Questions frequently arise regarding how to select the best domain name for a web site. Finding a good domain name is not a simple task. Most good domain names are either being used or have been registered and are being held by someone. Good domain names can be found, but usually require some work.
There are some objectives to consider when choosing a domain name.
- The name should be easy to pronounce, easy to spell and memorable. People who have visited your web site will find it again much more easily if the domain name rolls off their tongue very smoothly and is spelled just the way it sounds.
- Shorter names are easier to remember than longer names. Try to keep the name as simple as you can. Like Albert Einstein said, “Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.” The major search engines chose names like Google, Yahoo and Bing for very good reasons.
- The name should either focus on the products or services that you offer or should be a reflection of your brand. Ideally, it should be both. If your company sells framastatic fillrods (I made this up) and users frequently search for those items, then framastaticfillrods.com would be a good choice. But if very few people know what a framastatic fillrod is, then it would be a poor choice. Why? Because domain names that are keyword-rich have a distinct advantage with search results. If the words in your domain name match the words used in a user’s search and your site has been properly designed for search engines, your site will very likely have a strong advantage in the search results. The same situation applies to the use of your brand or company name in a domain name. If people are aware of your company name or brand and use it in a search, your site will likely have a strong advantage in the search results.
- From an SEO perspective, there is no difference between using a .com, .net or .org domain name. All have the ability to rank equally well. However, when someone remembers a site name, they almost always try using the .com first to find the site. The .com version is therefore always preferable and should be the first choice.
- If your primary keyword-rich domain name is not available, consider using a domain with hyphens separating words. We use domains with the hyphen and without. We have never seen a ranking difference between the two. However, when someone remembers a site name, they almost always try the non-hyphen version of the domain first, which would make that preferable from a traffic perspective. A domain with a hyphen seems to be harder to remember, so the non-hyphen version would be preferable. Search engines pick out individual words in a domain name, with or without a hyphen. If you do a search, you will see both types of keyword-rich domains ranking well. If you are going to use hypens in a domain name, make use that the structure of the name is simple and easy to remember. framastatic-fillrods-for-fun-and-profit.com would be a bad choice because it looks absurd. The same applies to framstatic-fillrodsforfunandprofit.com or framastatic–filrods.com (use of double-hyphen). Could you remember these domain names? A general rule is to only use one or two hyphens, and only when necessary.
- Be careful that your choice for a domain name cannot be mispronounced. A few examples of domain names that can mean something very different depending upon how someone reads and pronounces them include GoodsExporter, which can also be read as GoodSexPorter and TherapistFinder, which can be read as TheRapistFinder.
- Never select a domain name that includes a Trademarked name that you do not own the rights to use. The company who owns the rights to the trademark can and will take it away from you at any time. Some companies hire legal firms who specialize in searching for web site that infringe on trademarked names.
Finding a good domain name can be easier if you do a brainstorming session and list all of the possible good domain names on a piece of paper or a spreadsheet and then check to see if they are available. When looking for a good domain name, we generally list 50 to 100 possible domain names and then check to see which are available. It may take that many variations to find one or two good domains.