Registering a domain name on the internet these days is becoming an extremely difficult process as there are millions of top level domains (that's.com,.net,.org, etc...) that are already filling up. This makes it extremely hard to find a good domain name that's short, easy to remember, and relates to your website, business, or product.
There is a method of elimination that you can use to reduce the amount of time you spend thinking up new domain names. This involves completely eliminating the excess word standard many have come to rely on lately. I've seen domain names like www.bobsawesometemplates.com or www.thenonstopviralmarketingformula.com. Now, domain names like these might be widely available and can easily be registered for dirt cheap prices, but what are the chances anyone will ever remember them or visit them frequently?
* Don't Use More Than Three Words in Your Domain Name
You need a domain name that's right for you, but also makes that short and sweet statement that the majority tends to memorize and spread like wildfire. Names like YouTube, MySpace, howstuffworks, istock, yahoo, and Google all have one thing in common. They don't exceed the three word limit!
Many domain registration sites like godaddy and register offer alternative name suggestions when you search for your desired domain name. These are scripts that use English dictionaries to process synonyms or antonyms of words you used in your domain name search. If the domain name you searched for isn't available it would suggest other similar domain names that are available for registration. These can be great tools to help you brainstorm for a domain name.
However, nothing beats the human intellect in finding creative and suitable domain names. What you should do is begin by jotting down all the words that relate to your website, business, or product. Then start highlighting the most relevant words. For example, if you run a website about dating highlight the words dating, men, or women. Whatever your website is more focused on. Get into specifics. Instead of words you'll begin to form key phrases. Gather all of these phrases on separate flash cards. Write the most direct ones in red ink or using a magic marker. Then write the more indirect ones in green.
An indirect keyword or phrase would be one that does not tell anything about what your website or business offers, but rather what it is. For example, if your website is a dating portal or a personals site than those are your indirect phrases. Your direct phrases could be "free online profiles" or "find women in Boston". This is because people more closely relate to what you offer as opposed to who you are. What grabs people to niche sites is the specific and direct manner by which they present themselves.
Now you should sort through all your red and green phrases and pick the best ones. Remember you should not go above three word limit and try to keep each word short. Use synonym dictionaries or search related words through a word processing program or website and pick the shortest ones. There are lots of free online dictionaries that can help you do this and Merriam Webster's online dictionary service has some great tools to give you extensive charts of related or rhyming words.
* Don't Hyphenate Your Domain Name
Also avoid using hyphens between words. People with domain names like real-life-advice.com are often forgotten, because the brain tends to ignore symbols and focus more on letters when associating your memories with names. There has been numerous times when I could remember the name of a website, but when I entered the URL into my browser I landed at a different site. I was puzzled. Then later I realized the name was correct, but I forgot a hyphen or two somewhere between the words. This can be confusing, but if you must use a hyphen try to limit the domain name to only two words and use only one hyphen between each word.
I understand sometimes a domain name can be too appealing to resist and the actual words are already registered so people tend to use hyphens to still keep the same name. This is not the biggest "don't" of domain name registration, but it generally does degrade the effectiveness of your domain name.
* Don't Use Numbers in Your Domain Name
People are also using a lot more numbers in their domain names lately. Believe it or not I've actually seen websites where the entire domain name is a number. In some parts of Mexico businesses register their domain names as their phone numbers under a cTLD. I don't know about you, but I have trouble memorizing my own phone number and with so many numbers already jogging in my mind there's no need to associate websites with digits.
Today people have more than one phone number. When I'm swapping business cards with others I almost always see a mobile or cell phone number plus their office number, fax number, and some times even a home phone number on the card. If I wanted to remember more numbers on the Internet all I have to do is resolve the IP addresses of all the domain names I already know and memorize that, which defies the purpose of the DNS in the first place. If you plan on registering your domain name as a number you might as-well not register one and use a static IP address from your web provider instead.
So now let's talk about the Do's of picking a domain name.
* Pick Domain Names That Are Similar to Other Popular Domain Names
While some of you might think this is a bad thing it actually might work out to your benefit. How many websites do you know of today that use the words MySpace at the beginning or end of their domain name? Even if your websites aren't necessarily related the "hit and miss browsers" will give you the advantage of free traffic.
Hit and miss browsers are people who either accidentally or intentionally type in the domain name of popular websites using alternatives and misspellings. Sometimes people just want to see if the name has been registered or if a similar website exists. Other times they may mistakenly omit or add an additional letter or two. That's why many webmasters are subscribing for their own ENOM accounts and benefiting from lowered wholesale prices on domain names. More times than not a webmaster - and especially a business - will register other alternatives to their domain names in bulk, including the same domain name under other TLDs such as.biz,.info,.name,.ws, etc...
* Use the Common Web Words
One way to make your domain name more effective is by mixing and matching the "common web words" found in thousands of popular domains. Words like online, web, internet, and 'e' are constantly mixed and matched with the names of their websites to create more alternatives. For example say you want to use the name TomsBlog.com, but that domain name is already taken, you could use the mixing of common web words that people usually associate with websites to come up with alternatives. For example, consider TomsBlogOnline.com, TomsInternetBlog.com, eBlogTom.com, or TomsWebBlog.com.
The important thing is to avoid redundancy and capitalize on short and to-the-point words and phrases that are popular, when choosing a good domain name.
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