Beginner’s Guide to Domain Names

Beginner's Guide to Domain Names

What’s in a Name?

Picking a domain name to use with your website can be difficult. While it might seem like all of the good names are taken, there’s always something to choose as long as you don’t get too hung up on the perfect name. All that’s needed is a little creativity and a willingness to compromise a little. In fact, recent studies have shown that with search engines and services like Twitter, Facebook, and Bit.ly, the domain name is becoming more and more irrelevant as users find alternate ways to navigate to your site. Having your heart set on a single domain name will often lead to disappointment. It’s hard not to! When you pick a short, powerful domain name, it can grab potential readers instantly and you’ll have a great chance of your content getting noticed. Whether you’re a business, an artist or someone who just wants to get their ideas out into the world, finding a great domain name is not only important, but essential. Just remember, even if you can’t get exactly the domain you want, there are many still available, you just have to be creative!

What to Use for Inspiration

If you own a business, you might think that simply using your business name is the best choice, and if your business name is fairly unique, you might just be right. However, if your business name is not very descriptive of what you actually do, you may reach a wider audience if you choose something a little more generic. For example, if you sell flowers, but your business name is “Parker’s Posies” you might want to make sure you have the word “flowers” somewhere in your domain name, even if the word isn’t in your business name. This will help to direct people who are doing a generic search to your site, without having to know your business name. Moreover, Google and other search engines tend to give you a bit of a bonus when terms you want to rank well for (like flowers) also appears directly in your domain name.

Keep it Memorable

When at all possible, you want to keep the domain name short and snappy. It’s true that people can bookmark your site after they find it, but a short name can help them to remember it without the aid of a bookmark. Unfortunately, many of the short domain names are already taken, so you’ll have to try many combinations to find one that works. You can also incorporate hyphens and numbers into your domain name if necessary. Try to provide as much information as possible in as few letters as possible. You want your readers to instantly recall your domain name so that it’s foremost in their mind when they try to find your website again. If you visit websites like Namecheap, they can help you by providing recommendations for high quality names when searching.

Beware of the Spelling Bug

Make your domain as easy to spell as possible. If you have a name that sounds like one word but is spelt incorrectly (on purpose) such as xtreme, it’s not always obvious to people you’re using a typo. Also, try not to include two of the same letter side by side as this can be difficult to read. English is a varied and interesting language, but you don’t want to confuse people from other countries. You’re part of an international marketplace and to exclude any demographic can be a disaster. Why limit yourself? Keeping your domain name short, sweet, and easy to spell is a great way to attract new people.

The Extensions .com, .org, and .net are not the only Options

When you go to pick your name, sometimes the more popular extensions (known as TLDs) are taken. Say you want to buy toybox.com, but the .com, .net, and .org versions are all taken. Why not try some of the more obscure TLDs like .me, .biz, .info, .mobi, .us, .co, .tv, etc. There are a whole host of extensions you could use with your domain. Some, like the .us and .tv domains are becoming more and more popular these days so it’s not too big of a deal to go with a less popular TLD. For a list of all the extensions you can choose from, visit a domain name hosting provider like Namecheap.

A Name is just the First Step!

Picking a domain name that is simple, catchy and easily remembered will take time, but it’s just the first step of many to getting your website going. It’s best to write a list of several names before you attempt to buy a domain, so you always have a fall back in case your primary name is not available. However, with a little extra time and effort the right name can prove invaluable to your business. Once you’ve chosen a name, you need to visit a top quality domain name registrar, like Namecheap, in order to complete your purchase. You’ll then need to get a web hosting provider for hosting your website and linking your domain name. Visit our beginner’s guide to setting up a website for more details on what comes next.

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