One of the most important steps in starting a new website is choosing the right domain name for it. Whether you want to register a brand new domain or are considering buying a domain from someone else, you need to make your choice very carefully and carefully. Changing the name of your website in the future can come with high costs and risks, especially if it is a commercial brand, so it is essential that you start with a domain name that you are sure to use. 100%.
You can find various domain name generator tools online, but the truth is that you will rarely discover a great name available using automated generators. The most creative name generator is your own mind, and by sticking to a few general guidelines, you should be able to come up with a winning name.
Let’s discuss some of the main points to consider when finding the perfect name for your next website project. Here are six general tips to keep in mind.
1. A brand name is more advantageous
It seems that everyone has their own opinion when it comes to choosing between a generic domain name and a brand name. A decade or more ago, there was a strong case for using generic, keyword-rich domain names. Not only were there many valid generic names available for registration at the time, but a generic name was very useful in improving organic search engine rankings for relevant search phrases.
Well, neither of those two points is valid these days. Most of the generic names that have market value have already been taken, and it no longer matters from an SEO perspective whether the domain contains keywords or not. So, for example, a keyword-rich name like “reliablewebhosting” won’t rank higher than a branded name like “DreamHost” just because it contains the right keywords. It is no longer a relevant factor in Google’s ranking algorithm.
When you opt for a brand name, you will have many more choices of short and memorable domains that are still available. Gone are the days of long, keyword-rich domains, and these often look rather amateurish and unprofessional. Most online businesses these days invest in building their own brand, and a unique and customizable domain name can help your site stand out from the crowd.
2. Ignore numbers and dashes
Using numbers and dashes in domain names is another outdated practice that is not recommended for professional sites. Hyphens were commonly added to generic names made up of a few valuable keywords, but as we said above, these names are no longer very popular or desirable.
Dashes and numbers can make your website domain more confusing and harder to remember, which doesn’t really help in creating a successful site. Having a clean domain name that only contains alphabetic characters is the way to go.
3. Shorter is better
This one should be a no-brainer, because who likes remembering and typing out a long name anyway? ! Don’t be tempted to use a longer name just because it contains one or more of the keywords you’re targeting – that probably wouldn’t be a worthwhile compromise.
There is no magic number when it comes to the ideal domain name length, as it can vary from site to site. As a general rule, however, it is advisable to keep it under 12 characters with no more than two words in the name.
4. Extension counts
The domain extension, or more formally the top-level domain (TLD), is the part that comes after the dot, like “com” in amazon.com. There are thousands of extensions to consider, and each may be suitable for certain types of websites.
Generic TLDs, such as .com and .net, are the most widely used in the world and arguably the best choice for commercial websites. The .com TLD is by far the most desirable of all extensions, but that doesn’t mean it should be your only choice. Many new generic TLDs have been released in recent years and some of them are proving to be attractive alternatives to traditional extensions. Here are some examples: .store, .blog, .site, .online, and many more that you can find on any registrar’s website.
That said, the .com extension still has the highest value and recognition, especially for small business sites and those that are primarily commercial in nature. You probably want to explore all possible .com domain names before considering other extensions.
5. Check domain history
One of the biggest mistakes many domain buyers make is not checking the history of the domain first. Chances are, the domain you intend to buy has been used by someone else before and has a history on the internet. Look it up on archive.org and search engines to find out if it has been used in the past and what it was used for. Also check their backlink profile using a few different backlink checker tools.
If the domain has been used for spamming, contained questionable content in the past, and/or has many spammy backlinks pointing to it, you better pass it on. Domains with a history of spam or inappropriate content may have been penalized by search engines and make it much more difficult for your new site to rank in search results. It’s better to start with a domain that has a clean record than having to clean up the mess someone else has made in the past.
6. Make sure it doesn’t infringe on the rights of others
This is another potential mistake that can arise from a hasty decision to buy a new domain or a used domain. Trademark infringement is a very serious issue that can lead to your domain name being suspended and possibly removed. Always search online trademark databases to see if another company or individual is using the exact same name or a similar name that may confuse consumers.
How to buy a domain name safely?
If you plan to register an available domain name, you should choose a reputable registrar with a good reputation for ensuring the security of their customers’ domains. It is also strongly recommended that you opt for a registrar that offers free Whois privacy protection, which will hide your personal details from the public Whois database.
Companies offer different features that come with every domain registration, and in terms of security, Whois privacy service and two-factor authentication are some of the most essential features to look for. A helpful article published on the Daily Sundial website discusses some of the best registrars where you can buy a domain name with Whois privacy for a low price.
And in case you are buying a domain from someone else, it is strongly advised to use a third-party escrow service to keep your money and the domain you are trying to acquire safe.
Getting the right domain name for your website requires careful thought and research. In this article, we’ve highlighted some of the main characteristics of a good domain name, and we’ve also discussed some of the mistakes and things to avoid when looking for a website domain. Keep these tips in mind and do your due diligence before making your final decision.
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