This article is for anyone that has not yet purchased a domain name or is considering changing their current domain name.
We put so much thought an effort into thinking about the perfect domain name for your website that we can become paralyzed and never actually buy a domain name and that is something that I am committed to making sure that does not happen to you.
My intention is to make sure you consider the a few basic principals considerations for a domain name, then encourage you to take action today and get your domain purchase so you can claim your very own corner of the Internet. Once you you domain name and BlueHost account, the possibilities are endless.
Your domain is your first impression when someone visitors your website and you can only make a first impression, once! The different discussion points to follow deal exclusively with the “human” factors involved with a domain name including, perceived value, credibility, readability and the ability of your domain to be remembered easily.
Keywords vs Brands
The first decision you want to make is decide if you want a domain name based off of a brand or a keyword.
When you use a keyword, people (and search engines) will instantly be able to associate you with what you do but not necessarily consider you unique.
On the other hand, if you decide to start off with a brand name, it can be easily implied that you are unique and doing something different but you will spend your early years explaining to everyone what exactly it is that you do. Also if you don’t have the space to explain what you do it is possibly you will be completely missed.
RedFrogSites.com vs AffordableWebDesign.com
MY ADVICE: In the beginning, go with keywords so people know what you do from afar, once you are successfully you and always create a brand and integrate it in over time.
A good domain name should be able to easily distinguish each word in the domain name. In a prefect world you would only have one or two words but in reality unless you are willing to put up big dollars to buy a domain name you will be looking a a domain name with three or four words when picking a domain name.
There are two different styles you should consider when purchasing you domain name.
affordable-web-design.com vs AffordableWebDesign.com
The first style would be to use hyphens between the words to help with domain name readability. This style became popular when domain names became more keyword targeted. One drawback with the hyphenated style is they tend to be longer in length and can be difficult to type on they keyboard.
Camel Case is another popular style option. This basically runs all of the words together but capitalizes each word to help each individual work stand out. Camel Case is considered the defacto standard. This style has been around the longest and in my opinion considered the most professional of the two.
Note: A domain name registration is not case sensitive, it is only used for improved domain name readability.
MY ADVICE: Use Camel Case for a more professional appearance.
.COM, .NET, .ORG & Everything Else
When the Internet was originally created there were three main domain name extensions. The domain extension is the part after the period for example: .com, .net, .org.
The orginial intenteion for the domain name extension was to help classify the type of ogranization that the domain was used for.
- .COM – all commercial business entities
- .NET – network providers, like Internet Service Provider and Internet backbones
- .ORG – non-profit organizations
- .EDU – educational institutions such as colleges and universities (registration restricted)
- .MIL – government military entities (registration restricted)
One problem was that .COM, .NET and .ORG were never regulated and soon the extensions became mixed. The original intention to classify different organizations quickly became useless but they they all are still open for registration.
These three are by far the most common and most recognizable extensions on the Internet.
Fast forward 20 year and there are now over 700 different specialized domain extensions that are now available for registration including, here are some of the more popular ones:
The problem with these is that most people don’t know they exist and therefor introduce confusion and lead to a visitor not being able to find easily find your website.
I think there will be a time when they are common is understood by everyone but until that time is not right now so steer clear of specialized domain names.
MY ADVICE: Use the most recognized and gold-standard .COM domain name. The obvious problem with that is that someone is more than likely already registered your first domain name idea and there for you will need to get more creative.
Too, To, Two & 2
How confusing is your domain name when telling someone else? If you were on the phone with a friend and asking them to visit your website, would you have to explain any of the characters to them?
In the English language there are many words and number that are pronounced exactly the same but would by typed differently and therefor could lead them to the incorrect website.
MY ADVICE: Avoid them at all cost, just don’t use them. I have personally used them it the past and they have been nothing but headaches. Unless you MUST use them for branding purposes don’t use them.