1. Brainstorm 5 Top Keywords
When you first begin your domain name search, it helps to start with 5 terms or phrases (more if you can think of them) in mind that best describe the domain you’re seeking. Once you have this list, you can start to pair them up or add prefixes and suffixes to create good domain name ideas. For example, if you’re launching a mortgage related domain, you might start with words like – mortage, finance, home equity, interest rate, house payment. Once you have created your list take those words, and then begin adding other qualifying words and prefixes and suffixes to them then. For example, with the word “mortgage” try www.mortgagespot.com or www.easymortgage.com.
2. Make Your Domain Name Unique
Having your website confused with a popular site already owned by someone else is a recipe for disaster. Rule of Thumb: Avoid domains that are simply the plural, hyphenated or misspelled version of an already established domain.
3. If Possible, Only Choose Dot-Com Available Domains
If you’re not concerned with type-in traffic, branding or name recognition, you don’t need to worry about this one. However, if you’re at all serious about building a successful website over the long-term, you should be worried about all of these elements, and while directing traffic to a .net or .org is fine, owning and 301’ing the .com is critical. With the exception of the very tech-savvy, most people who use the web still make the automatic assumption that .com is all that’s out there – don’t make the mistake of locking out or losing traffic to these folks. As a general rule .org domains are associated to noprofit organizations. The .net domain is one of the original top-level domains. It was initially intended to be used only for the computers of network providers, however, there are no formal restrictions on who can register a .net domain name. Therefore, while still popular with network operators, it is often treated as a second .com.
4. Make it Easy to Type
If a domain name requires considerable attention to type correctly, due to spelling, length or the use of un-memorable words or sounds, you’ve lost a good portion of your branding and marketing value. I’ve even heard usability folks toute the value of having the letters include easy-to-type letters (which I interpret as avoiding “q,” “z,” “x,” “c,” and “p”).
5. Make it Easy to Remember
Remember that word-of-mouth and SERPs (search engine results page) dominance marketing (where your domain consistently comes up for industry-related searches) both rely on the ease with which the domain can be called to mind. You don’t want to be the company with the terrific website that no one can ever remember to tell their friends about because they can’t remember the domain name.
6. Keep the Name as Short as Possible
Short names are easy to type and easy to remember (the previous two rules). They also allow for more characters in the URL in the SERPs and a better fit on business cards and other offline media.
7. Don’t register a domain containing the digit “0” in it, unless it is going to be part of a recognizable word (like 1000 or 2000).
This is because the digit “0” is often confused with the vowel “O.” If you feel that you must register a domain with the digit “0,” make sure that you also register the corresponding domain containing the vowel “O.”
8. Avoid Copyright Infringement
This is a mistake that isn’t made too often, but can be disastrous for a great domain and a great company when it does. To be sure you’re not infringing on anyone’s copyright with your site’s name, visit www.copyright.gov and search before you buy.
9. Try to avoid using domains that contain ‘2’ for “to,” ‘4’ for ‘for,’ ‘u’ for ‘you.’
Your customers will easily get confused. However, if you must register such a domain, register the expanded form of the domain as well, i.e. if you are registering “FirstAidCPR4U.com,” also register “FirstAidCPRForYou.com.”
10. Set Yourself Apart with a Brand
Using a unique name is a great way to build additional value with your domain name. A “brand” is more than just a combination of words, which is why names like mortgageforyourhome.com or shoesandboots.com aren’t as compelling as branded names like bankrate.com or lendingtree.com.
11. Reject Hyphens and Numbers
Both hyphens and numbers make it hard to give your domain name verbally and falls down on being easy to remember or type. I’d suggest not using spelled-out or roman numerals in domains, as both can be confusing and mistaken for the other.
12. Search for Deleted Domain Names
Domain names that were once registered, but have expired turn up every day. With some research you might be able to find one of these names that would be a good fit for your business. You can search for deleted domains at www.deleteddomains.com
Need a domain name? Visit GoDaddy.com