There are many websites with articles giving different aspects of advice about how to choose a domain name. This is a very important step and should be done early in your business development cycle. It will give you portability of your site should you need to change hosts; avoiding the loss of links and search engine placement.
So how to decide on a domain name ……
- If you have an aspirations at all to operate across more than one country, then you must consider acquiring the “.com” of your domain. Be serious: avoid .bz, .ws – type names if possible – they sound tacky.
- If you are going to be a local business, then you should have either the country code domain (eg: .com.au) or local hosting. Either will be enough to ensure that you appear on local versions of search engines. Without it you will be struggling to maximise your appearance on search engines. However don’t include a location in the domain itself, it may limit you later. Alternatively, buy the variations as well as the location dependent name.
keyword or brand?
- Do you go for mobilephone.com or virgin.com? The short answer generally is if you have a limited budget to build a brand, go for the keyword. Some experts say avoid the keywords – the domain name often ends up too long. Think of google, flickr etc. Personally I like the brand idea – more discussion
make it memorable
- keep it short and don’t misspell if it is a real word – eg: if you want a yoga website, and all the yoga names are taken, don’t go for yoger!
Many minds make for a good domain name
- Use your friends – ask around, bounce ideas off them, listen to their ideas – many a good idea has been offered in jest.
don’t spend too much
- Don’t pay big bucks on a name. Rather spend the money building your brand.
- Don’t get carried away buying too many names – you have to pay for them every year and if you let them expire they could get snapped up opportunistically by others who hope to profit.
It is gone but I really want it
- www.deleteddomains.com could help if you insist on having a domain that was already registered.
- A second hand domain could have the benefit that it may already have good linkages and search engine placement. Use www.alltheweb.com to see who is linking to that site. A long time ago, my first domain name was for an area that several years later I no longer wanted to work in. There was valuable content on it and it was one of the first covering that sort of knowledge so it had a good search engine placement and history. Someone wanted to buy it. I was happy to not be responsible for it anymore as the content was becoming out dated. However it was bought purely for it’s existing status – it is now covered in advertising and still has no major content update, let alone a style update! And I feel like it was my reputation out there!
Plurals, Prefixes – my, the etc
- If you cannot get the name that you want and buy the plural or a prefixed name, then that must become your brand name – always advertise it as such. If you are “thedogparlour”, then your advertising must always say “thedogparlour”.
Check trademarks and similar names or usage
- You don’t want to find that a porno star has a similar name. Google the suggested names, similar versions, the related keywords and see what comes up.
- Check trademarks in at the very least, your country and the US.
- South Africa
- USA – http://www.uspto.gov/
- UK –http://www.ipo.gov.uk/