Five Things You Should Do When Choosing Your Domain Name

September 19, 2008

Developing and maintaining a website can not only be fun, but for some it can be very profitable. It doesn’t matter if the website being run is a blog or a more standard website, one of the most important things a website owner has to consider when starting their site is what the domain name will be.

The domain name is usually the first thing that a prospective visitor to the website knows about the site they may visit.

It is the first impression, and in that role should portray as best as possible both the subject and tone of the website.

If the site is a humorous one, or the subject is lighter in its nature, a whimsical name can be used. If the site covers serious topics or focuses on real world business, then the domain name it uses should be a little more formal in nature.

Here are five things you should do when choosing a domain name:

1. Try and Stick to Popular Domain Extensions
It usually works out to a website’s advantage to choose one of the more well established domain extensions. While you may be able to find a great keyword available that uses the extension of a distant nation, it may be better to use keywords that may not be as desirable and stick to prominent extensions like .com, .net, .org, and .info. Using these more established extensions is the best way to ensure that future visitors to your site won’t be confused and go to the site that shares your domain name but has a different extension.

2. Short and Sweet is Best
If you are considering building a website on a subject that is covered widely and are having trouble finding an available domain name, it is best to aim for a shorter domain name that will be more memorable rather than a longer domain name that will either be next to impossible to remember or too easily misspelled and forgotten. While a longer domain name may have many of the keywords you’re seeking to be identified with, you will be risking losing the traffic from people who have a hard time remembering all the words in your domain name, what order they come in, and what is the correct way to spell them all.

3. Keyword Inclusion in the URL
A website developer should try as hard as possible to have at least one keyword that they will be using in their website content or marketing strategy in the domain name that they choose. If your website will be about blogging, try to have the word “blogging” in the domain name. If your website will be looking at celebrities and their world, attempt to have the word “celebrity”, “star”, or even “tv star” in the domain name you choose. This is a good way to improve the chances of the website ranking well in search engines as well as being a good way for people to see your domain name and automatically know what the site will be talking about.

4. Use Keyword Combos
If you have chosen the keyword you would like to center your website around, but are having trouble coming up with other words to make up your domain name, there are a number of keywords that people search for and also help explain the site’s purpose. If you have chosen the word “celebrity” to be in your domain name, combine it with words like “news”, “blog”, “tips”, “photos”, “gossip”, “facts”, or other words that help to describe the subject of the website you will be hosting on your domain.

5. Only Use Reputable Registrars and Sellers
Purchasing your domain name from a reliable and reputable registrar who has been established in the business of selling domain names for a long time is a good way to ensure that you won’t later have problems should they go out of business or be purchased a number of times by other companies. While it is fairly easy to navigate the world of name servers and hosting accounts, it can make for a stressful time if all of a sudden you do not have access to the administrative controls over your domain name.

From content to appearance and even functionality, there are a number of things about website development that impact whether the site will be a success or not, and even to what level of success it can be.

But for many of the reasons stated above, the domain name that is chosen for the website to be hosted on can also play a large part in the success or failure of a website. The domain name is the first thing a visitor knows or sees regarding a website, and it also is what people refer to the website by when they recommend it to their friends or co-workers.

The domain name that a website is hosted on is the website’s calling card. Building a website on a well thought out and smartly marketed domain name is the best way to ensure that it has the best chance at being a success.