How to Select a Great Domain Name for Your Website

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People used to pick domain names based on how they appeared to search engines because there was a belief that having the right words in your domain name would give you killer search engine rankings. That may have been true at some point, but if you're choosing domain names for SEO points, you're wasting your money. 

You are not choosing a domain name to bump your search engine rankings. You are choosing a domain name so that people can remember where to find you so they can tell other people about your business or organization.

Choosing the right domain name is all about setting yourself up for good word of mouth marketing. It's an auditory thing. Your domain name should be easy to remember and easy to say.

Unfortunately, there's a good chance that the perfect domain name for you is probably already taken so you may have to get creative. Here are some tips to help you get started in your task of choosing a domain name that's right for your business or organization. These are not strict rules you need to follow, but guidelines to help you rank the favorability of a domain name. You'll be lucky if you get a domain name that fulfills all of these guidelines.

1) Don't get too cute

Your domain name should reflect the name of your business or the services that you deliver in some manner. Most people will have a hard enough time just remembering the name of your business or organization. Don't get too cute by modeling your domain name after a cute slogan unless that slogan is backed up by lots of marketing dollars and it's not going to change...ever. 

2) Only Use Common Sense Abbreviations

The shorter your domain name, the easier it will be for people to remember, but don't start chopping words in half just to reduce the letter count of your domain name if the words become meaningless by doing so. If you have to choose between making people type more or making them remember obscure abbreviations, choose the former. Your capacity to remember things is limited. Your ability to type is much less constrained. 

For example, if your business was named "Information Services Company, Inc" you could use infoservices.com (better) or infoservicesco.com (acceptable) as abbreviations, but infoservco.com, infoserv.com, and infoservcomp.com should be avoided. "Info" is a commonly used abbreviation for the word "information" and "Co" is often used as shorthand for "company." 

If your business was named "Johnson Lumber and Paint Supply" you could use johnsonlumber.com, but you should avoid johnsonlumberpaint.com because if the Web never existed, people might still refer to you as "Johnson Lumber", but probably not as "Johnson Lumber Paint". 

3) Make it a .com

One of my websites, "socialwave.net" has been known as "socialwave.net" since the day I started it in 2003, yet I continue to have regulars who refer to it as "socialwave.com" when they're telling others about the site. The online world does not stop at the edge of the .com universe, but as a force of habit, people still type in the .com version of a domain name all the time. 

If you had your choice between an acceptable .com domain name and a great .net domain name, you should go with the .net version, but if the .net version was only modestly better, pick the .com version.

4) Don't Dash

Don't substitute dashes for spaces in your domain name unless the version with no spaces is already taken and you have no other appealing options. Like people who own the .net, .org, and other domain names, you'll be sending some of your traffic over to the person who owns the non-spaced version.

 


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