including at least one or two of your important selected “keywords” in your name.
One way to research is to determine which of the keywords or keyword combinations are searched for most often. Various free and paid programs will allow you to conduct this search. Knowing where your chosen keywords rank should make your selection decision a little easier.
Keep the Name short, if Possible – Try to keep your name as short as possible and still get your website message out. (Not including the suffix “http://www”.)
Consider avoiding words such as “best”, “top”, and “number 1” and do not use intentional misspellings. These can confuse and lower rankings.
If all of the desired domains names are taken, add a short word to make it unique. You can do this by testing different combinations of your chosen name. For example, add the word “my” in front of the domain name if appropriate. You can check the names of domains at the registrar that you have chosen.
Try to Avoid Hyphens and/or Numbers – Some experts suggest that if you use hyphens and/or numbers there are a lot more chances for people to make mistakes when trying enter the name in your browser. The person may forget to add the hyphens and/or numbers and will view the wrong site. Again, it is your choice to decide what works for you.
What is your Budget – You can usually register a new domain name for less than $10 – $15 per year.
One May Not Be Enough – It may not be a bad idea to register several similar domain names, depending on your budget. If you have your “.com”, you may want to register “.net” or “.org” version so no one else can take it. The best advice is only purchase the domains that you need, unless you intend on becoming a domain broker!
Avoid Trademarked Names – A trademark is “a name or symbol officially registered to a third party, and unless otherwise specified, the trademark owner is the only party that can legally make use of a trademarked name.” This mistake is not made very often, but can create potential legal issues.
To ensure that you are not infringing on any copyright with your domain name, visit the International Trademark Association or the US Government Copyright Office websites that handle Copyright and Trademark information. It is a good practice to search for your selected name before you buy.
Do not Forget the New Mobile Names – You may consider registering a “.mobi” type domain name. Again, it all goes back to the budget.