How To Choose a Great Domain Name

Choosing the correct domain name is critical for the success of your web site. A poorly chosen name can make it difficult for your audience to find the site, and remember it for later.

When looking for a new name, you should consider these key criteria:

  • It must be easy to say, easy to spell, and easy to remember.
  • It should not be easily misspelled or have multiple spellings (Hair & Hare, for example). If there are multiple spellings, you must be able to register them all.
  • Ideally, it will start with a letter at the top of the alphabet — like ‘A’, ‘B’ or ‘C’. That helps in the phone book and in many online directories.
  • It should be relatively short.
  • It should not have any numbers in it. Me2.com could easily be mistaken for MeToo.com
  • Ideally, it will tell something about what you do. AWorldApart.com is a catchy name, but it doesn’t say a lot about what you do (Travel Agent? Shipping Company? Outreach Program?). JoesPlumbing.net, on the other hand, tells you a lot.
  • Ideally, it will also conjure up a visual image that will make it easier to remember. “Purple Cow Farms”, for example, isn’t something you would easily forget.
  • If possible, avoid hyphens.

For each name you are considering, consider these four aspects:

  • Memorability – Is the name easily remembered?
  • Positive Image – Does the name portray a positive or negative image?
  • Professionalism – Does the name conjure visions of a solid, professional organization, or a one man/woman show?
  • Accuracy – Does the name best reflect the business you are in?

Finally, a word about the .com. Although many companies have tried to take the luster off the .com suffix with alternatives like .biz, .us, .info and .me, the original is still the gold standard. The average person thinks .com is the web. If you choose another domain suffix, you’re going to really have to work hard to train your customers where to find you.

So, while domains like del.icio.us or ma.tt are very creative, and look great on paper, they’re going to be very hard for the average person to remember. Unless you’ve got a big advertising budget, stear clear.

Posted in Business