Do you have a website, but every time you advertise your domain name to others they seem to have a hard time remembering how to spell or pronounce it?
Maybe you chose a domain name you thought was a perfect choice. It’s probably just a coincidence that your sales are lagging behind your competition…or perhaps not. Picking the right domain name for your business is absolutely essential and more often than not, will make the difference between having online success or failure.
Whether you are researching domain names for your first website or looking to add a 100th website to your load, know what to do and what not to do to ensure maximum domain name success.
Brainstorm as Many Names as Possible
No matter what name you choose, your goal should be this: Find a name that will truthfully describe what your business is , and/or what they will find on your website. Easy enough? Hardly! Especially with the sheer volume of available/ pricey vs. unavailable/ “just what I was looking for!” domain names out there.
Begin brainstorming relevant phrases of what your business entails as well as researching popular keywords. Perform your keyword research by going to a number of sites that provide free access to searches, such as Google Adwords or Sedo.com. You’ll want to pay attention to keywords that have monthly searches of at least 1,600.
Think Outside the Box
Keep in mind that it is not necessary for the domain name to exactly match the company name, although this is ideal. Acronyms and slogans make great domain names because web culture is extremely casual.
For example, if Nike was not already a short, unique and memorable company name (hence, Nike.com), a perfectly good domain for the shoe company could be JustDoIt.com. On the other hand, Burger King, being two words, can easily shorten to BK.com (and it does). However, HaveitYourWay.com would probably be acceptable as well (although it is long and unnecessary).
Make Sure it Isn’t a Pain to Type
Any domain that requires people to make unnatural keystrokes is probably not worth the hassle. Special symbols (rare, but possible) and punctuation, while potentially spicy, can just clutter the simple beauty of a well crafted domain.
It sounds silly, but a complicated domain name can make be impossible to remember after first exposure. The way the human mind works, people are more likely to remember something that rhymes, or is ironic, witty, and predictable.
Since you often only have one shot at making a name stick in a potential customer’s mind, a well-selected domain name can be the difference between profits and deficits. OneStopAutoShop.com will always beat RamirezAutoPartsandBody.com.
Search Available Domains
Now comes the time intensive task of finding domain names that are still available. Remember to search for ones that end in “.com”. By taking a domain that ends in .us or another ending, you are eliminating opportunity for people to remember your website address.
Remember, the easier and more familiar you make your domain name (that includes .com) the easier it can be for potential customers to find you. Put your phrases together in different combinations and see which ones are available.
Don’t be shocked if every name you want is already taken. Just keep on trying various combinations until you find one that’s available and when you do, grab it!
Helpful Tools to Aid the Search Process
The webmaster searching for the perfect domain is not without several helpful resources! Although I did recommend that you try to stick with “.com” domains, there are a few notable exceptions to the rule that have definitely “made it” (del.icio.us and last.fm to name a few).
Search engines like Domainr can help you find an exact match domain (CompanyName.to is always a more direct match than Company.Name12.com). For basic domain name availability and brainstorming searches, there are a ton of sites such as BustaName.com and DomJax.com, that work with your business’ keywords.
Additionally, several sites such as Amazing Domains.co.uk and Neustar.us offer national or domain specific names (.com, .org, .net, .co.uk, .com.au, etc.), for regional specificity.
Purchase Your Domain
When you’re ready to purchase a domain name, there are two main ways to go about doing it. One is somewhat pricey and the other involves a do-it-yourself process. Want to save some money with a domain name that you know is available?
Often the price of the domain will be based on who you are (status increases how much you’ll pay for it) but if you aren’t searchable on Google, then that can work in your advantage. Contact the host directly and ask them how much they’ll charge for your domain name.
A ‘freebie’ tip – HostGator offers a free domain name when you purchase a web hosting package, it will also notify you about the available and expired domain names.
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Image Credit: Ivanpw