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How to Choose a Domain Name

How to Choose a Domain Name

Choosing a good domain name has perplexed webmasters since the beginning of time. However, it’s really not that difficult. If you approach it in a creative manner, anything is possible.

Generally, ideal names are around 7 or fewer letters. Good domains typically center around the “.com” extension as well. The problem comes when it happens that these names are all taken. These ideal, short names that flow off the tongue are usually bought and established upon. If you’re making a website on pizza, pizza.com is obviously taken.

If you’re making a site about horses, horse.com is probably already taken. Now, you’re forced into two paths. Either you buy the already taken domain name for an expensive price, or you think up of something else. If you’re like me and can’t afford to buy million-dollar domain names, it’s time to create one yourself.

Consider the following ideas to conjure a domain name on your own.

Use imagery in your domain name

Try to think about what your website is trying to offer. If your website offers something fast (Like fast service or quotes) associate it with a lightning bolt, like: servicebolt.com. Just associate your website with an image, and it will work fine. Domain names like facebook.com, youtube.com, etc. all bring out some form of imagery to make it memorable. Just think about what your website is, and associate it with an object.

Use synonyms

If the ideal domain name you thought of is taken, use some synonyms of the word. Maybe you want to make a website that sells candy. However, candyshop.com is taken. Thus, you’d replace candy with sweet and shop with store, yielding sweetstore.com. Replacing your existing idea with short synonyms is another smart way to create your domain name.

Random Names

Successful domain names don’t have to be real words. People often get wrapped up with thinking of a domain with real words. However, many sites that attract a lot of traffic are relatively random names. A perfect example is hulu.com. Though it isn’t a real English word, it’s catchy and attracts many visitors. Thus, if you really can’t think of a domain name with real words, make up something that isn’t real. Ideally, this name should be fairly short and easy to spell, so your visitors can come back often.

Appeal to the Senses

The human has five senses: sight, smell, taste, touch, and sound. Therefore, it’s often beneficial to use something which appeals to the senses for your name. For example, if your website was about baking bread, you might want to have a domain name like: ovenscent.com. Think about the human senses and appeal to them. If done well, it will be memorable and you’ll gain traffic.

Domain names coming off the top of your head will often be taken and be very expensive to acquire. However, with enough patience and thinking, you can conjure up a million-dollar domain name out of nothing.

Finding the Right Domain Name

One of the first steps people take after deciding to have a website is to find a domain name (website address). Usually, buying the domain feels as if one has made the initial investment and now has some sort of commitment that will work as motivation to continue on with the project. So it becomes very important that this first step is taken quickly, yet responsibly. In this article, I will share with you a few things I learned along the way about how to pick a good domain name and what to consider about domain names.

Picking a Domain Name

One of the freebies that comes with picking a domain name is that it really gets the thinking process going about the direction of the site and the tone that will be set. It’s very important to pick a domain name that is easy to remember, snappy, bold fun, unusual (yet relevant) and, most importantly, brief. A great domain name that is too long is going to have a hard time picking up speed due to the fact that the brain will naturally stumble when it tries to recall it.

Once you have picked out a domain name, the natural next step is to see if that domain is already taken. Chances are that it is. What do you do now? Don’t get discouraged, you have many different paths you can take if the name is already taken. The first path is to find a different extension. Usually, you can always find the same domain available under a different extension (Example: mysite.net, mysite.com, mysite.info, mysite.tv, mysite.org, etc…).

There is many possibilities to choose from. Of course, when you choose an uncommon extension, you take many risks. People will not remember your site if it has an uncommon extension. They will try the first two that will come to mind (.com and .net) and will most likely give up after that. So, if you are planning to host anything but a personal site, you most likely want people to remember your domain name. So you are better served sticking to the common domain extensions. If your site will be a personal site, then you are better served going with a non popular extension. They tend to be cheaper and easier to come by anyway.

If you realize that non of the available extensions meet your needs, the next step would be to find another name. Hopefully, finding the original name brought forth some great brainstorming and really crystallized the idea of your website. Finding a new name will be much easier. All you have to do is find a relative name that still serves the same purpose.

If your domain name describes your site, then you may consider picking up a thesaurus and seeing what other cool words you can find. If your domain name is your own invention of some magical idea that came to you, then you may need to think about it a bit more.

Finally, once you find a domain name and you are ready to make that leap, make sure you take a deep breath and hold back just a little bit. It is highly recommended that you take a few moments to call around or talk to people you know about the domain name.

See if people find it catchy. What do they think about it? Don’t worry, no one will run to the nearest computer to try to beat you to it. Just don’t ask a forum or something where everyone in the world has access to it. Sometimes, when the idea sounds great to you, it may not sound that great to others.

Also, the desperation to find something that works and something that is available may make some unappealing names start to sound very appealing. So it’s highly recommended to talk to a few people before you decide to go with a particular domain name.

If you are afraid that someone will grab your domain before you get a chance to get it, feel free to buy the domain for the minimum amount of time possible (usually, 1 year). Remember that you can change your domain name at any time you like.

Domain names are just names that point to an IP address where the server is or will be. You can buy a new one anytime you want even if you already have a website and you just want to change the name, and you can even have multiple names point to the same IP. The only thing to know is that once you buy it, you own it for the entirety of the term that you paid for.

You are not allowed to return it or change it once you have registered it. So be sure not to buy it unless you are positive that you want it and don’t buy it for more than the minimum term unless you know for a fact that you won’t need to change it later.

One last note, don’t let your domain name expire or don’t forget it once it has expire. There is a grace period that comes after expiration to give the owner sometime to reacquire the website in cases where the owner forgot about the notice but will definitely notice once users call up and complain about not being able to find the site. In this grace period, only the owner can reclaim the site. If your site doesn’t have many visitors though, you may not notice and someone may easily pick it up.

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About the Author: jeepy