A domain name is a key element of your website which can either help or hurt you. So, choosing a domain name that works for your business is critical.
First impression counts! Your URL is the first thing a web visitor sees, a good domain name can create a positive and lasting impression. Not quite the same reaction is your choice of domain name is bad.
Domain names plays a key role in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Having relevant keywords in your domain name can help your web page to rank high in search results.
Your domain name is also a branding opportunity. The right domain name can reinforce your brand and assist with brand recognition.
With that said, here are a few guidelines that can help you navigate the world of domain name choosing. You may not be able to meet every criteria, but the goal is to incorporate as many as possible.
1. Choose a domain with the extension .com
A .com domain is ideal and should be your first choice when purchasing a domain name. It is the most popular extension, accounting for more than 70% of all registered domains, and people automatically assume your domain ends in .com when browsing. While other extensions such as .net, .info, .org or any other extension works, try to avoid any potential stumbling blocks for people trying to find you.
2. Keep it short and sweet
The shorter a domain, the easier it is to remember.
3. Easy to say and spell
Try to make it easy for your domain name to be passed along by you and by others. This means that it should be easy to say and spell without stopping to think about it.
4. No hyphens or numbers
Try to avoid the use of hyphen or numbers. Saying "my domain name is best hyphen city tours dot com" does not sound cool nor is it memorable.
5. Use keywords
A domain name with a keyword or two included in it would be an asset for search engine optimization (SEO). For example, if "city tours" is your keyword, then GeorgetownCityTours.com would be a winner.
6. Don't box yourself in
Businesses always expand, and you don't want to choose a name that boxes you into a narrow niche.
7. Be creative
Your preferred domain name may be taken, but it is always possible to come up with an alternative that's perfect if you can just be a little creative. Look up similar words in the thesaurus, ask others for ideas, switch around words or use a tagline.
8. Make sure the name is available on other social media sites
When picking your domain, check other social media sites to make sure it's available on those sites too. Using the same name on your website and on Twitter, Facebook, etc., solidifies your brand and makes it more memorable. Namechk makes it easy to search your name across all networks at once. Another tool is called knowem.
9. Consider using your name
I believe that everyone should register a domain using their name, even if you have no immediate plans to do anything with it. Why? We all have a unique area of expertise, even if we have not yet discovered it, and the domain name is the first step in trading that expertise. Perhaps you can start a personal blog now. One day your name can become a household, and you'll be glad that you registered it.
10. Use a domain name generator
So, you're stuck! No worries. Use a domain name generator. These generators can turn your ideas into fresh, available domains.
Give these domain name generators a try:
- Wordoid. This tool allows you to plug in a word, it will come up with ideas that either contain that word, begin with that word or end with that word.
- Lean Domain Search. This tool matches your keyword with other keywords and generates a list of available domains.
- DomainHole. This tool allows you to search keywords, find expired domains, generate new names, and more.
TRIVIA: Most expensive domain names
The average price of a domain name sold in the secondary market — buying a domain from someone who already owns it — is in the thousands of dollars.
The most expensive domain name ever sold has come to light — at $872 million. Yes, you read that right. Cars.com was valued at $872 million (read the SEC filing).
Here are the 10 most expensive domain names publicly reported:
- CarInsurance.com — $49.7 million
- Insurance.com — $35.6 million
- VacationRentals.com — $35 million
- PrivateJet.com — $30.18 million
- Internet.com — $18 million
- 360.com — $17 million
- Insure.com — $16 million
- Fund.com — £9.99 million
- Sex.com — $14 million*
- Sex.com — $13 million
* The sex.com domain name sold twice — Once in 2005 for $14 million and again in 2010 for $13 million.
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