If you don’t have a good domain name you pretty much don’t have anything. The domain name is the first thing potential visitors will know about your website, making it one of the most important factors in making it successful.
The best domain name acts as a unique label that defines who you are and what it is you do on the web. Domain names can end in com,info, internet, net, org, TV and many more. This name is what people will utter as they pass it on to friends, colleagues and family members – not only does have to concisely show what it is you do, but it has to be memorable and thus easy to communicate to other people. The question is how to choose the best domain name?
This post will help first time buyers and existing owners of domain names. There is a lot if information but the Webandrank team have broken it down into categories to make it easily digestible.
We highly recommend you chose a private domain registration as this will keep your name, e-mail address and all other private information out of the global Internet database. It will block the vast majority of spam creeping into your e-mail box. Having a private domain is not mandatory and will not entirely block all spam but you would be stupid to not select this option. I tell you something, I wish this option was available when I created my first website.
Category Killer Domain Name
Category killer is a marketing term used to describe a service, firm, product, brand etc that has distinct long-lasting competitive advantage, meaning all rival firms in that industry will not be able to operate profitably. This term has been applied to domain names with obvious implications; if you can create such a name it will force your competitors out of the market place and see you ranking highly in search engine results. Not only does the name have to strongly identify what it is you do (with a memorable edge) it also has to be search engine friendly.
I have some category killer domain name examples for you; Bobbleheads.com, Apartments.com, Bodybuilding.com, Candy.com, Cars.com and AmericanFlags.com. If a killer name already exists do not go for a plural, hyphenated or misspelled version of that name. You will just have to rack your brains to come up with something original, getting your site confused with an already popular site is a recipe for disaster. Also Google frowns upon the domains created as misspellings of already existing and popular sites.
Using Analytics to Buy Domains
There are many places you can go to check the popularity of searched words but I suggest Google Analytics is one of the best. Google Analytics allows you to see what information people are searching for in Google and Yahoo.
If you already own a popular website then use this to your advantage, regularly analyze your traffic data and see what search terms are becoming popular. It is likely you will find domain names that you may want to register to take advantage of the search engine traffic.
Plurals, The and My
It is very likely that the domain name you want is already taken and the domain name registrar will suggest alternative form of the taken name. If you searched for shoeshop.com it might offer names like: theshoeshop.com, myshoeshop.com and shoeshops.com.
In my opinion it is ok to use ‘the’ and ‘my’ forms of the domain names. If you do opt for this then always promote your company as myshoeshop or theshoeshop to burn the full name into the brains of potential customers. If you always say shoeshop then of course clients will end up in the site of your competitor and not yours.
Also in my opinion never use the plural form of the domain name, shoeshops.com. The most likely situation is that people will miss the ‘s’ when typing the name, just don’t bother with plurals.
Alessandro Flippi is the founder of Webandrank.com and offered his answer to the question, how to choose the best domain name. Alessandro believes the domain needs to represent your product and service while at the same time communicating the current environment of your business. It should be shot possible, intuitive and easy to remember. The domain name must be unique and original, if you confuse your site with a popular site it will be very negative for your business. Try to use, if possible, the best keywords related to your business which will serve as a great anchor for future popularity; if you sell an SEM service, the name ‘semservice.com’ is perfect, also reflect your business in the e-mail address for example email@example.com but you need to hurry as somebody might be taking the name right now. WebandRank is a great example, Rank and Web explains the industry we are in and creates expectations in the minds of the public. However, don’t get obsessed about the keywords; it can be a trap in the aggressive and competitive market place of domain names. If you feel the domain name has good keywords but sounds ridiculous then don’t choose this domain name, try to be more creative. In fact the best domains often focus on unique business ideas. There is much to think about when deciding how to choose a domain name.
What About URL Shorteners?
Have you ever posted up a link that had a stupidly long URL, it is now possible to shorten these URL’s making it much easier for linking. If you are sharing links on Twitter then you pretty much do need a URL shortener. There are some services which offer detailed analytics like bit.ly and other that offer traffic generating schemes such as DiggBar and StumbleUpon’s SU.pr.
One of the problems with URL shorteners is that you give up the branding that comes with having your own URL (all that hard work spent on deciding, how to chose the best domain) For example the URL http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=TinyURL&diff=283621022&oldid=283308287 can be shortened to http://tinyurl.com/mmw6lb but nobody knows that its is Wikipedia. The solution to this problem is, like Coke Cola, to launch your own URL shortener. Coke Cola has opted for CokeURL for its short links; people can easily identify with the brand and will not be put-off from clicking (if you like Coke Cola that is).
If you are thinking about creating a URL shortener then go over to awe.sm, budurl or yourls to build one quickly and cheaply. There are advantages and disadvantages to creating your own URL. Positives, its great for Twitter, twitterers can see your brand which will build up your brand exposure. People will to click on a link with the name of a trusted brand, rather than a random 4 or 5 letter combination.
Negative points, you have to pay for it (not so expensive though) and the third-party URL services are starting to grow, for example Bit.ly will be launching a news service based on the use of its links, if you don’t link with them you won’t be used as news.
Do You Have Domains For Sale?
About 10-15 years ago there was a domain-name buying frenzy and some people went a little overboard. If you are one of these people and you are stuck with domain names you don’t know what to do with, don’t worry there are several ways to turn then into monthly cash.
Cash Parking is a great way to make money and here is how it works. Imagine you have a domain www.yourcityrealestate.com change your city to the name of city that you do not trade in, in this way it will show that it is of no direct use to your business. If you then park this domain using GoDaddy.com, the servers from GoDaddy.com will create a special page filled with PPC links to other related sites. The amount of money you make from your domain will depend on its attraction.
Useful sites for generating killer domains:
Instant Domain Search
Once you have you domain name you need to register it. Take some care over who handles your domain registration; if you lose your domain it will put you out of business. If you choose a hosting company they can register the name when you set up the hosting account. It is possible to set up domains without using your ISP provider and for free. Check these out:
Domain Name Registration Form (re: Internic)
Domain Notes — the new domain information portal
Internic Home Page
Internic FAQ: Who can register a .COM, .ORG and .NET domain name?
Web Interface to Whois via Internic
Glossary of Registration-related Terms
Internic’s Registration Service Forms
RWhois lookup for .US second level domains
Web-based Doman Name Registration form (.US domains)
The US Domain Registration Services
Delegated Subdomains and their content
American Convergent Technologies (register .US domains)
RFC 1591 – Domain Name System Structure and Delegation
RFC 1480 – The US Domain
IANA Internet Assigned Numbers Authority
Free .EU domains
You can buy domains at the following places
Small business yahoo
We here at Webandrank hopes this answers the question, how to choose a domain name and has helped existing domain owners. Creating a killer domain name is so important and without it you are nothing.