Best Tips for Choosing Website Names and Domain Names
With the explosion of websites and registered URLs on the internet it is getting harder to find a suitable domain name that matches your brand name or what you site is all about.
Most of the preferred DOT COM URLs are gone and there is a tendency to choose hyphenated addresses or longer names, or to go for another family of site extensions such as DOT NET etc.
Is this a good idea and what are your options? What are the tips for choosing a great domain name that works?
Despite the shortage of suitable addresses, the key points to consider when choosing a successful URL domain name still remain the same:
Simple, Short and Relevant - Shorter URLs are always much better because they are much easier to remember and much easier to type. Potential visitors are put off by long names as most people prefer to only type 6-10 letters. Use the minimum number of letters even if you use a recognisable abbreviation, initials or acronyms. Recent research showed that short URLs get clicked twice as often as long ones from search results. So by choosing short URLs you will receive better rankings and better click throughs from the search results.
Domain extensions - If you are at serious about building a successful website, especially one for a buisiness then you should stick to DOT COM despite the shortage of available domains. This is the first extension that most people try when searching for a Website and it has a better perceved reputation. Always look fat the current the dropped domain lists as this is a great way to pickup a domain that won't appear in the standard searches. You may be lucky enough to get a domain that is several years old and may have some residual links and PR, that will give your site a boost.
Descriptive - Your web address should ideally announce the content visitors will find on your site when they see your site listed in the search results. Of course this is going to be hard in 5 to 6 letters A great web site address describes its contents and leaves the user clear about its contents. Rather than base the address on firm's name, use a descriptive name that relates specifically to the purpose of the web site.
Make it Easy to Type - If your domain name is complicated or requires attention to type correctly you will lose many of your potential customers. This may occur because of length, complexity, spelling, or the use of unusual or hard to remember words.
Make it Easy to Remember - Successful marketing your site relies on users coming back for repeat visits and this depends on how easy it is to remember. It is no good having a fabulous website if no one remembers it. There have been several classic examples of 'catchy phrases' that have worked well such as the unusual name Wotif.com. But this is very hard to achieve and may require a huge advertising budget. Use the Google Auto-suggest tool to see the sequence of keywords that are popular for your topic.
Create and Fulfill Expectations - It is important that someone who hears about your domain name or sees it in search results pages should be able to understand what your site is about. It is essential that they are not deceived.
Avoid Copyright Infringements - Make sure your domain is not infringing a copyright, a brand name or any close variant of a brand name. This is deceptive and may trigger legal action.
Set Yourself Apart with a Unique Brand - Be creative and choose a unique combination of keywords and abbreviations that readily identify your website. This is nard to do but very worthwhile as your users will remember it and link it with your website objectives.
Avoid Hyphens and Numbers - Avoid hyphens and numbers in domain names as it will make your domain harder to remember, type and will be easily confused. Many of your users may type the name without the number or hyphen and end up at your competitors sites. One possible advantage is that search engines can better distinguish your keywords, but hyphens should only be used as a last resort.
Do Preliminary research to check for similar sites - If you can, choose a domain name that is not similar to other competing sites. If there are very similar alternatives you may leak users to those sites. If necessary register those similar sites as well. Your domain host will ofter provide an automatic redirection facility which will help gather all your lost users back to your main site. This may include likely misspellings.
Check that a multiple word domain name is not misunderstood - Web addresses often involve combination of keywords. Sometimes this may create unintended meanings that you may not be aware of. This may confuse your users.
Try the Domain with Friends and Associates - Pick several available domain options and let your friends, clients and associates help you choose the best option. A domain that makes a lot of sense to you, or is 'catchy' or easy for you to remember may be unappealing to others. Let them rank your options and provide feedback to help you decide.
How much Time should you Spend Deciding on an Address? - It is well worthwhile spending a lot of time searching for an available address. You first, second or third suggestion may not be the best and so be prepared to take some time getting it right. Give it plenty of time and don't be too impatient.
© 2011 Dr. John Anderson
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