How to Choose a Domain Name
Learning how to choose a domain name is of the utmost importance whether you are looking for a domain name for your business or for a personal website or blog. Here are 25 rules to follow that will help with choosing the best domain name. Once you have read through these rules for choosing a domain name then be sure and use our instant domain search tool to very quickly search for different domain names. Also, be sure and use our find a domain tools and our auction domain tools to make your search for the best domain name a snap!
25 Rules for Choosing a Domain Name
Some of these rules are more important than others and a lot will depend on whether your domain name is being purchased for business use or personal use but generally speaking these are domain buying rules to follow in almost every scenario.
1. Stick with “.com” – The .com TLD (top-level domain) is by far the most widely accepted extension for a domain name. If you are looking for a domain name for a business then it is even more important to choose a .com for your domain name because of the credibility boost that a .com domain name brings. Yes, there are still some very successful businesses that have domain names ending in .net or .org but just think, as a new business do you really want to chance having a lot of your customers forget that your domain name ends in .net and instead type in your domain name + .com when they go to find your website? There are some exceptions to this rule of course. If you run a business that is based in a country outside of the United States then it can be smart to use a local TLD (.uk for the United Kingdom, .au for Australia, .ca for Canada, .de for Germany, .cn for China, etc.).
2. One Possible Spelling – Try to find a domain name that only has one possible spelling. Most people cannot spell so make it easy for your website visitors to remember by choosing a domain name without a confusing spelling.
3. Shorter is Better – The shorter your domain name is then the easier it is for your visitors to remember, the easier it is for your visitors to type, and the easier it is for your visitors to tell others about your domain name. All of these are good things.
4. Commercial Appeal – A quick way to test if your domain has commercial appeal or marketability is if you think that the domain name will look good up on a billboard or in a commercial. This is especially important if you are looking for a business domain name but it is of course important for personal domain names as well.
5. No Hyphens – If at all possible then avoid using a hyphenated domain name. Sure, many businesses will use a domain name with a hyphen or even two or three but the two main problems with hyphenated domain names is that people forget where the hyphens go (or forget them altogether) and hyphenated domain names can lose traffic to similar domain names that do not have hyphens (i.e. a visitor wants to return to your domain name which is www.bobs-carpeting.com but instead types in www.bobscarpeting.com and inadvertently ends up on a competitor’s website). A hyphenated domain name can often seem like a cheap substitute for the same domain name without the hyphen in the eyes of many visitors. You don’t want to send the message to your website visitors that you are settling for second best and could only register www.bobs-carpeting.com and not the better domain choice of www.bobscarpeting.com. This is why in all of our auction domain tools we allow you to use our advanced search options to find only domains without hyphens if you so choose.
6. Other Extensions – If you find the perfect domain name ending in .com then it usually makes sense to try and grab as many of the other common extensions that are available as well and then redirect those other extensions to your domain name that ends in .com. For example, if you are able to purchase the domain name sallysmusicblog.com and you definitely have long term plans for the website then it is probably a smart thing to go ahead and register sallysmusicblog.net, sallysmusicblog.biz, sallysmusicblog.info, etc. as well and then just redirect all of the non .com domains to your .com domain name. This has two benefits: when people type in sallysmusicblog.net then they will automatically be redirect to sallysmusicblog.com and also it will prevent other people from purchasing a domain name that is the same as yours but just with a different extension and potentially stealing traffic away from your website.
7. Singular vs. Plural – Make sure that you set up a website on the domain name that makes the most sense when choosing between the singular and plural of the words in your domain name. One thing that you definitely should do is purchase both the singular and plural variation of your domain name if applicable and then redirect the not as good sounding domain to the best sounding domain. Keep in mind that for some domain names the singular will sound better than the plural while with others the plural will sound better than the singular. For example, if you have a site that is devoted to health insurance plans then healthinsuranceplans.com sounds better than healthinsuranceplan.com but to avoid confusion and keep the singular domain away from your competitors then it would be best to buy both of the domain names and then redirect healthinsuranceplan.com to healthinsuranceplans.com.
8. Price – To register a brand new domain name you will pay approximately $10 a year. To purchase domain name at an auction from someone looking to sell one of their existing domain names then you could pay anywhere from $5 to hundreds of thousands of dollars or even more plus the annual registration fees. While it is always awesome to be able to find a great domain name by hand registering the domain name (our domain finder tools can help you with that) it is often more likely that you can find a top notch domain name at a domain name auction (our domain name auction tools can help you with the search). Whichever route you choose be sure and do your homework. You may also want to read our guide on how to choose a domain name registrar so you can get a good deal on your domain name while still choosing a reputable registrar.
9. Keyword Rich – Choose a domain name that is full of keywords that are related to your website. If your site sells vitamins then try and choose a domain name that contains the word “vitamins” in the domain name. Use our advanced search option for any of our domain tools and also use our domain alerts to receive personalized alerts when domains containing certain keywords you specify become available to register or buy at auction. You also may find it helpful to take a look in our fully searchable keyword domain repository to view exact match keyword only domain names that are available to register.
10. Type-In Traffic – Type-In traffic is when someone navigates directly to a website by simply typing in what they are looking for and then “.com” on the end into their URL bar in their browser. If you can find an exact match keyword only domain name then you have a good chance of receiving some type in traffic to the domain and also receiving some Search Engine Optimization (SEO) benefit to using the domain name as well. Use our tool that helps find domains with type-in traffic and also learn more by visiting our type-in traffic page.
11. Avoid Numeral Substitutions – Numerals in a domain can work ok but avoid substituting common words with numerals as they can often be confusing and hard to remember. For example, try not to use the numeral “4″ instead of “for”, “2″ instead of “to”, etc.
12. Avoid Slang – Stay away from slang spellings of words for the same reasons that you should stay away from numeral substitutions. It is one thing to think up a great brandable name that is easy to remember and quite another to buy a domain name with “u” instead of “you”.
13. Watch Out for the Numeral “0″ – The numeral “0″ is often mistaken for the letter “O” and vice versa. Make sure that there is no confusion between the 2 in your domain name.
14. Brandable – 15 years ago know one knew who or what a “Google” was but now Google.com is an extremely valuable and very brandable domain name. Don’t get too carried away with being clever but a brandable domain name can go a long way in making your site successful.
15. Easy to Type – The easier the domain is to type then the better the domain will be.
16. Easily Understood – When someone reads or hears your domain name for the first time then they should be able to easily understand what your website is all about. Of course, there is often a give and take between trying to find a domain that is easily understood and one that is brandable as well.
17. Copyright Issues – Steer clear of domain names that are infringing on an existing copyright. You can use the online search function of the US Copyright Office if you have doubts about copyright issues for a particular domain name.
18. Unique – The more unique a domain name is then the easier it is to remember. Stay within the constraints of the other rules when searching for a unique domain name but if you can be clever and pull it off then finding a unique domain name can pay off handsomely for years to come.
19. Use a Thesaurus – If you feel stuck when trying to choose your domain name then bring up 2 different tabs: open up Thesaurus.com in one tab and then our instant domain search tool in another tab. Plug in the word or words that most closely describe your website into the thesaurus and then as your find good synonyms then start entering the word combinations into our domain search tool to instantly check the availability of the domains.
20. Search Dropped Domains – Dropped domains are domains that have just recently changed from registered status to unregistered status. Many times a company will go out of business, someone is not able to afford the domain registration renewal fee, or someone will just forget to renew their domain name. When this happens a domain is dropped and available for anyone to snap up and register for themselves. Search through our database of dropped domains that we have compiled from multiple sources to find a great dropped domain name.
21. Memorable – If you can easily remember a domain name after hearing it just once then there is a good chance that you have found a memorable domain name.
22. Domain Auctions – Domain auctions can be great sources for finding bargain domain names. Use our domain auction tools to search through domain names for sale by auction from multiple auction sources.
23. Industry Jargon – While it is important to make sure that your domain name is easily understood by everyone who reads it, at the same time a good strategy can be to use industry jargon specific to your website niche for your domain name. Using industry jargon can increase the credibility of your website in the eyes of your website visitors who are familiar with jargon in your websites niche.
24. Brainstorm – If you have a business partner or a friend then use them to bounce some ideas around. Start by thinking of your ideal domain name and then throw out as many words and combinations of words related to that ideal domain name as possible. Sooner or later you are bound to have a flash of genius and find a great domain name. To rapidly search for available domain names then use our instant domain search tool.
25. Start Now! – Start choosing a domain name as soon as you can before someone else snaps it up!
Our Tools Make Choosing a Domain Name Easy!
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More Domain How To Guides
- How to Find a Good Domain Name for a Business
- How to Find a Great Domain Name
- How to Register a Domain Name
- How to Find Money Making Domain Names
- How do I Purchase a Domain Name?