Finding the Right Domain Name for Your Site.
or changing a domain name (sometimes called a URL for uniform
resource locator) is a critical marketing decision. The problem is
more than just a simple search for availability on
NetworkSolutions.com, GoDaddy.com, BuyDomains.com, or another
registration site. The following tips give you the lowdown on how to
choose the right name for your site.
Understanding what makes a good domain name
A good domain name is:
1. Easy to say in person. Its unwieldy to say digit before a number in a
URL, or the word dash or hyphen; besides, people have a hard time
finding the dash character on a keyboard.
2. Easy to understand over the radio or on the phone. Words that include the ess and eff sounds are often confused when listening, as are certain consonant pairs like b/p, c/z, or d/t. If youre selling in other countries, confusion between English consonants is different, such as b/v in Spanish or r/l in Japanese.
3. Easy to spell. Using homonyms might be a clever way to get around a competitor who already owns a name youd like to have; however, youre just as apt to drive traffic to your competitor as to gain some for yourself. Also, try to avoid foreign words, words that are deliberately misspelled just because they are available (for example, valu rather than value), or words that are frequently misspelled.
4. Easy to type. The longer the URL, the more likely a typo. Your domain
name can be as long as 59 characters, but unskilled typists average an
error every 7 keystrokes!
5. Easy to read in print and online ads. You can insert capital letters or
use a different colour for compound domain names to make them easier
to read. Be sure your domain name can also be read easily in black and
white, and in a logotype if you design one.
6. Easy to read in the address toolbar. You cant use colours or capitalization to distinguish parts of a compound name or acronym in address or search engine boxes. Depending on the browser fonts set by the user, the letters m, n, or r next to each other (mrnrnm) are very hard to read, as are the characters l/i (lilllil), or the similar digit/letter combination of 1/l.
7. Easy to remember. Words or phrases are easier to remember than a stream of letters in an acronym, unless your target audience already knows the acronym from extensive branding (for example, AARP). Your domain name may be, but doesnt need to be, your business name, unless you enjoy a pre-existing brand identity.
One of the more complicated URLs Ive heard is 1uffakind.com. The interactive design company that owns the name wants to distinguish itself from OneofaKind.com, which is owned by a competing company. The name is memorable enough, but radio ads must spell out the homonym as the digit one followed by you-eff-eff-a kind dot com. That expensive airtime could be spent on a message rather than on spelling!
Remember: Stick with original, top-level domains (the primary categories into which Internet addresses are divided): .com for businesses, .org for nonprofits, .net for network providers. Avoid top-level domains like .info, .biz, or odd countries just to get the name you want. People wont remember them and wont find your site.
Dont bother taking the same name with multiple, top-level domains unless
you think your audience might be confused. You probably wont want to spend money branding your URL with both extensions; generally one site redirects to the other. The one exception is international selling. You might want to register the same domain in different countries with a large target market, such as members of the European community or Japan, so you can get into search engines restricted by national registration.
With more than 71 million domain names registered, finding a name might
seem impossible. Take comfort in knowing that nearly as many omain names are now expiring as new ones are registered.
Note: If your first choice of domain name isnt available, try the suggestion tool available on many registration sites. Use those suggestions to brainstorm more names. Get reactions from friends, customers, clients, and strangers about your options. If youre really desperate to get a particular name, go to the WhoIs database at www.networksolutions.com/whois/index.jsp or other registrar sites to see who owns the domain name and bid to buy it.
Kindly watch this video for more tips on finding the right domain name for your site.
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