Picking the wrong domain name for your business can be a constant nuisance at best.
Here are my top six tips that will help you pick a winning domain name.
1. Pick a .com
We all know that .com reigns supreme as far as domain extensions go and that there are dozens of alternative extentions to chose from.
Don’t be tempted by all the options available to deviate from a .com.
The main reason to pick a .com is that people have been trained over the years to automatically assume your company website ends in .com.
If your company is Acme Widgets, people will type in acmewidgets.com and expect to see your company site.
Be there, even if costs a little bit extra. It’s another factor that helps you develop trust online.
It’s not unheard of to hear about big companies paying domain squatters anywhere from hundreds of thousands to millions for their .com.
While not on that scale, I have personally purchased a domain name for $2500.00 for our digital marketing agency (www.BoydMarketing.com) and feel like I stole it to this day.
2. Avoid numbers
Picking a domain with a numeral in it just might drive you nuts.
PhoenixHomes4sale.com looks like a win because you got the .com but every time you tell someone to check out your website they will ask the dreaded question:
Is that the number ‘4’ or f-o-u-r all spelled out?
After you answer that question a few times, you start training yourself to say:
That’s Phoenix Homes – the number 4 – sale.com
And every single time you say it out loud you’ll be reminded of that dumb decision.
3. Avoid abbreviations
Every time I see a legitimate business picking an abbreviated domain name I tend to feel like they aren’t serious.
Funny story, I have a great friend and colleague, Daryl ‘Tex’ Johnson, who runs Frontier Marketing (www.FrontierMktg.com).
On the contrary, he’s as legit as they come and considered in many circles as one of the top PPC consultants in the U.S. (and a really nice guy) but I wonder how much of a pain in the ass for him to have chosen the abbreviated domain.
4. Avoid misspellings
I’m as guilty as anyone with this one.
In 2005, I founded a web 2.0 social network called ‘SurfShoppes.com’
Despite the social network attracting an international community and having some decent success, I feel like all people would talk about was the goofy spelling instead of the great value the site provided.
We later chose to rebrand the company to TubedTV.
The rebranding costs and confusion the pivot created were a tough pill to swallow and unfortunately the site never fully recovered after that.
5. Avoid hyphens
Conversion-Rate-Experts.com is the only site I can think of off the top of my head that is dominant in the face of hyphenation.
It may even be a marketing tactic they deployed to stand out from the crowd, but nonetheless, they’re repeatedly saying:
Conversion hyphen Rate hyphen Experts dot com
6. Make sure it passes the verbal test
And all of the above leads us to my golden rule:
The ultimate test of a great domain name is saying it out loud to someone and they just ‘get it’ with zero explanation needed.
Bonus: Use Whois.com to search
Many domain registrars are monitoring the domain names you search for in real time and if they spot one they think is valuable they will scoop it up, slap a hefty price tag on it and try to sell it back to the highest bidder.
While they would most surely deny it, I can say this is highly plausible because of how many times I’ve seen it happen.
When searching for a domain name, I use Whois.com because I’ve never had that experience with that website.
Without a ton of marketing dollars behind you, it can be hard to overcome a poor domain choice.
But now you are armed with my six top tips on picking a domain name that you won’t regret!
Think I missed something or have a story to add? Join the conversation in the comments below.