ENTREPRENEURSHIP / AUG. 02, 2014
version 2, draft 2

Tips for Selecting a Domain Name

When launching a new site, one of the most vital decisions you will need to make is what domain name to use. Your choice of a domain name can have a significant impact on the success of your site. It will determine how easily people find you on the internet and how your site is ranked by search engines.

Here are some great guidelines for choosing a domain name:

1. Make it descriptive

When people see your domain name, they should automatically have a clue of what your site is all about. This will give them an idea of what they can expect to see when they visit your site. For instance, if your site offers tips about skin care, skincareguide.com would be a descriptive domain name. Remember to include relevant keywords within your domain name. This will make it easier for web users to find your site on search engines such as Bing.

2. Make it brandable

A brandable domain name is one which has a unique combination of characters or an interesting pronunciation. Though it might not be descriptive, it is still as effective. With time, people will be able to automatically associate the domain name with the content of your site. A good example is Google.com. Though the domain name is not descriptive, it has grown to become one of the most popular brands on the internet.

3. Make it memorable

It is important to choose a domain name which can be remembered easily by web users. Preferably, choose a domain which is made up of only one word such as Google.com. If it must be longer, it should not exceed three words. Be sure to use simple words which web users can spell and memorize easily. Avoid words that are difficult to pronounce or unfamiliar foreign words. For instance, bourgeoisie.com is a domain which could be tricky for non-French speakers.

4. Avoid numbers and hyphens

Numbers and hyphens will only end up confusing your visitors. For instance, if your domain is biz-world.com, most people are likely to forget the hyphen and only remember ‘biz’ and ‘world’. You might therefore end up losing valuable visitors to your site. Similarly, numbers are also likely to confuse people. For instance, if your domain is protool3.com, your visitors might confuse it with protoolthree.com.

5. Use a .com extension

There are different kinds of extensions you can choose for your domain name. You could opt for a top level domain (TLD) extension such as .com, .net, .org, .biz, .mobi or .info. Alternatively, you could choose a country specific extension such as .it, .za, .co.uk, .de and .jp. However, the .com extension still remains the most popular. It would therefore be advisable to use a .com extension for your domain. This will make it easier for people to find your site.      

Nowadays, there is a lot of competition for good domain names. Once you have identified your ideal domain name, be sure to buy it as soon as possible. If you delay for too long, you might find the name taken.

Image: iStockphoto, mipan

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