The domain name is the “location” or “address” for your website on the web. Just as the location of a brick and mortar business has an impact on its success and so does the domain name for an online business. Therefore, choosing a good domain name is crucial.
As far as domain names are concerned, you can let your imagination run wild, but that often comes in the way of several considerations one needs to take into account. Also, availability is a major factor as most of the good domain names are already taken.
The key to selecting the right domain name is to know the difference between a good name and a bad one. If you keep all the factors that are thought to make a domain name “good” in mind, it is likely that you will be able to come up with the best possible choice.
To save your time and help you easily understand the difference between a good and a bad domain name, here are the attributes of the former:
Short and Succinct
Short domain names are worth their weight in gold. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that most of the three and four-letter domain names have already been taken. The shorter the domain name, the better it is for your website as users can easily remember it, type it, share it, etc.
There is no hard and fast rule though. The general recommendation is that you should try to keep it under 10 characters if that’s possible. Having more than 20 characters in the domain name is unforgivable!
How can a domain name be short and descriptive at the same time? It can, but only if you make the right choice. “Shoes.com” is a great example of this. That is why that domain name is worth millions of dollars.
Of course, once again, most descriptive and meaningful domain names have already been registered, so if you want to use a keyword-rich domain name, be prepared to fork out the dough for it!
Sometimes, it is not possible or affordable to go with a descriptive domain name that is also short enough. In this case, you can think out of the box and come up with something catchy that can be used for branding.
For instance, “Skype” is not really a word but it has caught on big time. Similarly, “Rotten Tomatoes” is the name of a movie review website, as is “Metacritic”. It is partly the brandability that has made these domains popular and well-known.
Good domain names are easy to remember for visitors. You have to keep in mind the fact that most Internet users rely on their memory when it comes to visiting their favorite websites. Not many of them bookmark the websites they are interested in. This is why it is important that a domain name be easy to recall.
Good domain names are easy to spell. It is tempting to try to come up with a unique combination of letters and numbers to spell your website’s name, but that makes it extremely hard for people to remember the correct way to spell it. You have to make your domain name easy to spell rather than a memory/spelling test for your visitors. Avoid anything which may cause people to misspell your domain name.
“.com” is the most widely used domain extension (TLD) and it is by far the best and most valuable choice, especially for commercial websites. Of course, non-profit organizations may prefer to use “.org”, and local businesses may opt for a country-code TLD, such as “.co.uk”, “.de”, etc.
Most Internet users are instinctively going to add “.com” to the name if they don’t already know the correct extension. If your website has a different extension, some users may struggle to remember it after a while.
No Numbers or Hyphens
Numbers and hyphens in domain names are generally strict no-nos. Instead of using “3”, you can have “three”, as most people are going to write it in letters anyway.
As far as hyphens are concerned, visitors are going to remember the name of the website and more often than not, forget to add the hyphen. If your business name is “Real Finance”, the domain name “real-finance.com” is not going to deliver the results you want. People are mostly only going to remember the words, i.e. “real” and “finance”, so do away with the hyphen.
These are generally the attributes of good domain names. If a name overlooks any of these, it ventures into the bad name territory. So, keep these golden rules in mind when you are choosing one for your website.