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How To Pick A Good Domain Name

Updated on October 25, 2012
Domain Name Extensions
Domain Name Extensions | Source

Why It Is Important To Pick A Good Domain Name?

Quite simply your domain name is your identity on the internet. It is how your customers will remember your web site. The words you choose for your domain name are a key component in how well your web site will rank in the search engines for your chosen keywords. So after reading this you will be able to make a more informed decision when choosing and buying a your domain name.

You have three basic choices as to the type of domain name to buy.1) Business name 2) Keyword name 3) a word that has no meaning because you made it up. Usually these are rather short, catchy names. Both Google and Yahoo fit this category. Examples


Using Your Business Name As Your Domain Name

If you already have a brick and mortar business, that is a store people can walk into, then you could use the name you are already using. That is assuming no one else has already bought it yet. If your mind is made up that this is the name you wish to use then your work is done.

Just go to a domain name registar and buy it before someone else beats you to it. But first continue reading to learn why this is not always the best choice if you wish to be easily found in the search engines.

Buying A Keyword Domain Name

This is my favorite type of domain name. And for good reason. Here is why. But first you may be asking yourself, what is a keyword? It is word or phrase a person may search for in a search engine to find whatever it is they are looking for. If you typed in "Round Blue Widgets" into Google then then those would be the keywords you were searching on, aka a keyword phrase

When using keyword names use generic words. There is very little chance of you infringing on another persons trademarked name. No one is allowed to trademark a generic word, like for example the word "Fruit".

Now lets says your company sells "Round Blue Widgets". This is your one and only product and its crucial you sell tons of these little things. When a person searches for the keyword phrase "Round Blue Widgets" it is very desirable for them to find you without you having to spend money on Pay Per Click advertisements, commonly abreviated as just PPC.

When your site shows up naturally for this keyword phrase this is called an Organic Listing, verses a PPC listing that you paid for. A Keyword domain name that has keywords in it targeted to whatever it is your trying to sell is much easier to get to page one of the Search Engine Result Page, aka SERP, with other proper Search Engine Optimization. This is commonly abbreviated as SEO.

If your business name was We Make Cool Toys inc. and you used this business domain name. You might buy something like or If someone searched for "Round Blue Widgets" your site would not as easily rank highly since "We Make Cool Toys" and "Round Blue Widgets" are totally different words and not even related in any kind of way.

But what if you had instead chosen a keyword domain name like or possibly even better The keyword name has in it exactly what the user is searching for so it is much more relevant to the search being conducted. Actually its an exact match which is great! Now having a relevant keyword name of and by itself is NOT going to get you to page #1. It will require many other things to be done properly as well. But since its not desirable to change your domain name its best to get this right from the start. The other factors that affect your ranking are easily tweaked as needed until you hit the sweet spot.

You can use this Google Traffic Estimator Tool to get an idea for which keywords are the most valuable. This Google Keyword Tool gives you an idea of how many times per month a keyword is searched for. It also suggests keyword variations you probably have not have thought of. Be sure to click on "Show Estimated Average CPC" column in the drop down box where it says "Show/Hide Columns".

[UPDATE] A recent Google update seems to penalize EMD, exact match domain names in some instances according to another writer here on HubPages. Go check out here hub on Exact Match Domains for the latest news. In my opinion EMD are still good and all, this new update just means that your website must have good high quality unique content to hit top ten on Google. Stuff you should be doing anyway. This new update seems to target low quality EMD websites.

Buying a Domain Name With A Word You Created

Yahoo and Google are pretty much words that were made up. While Google does have an actual meaning. The average person probably never had heard of the word prior to taking over the world, I mean becoming the #1 web site in the world. Google means a very large number. A googol is a 1 followed by 100 0's.

The advantage to making up your own word is that it will most likely be available for registration. You will have a much better shot at getting a short domain name since pretty much all dictionary words have been registered long ago. Make it a catchy word or phrase to help people remember it since it is a new word.

Its all in the name.

Factors To Consider When Picking Out A Domain Name

  1. Whoever said short was no good lied. The shorter the better! All you men can be proud of your ummm ... short names now.
  2. A catchy word or phrase helps to make it easier to remember. You do want people to remember your name and return again and again, right?.
  3. Avoid tricky, confusing names that you must explain how to spell. i.e.
  4. Use dashes - to separate keyword or words in the name helps search engines to pick out each word. Google has said that its bots recognize the - as a word separator. Examples: would count as one big word whereas would be seen as 3 distinct words, which is what you want. Some people will argue that having more than one or two dashes in a domain name are too many. I think two is the most I would use. Others dislike them all togather.
  5. It should be easy to remember. = great -- = not so much so (but this would still make for a good long tail keyword domain name)
  6. It should be easy for the average person to spell it, otherwise consider also buying common misspellings too and redirecting them all to the same web site.
  7. Keyword domain names require less SEO work to rank well for your main keywords. It is worth repeating this again here.
  8. If you ever plan to sell the domain name it is best to buy a .com as they are the most desirable on the domain name resale markets. Sadly just about every good .com that you can think of, you will discover someone has beat you to it long ago.
  9. Consider other Generic Top Level Domain names, gTLD, like .com, .net, .org, .biz,.info, .name, .mobi, .cat, .edu, .gov, .int, .mil, .aero, .coop, .museum, .asia, .pro, .cat, .jobs, .tel and .travel There are many other TLD choices besides .com and it is often easier to get what you want if you willing not to have a .com. For keyword domain names it won't matter one bit if it's a .com or a .biz. All TLD's will rank equally well in the Search Engines given the proper SEO work. Certain gTLD's have restrictions on who may register one, like .edu is only for colleges. .gov for official government entities. I have bolded the gTLD's that are most commonly used.
  10. Avoid Country Code Top Level Domain names, aka ccTLD's for the most part. Each country was issued at least one ccTLD for their country to use. The UK has .uk, Japan .jp, China .cn. Only get a ccTLD if your web site is trying to only target that one country. Otherwise you're better off with a generic TLD that can be used to target the whole globe. While there are ways to get around this somewhat it's best to avoid these issues in my opinion. Personally I have had success with a .ws domain ranking very well, #1 - #3, for all regions worldwide in Google even though .ws is a ccTLD. Because of this and based upon the choices given me in Webmaster Tools I tend to think that Google treats .ws as a gTLD . Google Geotargeting information.
  11. Spend some time researching and thinking about a name before purchasing it. After I have decided on a name, then I like to sleep on it for a few days to make sure. You might think of something better in the meantime. Or you might think of something that's not so good about the name. While its not a lot of money to register a name there is no point in buying a year or two, and then not using it because you went with something different in the end. Of course by waiting you are taking a chance someone else could grab the name first.

Only register your domain name through an ICANN accredited registar. I have personally used GoDaddy to register my names since 2003 and been very happy with their domain name registration services.

Feel free to leave suggestions and comments below. What has worked well for you? Feel free to disagree with me about anything presented here. I would like to know why you feel I am wrong and ask for some kind of evidence to back up your claims.

Best Type of Domain Name To Register Poll

In your opinion which is the best type of domain name to register

See results

By Anthony Goodley ©Anthony Goodley 2010 All Rights Reserved Worldwide.


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    • rhenop86 profile image

      Rheno Molina 

      5 years ago from Cebu, Philipines

      You are really lucky if you own a very good domain name. I would like to share my hub.

    • wallpaperdownload profile image


      7 years ago from Mumbai

      Hey, Nice hub but I think the future of keyword based domain name is just gonna end, why?, because If we think like search engines, if we find keyword based domains like

      all on the first page, with all powered by seo, then this will make search engines like Google an ugly place to visit. So I think for future and evergreen business, we need to move our attention towards brand not key based domains.

      Thank u.

    • Rachel Roodhardt profile image

      Rachel Roodhardt 

      7 years ago from Folkestone, Kent

      Bit of an change going on at the moment about Exact Match Domains:

      Hope you find it useful!

    • Kalux profile image


      7 years ago from Canada

      I've been sitting here contemplating domain names for approx. 2 hours but now that I've read this I've decided to go with a keyword based domain. Thanks!

    • GoGreenTips profile image

      Greg Johnson 

      7 years ago from Indianapolis

      Great article! Very thorough and accurate. I had never heard of domain hole and found the link very useful. I just started investing in domain names recently and glad to find another tool to help. Thanks

    • profile image

      Ben D 

      8 years ago

      As Said by Mr.Skerry(?) I would go with DomainHole. Spend 10 minutes on the site, you'll find a good domain easily.

    • Nyamache profile image

      Joshua Nyamache 

      8 years ago from Kenya

      A good quality domain name will promote a site in various ways. It is easy to grow with it as a site also grows by having various projects. Have you noticed that the most popular sites worldwide have short domain names that have got no hyphens. All of them are of dot com,,,, are examples of these sites.

      It is also advisable for one to register a short name that is of dotcom extension. However, nowadays dot net is also becoming popular.

    • Action Printing profile image

      Action Printing 

      8 years ago from 3343 Arden Way, Sacramento, CA 95825

      I wish I had this info when I was registering for a domain 5 years ago, Great and useful hub. Voted Up

    • profile image

      Clint Skerry 

      8 years ago

      A great tool I've used for domain name ideas is DomainHole.

      Makes my life so much easier.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Thanks for the above article.Its very useful to me as I have been looking into getting into domaining for the last few weeks. Im struggling to find a good website to teach me how to approach it(from a beginners perspective). Do you have any recommendations??Thanks

    • loseweightmama profile image


      9 years ago from Maine

      Great explanation - I work in the web development field and exact match domains do make a difference in getting ranking with the search engines. Just make sure to do your due diligence. I've seen many companies that had a domain name that didn't allow them the growth they needed. I'd also try to get a yourdomain vs your-domain as there is a theory that hyphens hold back your ranking but that is to be debated.

    • MyWebs profile imageAUTHOR

      Anthony Goodley 

      9 years ago from Sheridan, WY

      I'm not sure If I would call myself a professional webmaster or not, but I have put much effort into learning how things should be done properly.

    • Rismayanti profile image


      9 years ago from Tropical Island

      You look a proffesional web master, I will follow. Thanks for share and good lesson.

    • MyWebs profile imageAUTHOR

      Anthony Goodley 

      9 years ago from Sheridan, WY

      There are a variety of approaches to domain names. Picking a new domain name is important and deserves much thought. I'm happy to get you to thinking. Thanks for the comments.

    • Army Infantry Mom profile image

      Army Infantry Mom 

      9 years ago

      A lot of good information in this article,.. I ran one of my previous sites ( a site for supporting troops however I hadn't kept in mind all the other 100's of sites that began with operation and well it was lost in the sauce so to speak among all of them, LOL. All thouugh google has my name (Army Infantry Mom) indexed as a product so I figured in my new site I'd use my name,.. however now, your article has me thinking,..LOL

    • MyWebs profile imageAUTHOR

      Anthony Goodley 

      9 years ago from Sheridan, WY

      Thanks Jen, I hope when you go to buy a domain name this is of some help to you.

    • Jen's Solitude profile image

      Jen's Solitude 

      9 years ago from Delaware

      I'm so glad you friend-ed me on Redgage or I would have never found this terrific article, about choosing the right domain name. I have promptly bookmarked it. Thank you so much!

    • MyWebs profile imageAUTHOR

      Anthony Goodley 

      10 years ago from Sheridan, WY

      @Les I think it comes down to what is more important. Branding or traffic. In my opinion a person could use a keyword domain name to get the traffic and still prominently display the company's name for branding purposes to have the best of both worlds.

      On your domain that uses your company name you can still use keywords in the file path and page names effectively too.

      If I was selling electronics I would do something like this: -- --

      A clean URL structure with categories and subcategories as file paths/folders and brands as files names can be very effective. By clean URL structure I mean without all the gibberish garbage like ?cat=132&brand=546...

    • Les Seamster profile image

      Les Seamster 

      10 years ago from Branson Missouri

      I wished I would have read this article several years ago when I used my business name for my domain. It took a long time to generate traffic to my business, and after reading your article, I will apply the keyword approach to my next domain. Thanks again for great educational advice.


    • MyWebs profile imageAUTHOR

      Anthony Goodley 

      10 years ago from Sheridan, WY

      Thanks for the kind comment and for following me wavegirl22. Who knows what I'll write about next, I sure don't???

    • wavegirl22 profile image


      10 years ago from New York, NY

      MyWebs- great info here. . and you make it actually interesting! Consider me your newest fan;)

    • MyWebs profile imageAUTHOR

      Anthony Goodley 

      10 years ago from Sheridan, WY

      Thank you Ann Nonymous. I'm glad it was useful for you.

    • Ann Nonymous profile image

      Ann Nonymous 

      10 years ago from Virginia

      And here I though you always used your company's! great info, MyWebs!


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