Selecting Domain Names

Posted on: June 7, 2013

One of the most difficult parts when creating a new website design is selecting domain names.  If you are just starting out, keep in mind that selecting domain names is something that should be considered carefully. If you already have a website, it can also be difficult to transfer websites to new URLs (a.k.a. domain name); given the potential SEO losses that could occur by doing so. It is vital that you get things right from the start.

When considering the endless number of available and already registered domain names, it really doesn’t help ease the selection process. If you are having a tough time selecting the right domain for your website, keep the following in mind.

1. Look for .COM when Selecting Domain Names

When selecting a domain name, you are able to register just about anything from a standard .COM URL to a country-specific domain name extension like “.US” (United States) or “.IT” (Italy).

That being said, registering a .COM is the best choice for nearly all businesses, for a couple of primary reasons.

  1. .COM domains have much better name recognition. If you want your website visitors to be able to directly enter your domain name into their web browser, they are more likely to remember your domain name if it ends with .COM.
  2. There is a slight search engine optimization (SEO) advantage to registering a .COM domain since the search engines seem to view these URLs as belonging to a more stable and legitimate businesses.

Unless you have a specific and valid reason to register an alternative domain name extension, stick with .COM for better results.

2. Consider Registering Multiple Domain Names

You should keep in mind that the right URL may not be just one web address; it may possibly be multiple versions of the same domain name. Like .NET, .BIZ, and .INFO.

Since the number of domain names already registered continues to rise, selecting domain names is becoming more competitive. With this in mind, it is a possibility that your competition may snatch up the .NET or .BIZ version of your domain name; even if you have already secured the .COM version.

Since this can lead to lost traffic, especially if your competitors wind up outranking you in the search engine results pages, consider purchasing all of the popular TLDs (Top Level Domains) for your chosen domain (if available).

3. Keep the Domain Names as Short as Possible.

Another problem that rears its ugly head due to increased competition is the availability of desired domains. If your business has a unique name (for instance, Whatchama Supply), most likely, you won’t have a problem securing a .COM domain name. However, if your business name is slightly more generic, you will probably encounter difficulties finding a .COM domain.

If you find yourself in this situation, your first instinct might be to register a long domain name as in, (specifictradeinatlanta.com) rather than (specifictrade.com). Remember, you need to keep in mind how important domain memorability is.

When selecting domain names, if your selection is too long (typically more than three words in length), your customers may not be able to remember your website’s URL. While they should still be able to find your business using a search engine, you risk sending traffic to a competitor. Especially if those visitors enter their best guess URL into a web browser instead of doing a little research.

For best results, keep domain names short, sweet and easy to remember! It works well with your domain name email address too.

4. Avoid Silly or Cutie Pie Domain Names

Along those same lines, another issue when selecting domain names that will hurt your memorability is to include “cutie pie” names, abbreviations or numbers in your URL.

Take, for example, the sample domain name, designers4u.com.

This might appear to look like a good way to skirt around availability issues, while still maintaining your company’s branding, but there is a bigger problem here. Whenever you try to tell somebody your domain name, you’ll have to explain that your URL uses the number 4 – rather than the spelled out word (four) and the letter “u,” not the full word “you.”

If you believe that some people might have trouble remembering long URLs, you should realize that they will have even a harder time trying to remember your text-to-speak domain name. Stay clear of that type of domain name and look for alternatives that convey your company’s branding without relying on little tricks like these.

5. Avoid Unintentional Domain Name Mishaps

One final caveat when it comes to selecting domain names is to carefully review your final selection before clicking that “Register” button. Be sure to look for any unintentional language that the domain name includes.

Look at the following real URLs to see what we are referring to.

  1. IT Scrap – www.itscrap.com (Is it really crap?)
  2. Speed of Art – www.speedofart.com (Do you smell that smell?)

Checking carefully will go a long way towards maintaining your business’s dignity and branding.

Take the time to think through all of your available options when selecting a domain name to make sure that your final selection represents the best long term fit for your business needs.