If it’s the very first time you’ve ever had a website or blog, then possibly you have been agonising over what to call it. Coming up with a good name for your website is important, and so is the choice of domain name.
Eventually you’ll have to settle on something, so we’ll see if we can come up with some ideas on how to choose these important names.
Website Titles and Domain Names
First off, the title of your website and your domain name don’t necessarily have to be the same, or even similar for that matter. It’s better if they are, but they certainly don’t have to be an exact match. It is often very difficult to exactly match a domain name to the title of your site, and sometimes an available domain name wouldn’t quite sound right for a site title.
For example, I used to have a photography business called “Bold & Beautiful Photography”. However, I couldn’t get that as a domain name. The closest thing I could come up with was “bb-photography.com”. I didn’t want to name my site or my business “BB Photography”, but it was the closest domain name match I could get at the time. They relate, but not identical.
What Makes a Good Domain Name?
There are no hard and fast rules when choosing a domain name, but there are a few pointers to keep in mind for both a better user experience, and for the ultimate benefit of your website. I’ll list a few tips on choosing a good domain name:
- Make it simple
- A URL that’s easy to type
- Not awkward and lumpy
- Something easy to remember
- Relevant to your website’s theme
- If you can, try and use low competition keywords
- Keep it as short as possible
- Avoid hyphens, numbers and weird characters
You don’t want to choose a domain name that’s awkward to type, or is easily misspelt. If it’s too long then people are less likely to remember it, or be bothered writing it down or typing it into their web browser. Short and simple is better for the most part. It’s not always possible, but do it if you can. Most importantly, make certain it has relevance to the theme and content of your site, and use related keywords if possible.
Another tip: If you find a suitable domain name that’s available, don’t mess around. Buy it! Domain names sell fast, especially if they’re a catchy one.
Avoid free domains. They’re always a subdomain extension of another site’s name and look amateurish. You want to set up a serious online business, so don’t skimp on this all-important part of the process to save ten bucks. Your domain name is your online real estate – It’s valuable!
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Domain Name Extensions
Recently domain name sellers added a whole list of new extensions you can now use instead of the common ones like dot com, dot net etc.. Avoid choosing one of these if you can. They’re way less likely to rank highly in search results on Google or other major search engines. Some examples of these new extensions are:
Yes, they may be more interesting, pretty and relevant, but right now they don’t rank very well. However, that will probably change in the future as these extensions become more recognised and popular.
If you can get your domain name with the dot com extension, I really recommend taking that one. Dot com is still the benchmark domain name extension, the most used and most widely recognised and respected.
Having a dot com lends more credibility to your website, even if it’s new. If you can’t get dot com for your name of choice, then choose a dot net or dot org. If none of these are available then search a slightly different variation of your proposed domain name.
Where To Buy a Domain Name
Quite a few places sell domain names, but you want to deal with a company that provides top-notch support and customer service; a company you can trust. There are 4 that I recommend.
These sites are very easy sites to navigate and search out appropriate domain names. Their prices are similar too. GoDaddy often has specials when you are buying a new domain, sometimes as low as 99 cents for the first year. Their renewal prices tend to be higher than Namecheap, though. It doesn’t matter which one you choose. All are good to go with, but Bluehost offer a free domain name with every new hosting package purchased.
So there you have my take on domain names and choosing a good one for your new website. Write out a list of possible titles and domain names, play around with the combinations a bit and have fun. Feel free to leave comments below.
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