Choosing a domain name is almost as hard as naming your business or child. I have honestly had easier times naming pets. Nobody really cares about branding, memorability or if it’s a dot com or not. Pet names are easy. Kid names aren’t too hard either. So what makes a good domain name? Let’s cover a few points and I’ll dive into what they mean.
Top tips for a good domain name.
- It’s as short as possible.
- Easy to say and remember.
- Accounts for your organizations brand or product
- Localized when logical
- Has SEO keywords
- Is available in a .com, .org
So what do these translate to?
Short is good. But not at the cost of being usable. Google works, but it’s based on real word. So the shorter the better, but not at the expense of the next point, easy to say and remember. I can’t tell you how many times people share a new product or service with me in passing, and for the life of me, can’t recall what it was or how to spell it when I’m back at a computer.
How important is the branding for your organization? Sometimes having the company name is less important, and a product or service is of higher priority. It comes down to knowing those priorities.
Pro tip: You can have more than one domain name. TempeCreative.com and Factor1studios.com are very different. One is localized and service based, the other is the brand name. Using both can help you meet your objectives.
Localized search terms really come into play for what I consider urgent needs oriented businesses. Plumbers, Garage door repair, Dentists, etc. These are often industries you want near by you, and usually ASAP. City specific domains with matching content can be a huge benefit to these as they play into an SEO strategy.
Finally getting your domain in a .com or .org is important. A few years ago Overstock tried their hand with the dot co vanity domain extension. They marketed heavily their new O.co domain. The main problem here was the consumer muscle memory. People simply finished the .co with an m. O.com had record traffic, and it cost Overstock millions in lost traffic, and later more millions in trying to buy the o.com from its current owner.
With any domain name, try to secure as many of the variations as you can. .com, .net, .org, .us; including misspellings or spelling variations. They all simply forward to the main. This does two things, secures that user who mis-typed the domain, and prevents anyone from grabbing the alternate to use for themselves, or worse, against you. Plenty of political sites come to mind over the years.
Where should you buy your domain ?
Good question, 100 points. Always use a reputable domain registrar, not a reseller. I’m personally a big fan of NameCheap.com and Godaddy.com but ONLY for domains. Domain Registrars are not good hosts. More on that in a future post. Other good registrars are Enom.com and NetworkSolutions.com
How long should I buy the domain for?
This is tricky. Yes you can buy it for 5 years and basically forget about it. But that’s the issue. You forget about it. Next thing you know it’s up for renewal, and you forget, you moved, you changed emails, etc. And recovering access to a 5 year old account is a nightmare. Most likely you forgot the security question, the email they have on record is invalid, and you moved, breaking any and all ties to the account.
Domain Registrars rarely give you any discounts for multiple years. So you can part with your money $10 at a time, or $50 all at once. I know interest rates are terribly low, but my cash on hand still has more value to me in my hand than with a domain registrar. There are no refunds, so really no point.
Pro tip: Set that domain up for yearly, auto-renew on, and add it to your calendar like a birthday!