So you’re ready to start a website and you have to choose a domain name. You may think this is a brainless task, but there’s actually an art to picking the best domain name for your website! This is a guide to help you start the first step of building your successful website!
First off before you actually get ready to register, have you picked the best registrar for your needs? Some of the registrars out there don’t allow you to edit your own nameservers or domain preferences. Make sure that you have full admin abilities over your domain names before using that registrar! My personal favorites are Name Cheap and Go Daddy. Make sure you compare prices when you register your domain name. For instance it used to cost $70.00 just to register a single domain name through Network Solutions because they held the monopoly. However now since there’s more competition, the price has been driven down to usually between $5-$8 per name.
So after you’ve found your registrar, you need to do a bit of thinking before you actually register a domain name. As you can imagine, most of the good .com domains have been taken, but trust me, there are plenty good ones left! You just have to be creative! Let’s say you have a site about tennis. Obviously tennis.com is most likely registered. So you have to think of something else tennis-themed but just as good.
Here are a few tips that you should follow when deciding on a domain:
- Make sure your domain name is less than 3 words in length. This is so that people can remember to type in the whole phrase and also search engines can pick out the keywords in the phrase. Preferably it’s best to have your domain name be 1-2 words, but no more than 3 maximum.
- Don’t register a domain name with hyphens. It used to be great for search engine optimization to have your-own-domain.com. However now it can actually HURT your rankings in some instances. Also, how are people going to remember to type in those hyphens when they come back to visit? If they haven’t bookmarked the site and they can’t find it in the search engines, they’re left relying on their memory to get them back there. Don’t make it harder by adding hyphens. Which brings me to my next point..
- Make the domain name memorable. Going back to our tennis site, having a site called “tennisjunkies.com” for example is simple, memorable, and explains the theme of the site. People will actually remember to type that into their web browser for next time. (NOTE: this domain may or may not already be registered, it was for example purposes only.)
- Include keywords in the domain name. The most important concept in search engine optimization is having your site full of “keywords” that the search engine will pick up on to determine the theme of your site. Some keywords of our tennis site would be: “tennis”, “tennis balls”, “tennis rackets”, “wimbledon”, etc. Just make sure your domain name has at least one keyword in it for the search engines to be happy. You’ll get better rankings.
- Search through expired domain names first. Sometimes it’s better to look through expired domain names and find the ones that are already getting traffic to them. However this is only if you’re looking to create some sort of generic site. If you’ve got a site about “tennis” like we’ve been talking about, you don’t want a generic, irrelevant expired domain name. You want to get one that’s tennis-themed and that would be hard to find.
- Consider parking your domain name until your website is finished. Is it going to be awhile until the finished product is up? Consider parking your domain until your website is ready with a company like Sedo.com. They’ll put a temporary page on there with keyword-relevant words and when a surfer comes along and clicks on one of the links you get paid! It’s a nice way to start making money with your website right away before you get your site designed. Especially if you have a site that was formerly expired that has traffic going to it.
So as you can see, choosing a domain name is not as simple as just thinking up a name. In order for it to be a successful site, you must have a memorable domain name that is both surfer-friendly and search engine friendly. These tips will get you on the path to choosing a better domain name!