Pointers for Choosing a Good Domain Name (and Where to Register One)

Posted by strictlymikedawson in Sep 19, 2012, under Uncategorized

Thinking of setting up a website or a blog? Picking a domain name is one of the first things that you’ll have to do when setting one up.

Importance of Choosing a Good Domain Name

The domain name you choose will stay with you for as long as the website/blog stays alive, which essentially means that you’ll be stuck with it once it’s been registered. And while you’ll be able to change web hosting services as per your discretion, your website’s name will remain the same.

Yes, changing your domain name isn’t totally impossible, you can choose to do so if you want to. However bear in mind that going for a new domain name is like starting from scratch, especially in terms of Google Page Rank, Alexa rank, backlinks and traffic, since all these are linked with your domain name.

Change domain names, and you’ll pretty much have to work your way up from scratch.

What all this means that choosing the right domain name for your website/blog is easily one of the most important decisions in setting up an online presence for your business or your own self.

Pointers for Choosing the Best-Possible Domain Name

While there aren’t any hard-and-fast rules about this, here are a few tips, tricks, and pointers (and general do’s and don’ts) to consider when choosing a domain name, which should help you in making the correct decision (in no particular order):

Tip # 1: Good Domain Names are Relevant – First and foremost, the domain name that you choose for your blog needs to be relevant to its content and subject matter. It should instantly let a potential visitor know what the blog is about. For instance SEOnext.com lets a visitor instantly know that the blog is about SEO. Similarly, Problogger.com clearly indicates that the website is about blogging and bringing professional bloggers together. A website on football stats, for example, should include these two keywords in the name.

Tip # 2: Good Domain Names Include Keywords – An important aspect of a domain name that’s relevant is that is almost always includes relevant keywords in it. Consider the SEOnext.com example once more. The inclusion of the word SEO clearly gives away the fact that the blog is related to SEO (or Search Engine Optimization), and has allowed the owner to include a keyword (SEO) that is relevant to the subject matter of the blog. Similarly, a blog on iPhone application development could be called iPhoneDevBlog.com (or something similar).

Tip # 3: Good Domain Names Use a TLD – A TLD or Top-Level Domain usually refers to domain name extensions such as .com, .org, .net, .biz and the like. Always stick with such TLDs – preferably a dotcom TLD – although it really depends on the nature of the website, for instance a business/company might want to go for a .biz or .co TLD.

Tip # 4: Good Domain Names are Easy to Remember – Stating the obvious here, but a domain name should be simple, short (more on that in a bit), easy to remember, without being too complicated. Following this simple rule allows your visitors (present visitors and potential) to easily access your website by simply typing in the domain in the browser. A simple, uncomplicated domain is also easier to spread via word-of-mouth. Too difficult a domain, and you risk losing a large chunk of your traffic (particularly direct traffic. Remember, if it’s easy to spell, it’s easy to remember and hence good to go!

Tip # 5: Good Domain Names are Short in Length – The domain name should be short, ideally less than 10 characters, and should never be too long. Use a combination of one or two words, throw your keyword(s) in there and you should be good to go. Keeping it short also makes it easier to remember. For example iPhoneDevBlog.com is a good example of a short domain, when compared with something like iPhoneApplicationDevelopmentBlog.com.

Tip # 6: Good Domain Names don’t Infringe Copyrights – It would be wise to check for any legal issues or copyright infringements before registering for a domain. For instance a domain which resembles another already-registered one (e.g. Faacebook.com, or Mocrosoft.com) might put you at risk later on. Instead think of a unique name, and make sure that your domain name wont land you in legal hot-water or put you at risk of getting sued later on.

Where to Purchase a Domain Name From

Here is a list of the 5 best places to register a domain name for yourself, courtesy the excellent Lifehacker.com.

In addition to the 5 listed in the link above, you can also check out GoDaddy.com.

Personally I’ve used GoDaddy and Name.com plenty of times. Their service is quite good, the registration process for both is quick and swift, both offer plenty of payment options, both have excellent dashboards for domain management, and perhaps most importantly, both these services come with excellent customer support.

Domain names can be registered for anywhere between a single year to up to 5 or 10 years. Payment is made on a per-year basis. You can choose to register a domain for a single year, and have it renewed (automatically or manually, your call) every year.

Choose the one which offers you the cheapest rates on TLDs. Insider tip: try looking for discount coupons and rebate certificates on the internet; if you get a hold of some, you might be able to buy a $10 domain for as low as $1-2 using these!

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