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How to Choose a Domain Name

Published on 6/11/2010 by

Five Simple Steps to Picking a Winning Domain Name

Choosing a domain name is one of the most important aspects of beginning your new adventure online. A well chosen domain name can mean the difference between a site that ranks high and a site that nobody will ever see. Here are five tips to ensure your success and get you off on the right foot.

Brainstorm

Let the thinking begin! Start brainstorming by making a list of keywords and ideas that are relevant to your site. If you’ll be advertising your pizza business online, some of your keywords may be pizza, fast pizza delivery, Italian, pizza toppings, pizza coupons, and so on. If you need help generating ideas and keywords, use Google’s Keyword Tool. Get twenty words down on paper and then see what you can do with them.

Easy to Remember

Your domain name can be up to 67 characters long. That gives you a lot of options. But just because your name can be that long doesn’t mean it should be. Shoot for words that are easy to remember. People are more likely to have pizza.com stick in their heads than abcdefghijklmnopizza.com.

Hard to Misspell

Never pick a name that can be spelled more than one way unless you want to inadvertently send traffic and business to your competitor. There.com is short and to the point, but so is Their.com and Theyre.com. Get the idea? Only go for names that are hard to misspell.

Go Easy on the Extras

While it’s perfectly acceptable to add dashes and numbers to your domain name, do so with discretion. IMakePizza.com is good; I-Make-Pizza.com is hard to type and even harder to remember.

Branding

Whether you’re going to be running a business online or writing a personal blog, your domain name will brand you. Think of popular, well trafficked sites like Yahoo, Google, Flickr and Amazon. What does Google really mean? Google has branded itself as the most popular search engine in the world by picking an easy to remember domain name and then creating an image around it. In order to brand yourself, you’ll need to separate from the pack. If you wanted pizza.com but the name is taken, don’t go with pizza.net. Brand yourself as an individual.

Unique

Your domain name should be fresh and unique. If your main competitor is pizza.com, don’t use pizza2.com. What about IMakePizza.com? Play with words and don’t be afraid to pull out the Thesaurus for inspiration.

Once you’ve brainstormed and put together a list of words, check their availability of names with online tools like PC Names or GoDaddy. Is your possible future domain name available? Great, now run it by the Copyright Office to make sure it isn’t trademarked or copyrighted. It’s rare that choosing a copyrighted word will get you in legal trouble, but it does happen. Better safe than sorry.

When you’ve completed all of the above steps and locked in on the perfect name. Register it with a domain registrar and you’ll be in business and ready to become the next big thing online.