Choosing a domain name is one of the most responsible tasks you can face when creating a website. Your website name has an enormous impact on how search engines rank your website, and how customers treat your business. Being a webmaster, I realize the importance of selecting URLs, and I would like to share this knowledge with you. Below I have gathered the most important factors you need to take into consideration when picking your website name. So, let’s start.

1. Select the name that reflects the essence of your business.

Although it’s obvious that your site name should reflect the main idea of your service, many website owners select non-related domain names when they find that their preferred names are already taken. This is wrong!

Suggestion: brainstorm top 10 keywords related to your business and start joining them to make up a good domain. You may also try to add suffixes and prefixes to these keywords. Ideally, your domain name should contain the name of your company.

2. Ensure that your domain name won’t be confused with other websites.

Creating domain names that can be associated with other, more popular web resources is a recipe for disaster. Hyphenated, misspelled variants of the already existing, established websites don’t look professional.

Suggestion: ensure that your company’s domain name is not associated with other services (you can do this online, or you can ask your colleagues’ and customers’ opinion).

3. Make it easy to type and recollect.

A short, easy to spell domain name has a great marketing value. When the URL is simple, people are more likely to remember and share it. But when it’s too sophisticated, it is difficult to recollect and spell it correctly.

Suggestion: avoid hyphens, difficult spelling words, numbers, etc.

4. Prefer .com.

Surely, there are many successful online businesses that have other extensions (.net, .org). Yet the most preferred extension for entreprises has always been .com, as it instantly brings the professional look to your pages, and what is more important – it brings credibility. For those who run international business it is advisable to use local extensions for affiliate websites: .uk for the United Kingdom, .de for Germany, .cn for China, etc.).

Suggestion: if you are at all serious about creating a successful international website, you are bound to select a domain name with .com.

5. Use special domain selection tools.

With the help of these tools you can instantly check the availability of domain names. Remember that you are not obliged to buy the selected name there. You can just pick the name, and then purchase it through your registrar.

6. To pay or not to pay

You have definitely heard about paid and free domain names. So, what’s the difference? Free domain names are usually offered as ‘gift’ either by sitebuilders, or by host providers to their new users.  There are also whole zones where you can obtain domain names for free. However, the vast majority of these relatively free domains impose certain limitations onto your website, namely the inability to register in the site catalogs, and significant restriction in monetization methods. Besides, they can damage the image of the website in the eyes of visitors.

Subdomains are great for those who try their strength in sitebuilding, because even if they fail to create a successful website they lose nothing. However, such domain names can’t be effectively used for serious business purposes and marketing. Those who take their enterprise seriously should opt for paid domain names that give you the freedom of action, professional look, and customers’ trust.

Suggestion: I recommend purchasing domain names in 95% of cases. Only when it completely belongs to you, you can find peace of mind. Besides, domain names are not so expensive – even a kids can afford them (on average they cost $5-10 annually). It’s obvious that this sum is nothing compared to the effort, time, and energy you won’t be able to compensate.

Conclusion

Domain name is the reflection of your business. If you want people to take your enterprise seriously, and if you are concerned about such things as branding, you need to think up a sharp, professional, easy to spell and recollect URL. Take your time, consider multiple versions, listen to your colleagues’ opinion, and you will certainly come up with a perfect domain name!

Don’t forget to share this post with those who may find it useful. I will be pleased to answer any questions related to selecting domain names. Contact me via FB, Google+ or Twitter.