The Name Game: How to Choose the Best Words for Your Domain

So many crucial elements go into designing and running a successful website. An eye-catching design; award-winning content; a strong and reliable host server; an intuitive and engaging user experience—the best websites incorporate all these things and more, and missing the boat on one or more of them can spell doom for an e-commerce or blog site.

However, even the most stand-out site owners don’t give enough thought to one simple facet: choosing the right domain name. Indeed, picking the right words can be one of the single most important elements of launching a new site or revamping an old one. Choose the right words and your brand soars along with your search rankings; choose the wrong one and you may find your pages wallowing in obscurity. And should you find yourself in the latter situation, the hassle of switching to another name can be such a mess that many people simply choose to start all over from the beginning.

So if you’re a new website owner ready to launch your virtual venture, pay close to attention when choosing and registering the right domain name; you’ll save yourself a good deal of grief in the long run while putting in place one of the most vital components of website success.

  • There been a serious proliferation of domain name extensions in recent years—you can even get names with “.pizza,” “.bicycles,” “.blog” etc. But web experts recommending sticking with the old tried-and-true extensions: .com, .net or .org as these still carry the most credibility in the virtual world. Also, the niche extensions can be very untrustworthy and, if entered into a URL bar incorrectly, can direct users to an error page and cause frustration that will cost you hits and traffic.
  • Think carefully about your keywords, as they should play an important role in your domain name. By using them you’re essentially telling search engines what your website is all about, and when coupled with stellar content and a great design you’ll be helping yourself considerably in search rankings. If your keywords of choice are already taken—and it’s likely they are, especially if your site deals with a particularly popular subject—then just get creative and combine your keywords with less common words for a stand-out domain name.
  • Remember that it’s better to have a domain name that is short rather than one that’s too long. Short names are more memorable and easier for users to type in quickly without mistakes and typos, so keep it under 15 characters.
  • Before and after your site is up and running you’ll likely be sharing your domain name with people during conversations, so that name should be easy to pronounce and spell. Just look at it from the listener’s point of view and pick a name that sounds good and is easy to remember.
  • While keeping in mind the aforementioned tips you may find it hard to come up with a domain name that is unique, but it’s important you strive to do so. By having a name that stands out and is memorable you’re creating instant branding for yourself and your site. So try to settle on a name that’s catchy.
  • Stay away from creating a domain name with hyphens, as they too often denote spam sites and impart a bad impression to potential visitors. They’re also easy to mistype and—if you’re hyphenating the domain name because the one you wanted was already taken—a user missing the hyphen may actually land on a competitor’s page.
  • Lastly, be just vague enough with your domain name so you have room to expand on your site’s overall theme in the future. Suppose you’re selling organic veggies and your domain name is “bobsorganicveggies.com.” But soon you find yourself wanting to sell organic fruit as well. Visitors looking specifically for organic fruit may skip over your site altogether due to the specific nature of the domain name. So to play it safe you may want to use a domain names that leaves open the possibility of expansion, such as “bobsorganics.com”

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