October 8, 2018
Choosing a domain name should be accomplished with as much care as is lavished on choosing a business name. It needs to be memorable, and it also should make sense in connection with your business. When you have an idea for a blog and you believe that it might be the next big thing, you can’t afford to get the wrong domain name.
A good domain name makes a positive impression on readers. This means that they are more likely to remember your domain name, which translates into repeat visits. Also, it’s vital to keep in mind that your domain name can affect SEO. Using a keyword in your domain name may help it to rank higher in search engine results pages, which should increase traffic to your blog.
1. Choose a Domain Name That’s Easy to Type
People looking for your blog or website shouldn’t have to struggle to spell it. Keep things simple. If your domain name is easy to spell, then it’s also easy to type. Some of the most famous websites have simple domain names. Amazon, Google and Yahoo are all uncomplicated, yet people have no trouble remembering or typing them.
Also, your domain name should be easy to pronounce. When your domain name is written down, are people able to pronounce it with ease? Write down your ideas, and then ask several people to read them aloud. If they struggle with the pronunciation, chances are good that the domain name is too complicated.
Foregoing numbers in your domain name is another related idea. When people hear you speak your domain name, they’ll have no way of knowing if they should use the digit “6” or spell out “six.”
2. Choose a Domain Name Extension with Care
Not so many years ago, the .com extension was just about the only legitimate one available. There were a few .nets out there as well, but today there are far more top level domain name extensions from which to choose.
Still, it’s best to choose a .com extension if possible. Even with hundreds of alternatives available, almost 40 percent of all domains still use the .com extension. It’s familiar and memorable. When people can’t remember the extension on your domain name, chances are good that they will assume you use .com.
The trouble is that the .com extension has been around for so long and is so prolific that many of the short, memorable domain names have already been scooped up. You have to work really hard to come up with a .com domain name that isn’t being used.
If your heart is truly set on a domain name, and it’s already taken with the .com extension, then try for the .net or .org extension instead. These are your best options. Others like .co, .info or .biz may be good alternatives as well.
3. Look for Availability Across Social Media Channels
These days, it’s critically important that you stay in touch with your readers or customers via social media. If you have to use one name on your domain, a second name on Twitter and a third name on Facebook, people are going to have lots of trouble finding you.
When you have a list of two or three likely domain names in mind, start checking for their
availability on all social media platforms, even the ones that you may never use. This is essential because you do not want the public to be confused about the true source of social media posts. Additionally, you don’t want a pretender to grab your domain name on a social media platform only to use it to make fake posts that they say are coming from you.
Sign up for every social media platform that you can once you have chosen a domain name. This prevents others from taking them and ensures that you control the narrative and public perceptions regarding your business. When a new social channel is launched, be the first person in line to grab your domain name.
4. Do a Trademark Search
Domain names generally do not fall under the umbrella of intellectual property. Nonetheless, performing a trademark search at least in the records of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office or another relevant intellectual property office may prove to be valuable.
If another party has a trademark registration for a mark that is identical or similar to your proposed domain name, then there may be trouble. The owner of the trademark registration may send a cease and desist letter that forces you to shut down your website, and social media platforms may have to follow suit. This is possible because the domain name can be considered an infringement of the trademark holder’s rights.
Generally, it is not a good idea for an individual to try to search trademark records and determine domain name availability by themselves. Working with a trademark lawyer is the best solution. They can search on a national and on an international basis as well as look at holders of common-law rights. This can provide you with peace of mind that the domain name truly is available and virtually risk-free to use.
5. Avoid Blacklisted or Otherwise Penalized Domain Names
Sometimes, a person or entity will use a website for nefarious purposes. Spammers and other online annoyances use methods to fool Google into thinking that their website should rank higher in search results. Once Google catches on to this misdirection, the owner of the website drops it like a hot potato.
This domain name is now available, but Google may have blacklisted it or otherwise levied penalties on it. You can perform a Google “site” search to see if the domain you prefer has been used before, or check out the Whois history on the domain to ensure that the domain is in good standing.
By using these five tips, you are certain to find a domain name that is memorable, available and ready for use to build a website.
Gary Stevens is a front end developer. He's a full time blockchain geek and a volunteer working for the Ethereum foundation as well as an active Github contributor." His personal website is Gary Stevens Writing.