How Important is my Domain Name?
Very! Your domain name is more than just a URL, it’s your business’s online identity. It’s your opportunity to make a solid first impression and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Your domain name should be something catchy, something that rolls off the tongue easily, perhaps even something fun and a bit quirky, but most importantly, it needs to be memorable. Google, Amazon, and eBay are some of the largest websites in the world. What do they all have in common? You guessed it! Catchy, easy-to-remember domain names.
Avoid Generic Names
When trying to come up with your domain name, avoid generic names. Generic is forgettable and can cause your website to be lost in the search engine fray. Speaking of search engines, your domain name plays an important roll in SEO. Generic names might be something like www.customteeshirts.com. A little too on-the-nose for my taste. A more unique option is www.teespring.com, which happens to be a very successful online custom tee shirt company.
When to break this rule. In certain circumstances, a generic domain name can be unavoidable and may even make the most sense. Perhaps you’ve taken over a family business and you want to grow by adding a website. Chances are your business has been well established with an existing strong customer base. For example, let’s say you own a business called Sam’s Wrecker Service. Sam’s Wercker Service has been serving your local area for 30 years. In this case, www.samswerckerservice.com makes the most sense. Provided it’s available. Which brings us to my next point.
You have mulled over your domain name for days or even weeks. You’ve played with different variations. You’ve tried a few out on friends and family and you’ve finally made your decision only to discover that it is unavailable.
This can be one of the most frustrating things about choosing a domain name. Trust me, I know this feeling all too well! It never ceases to amaze me what domain names are already taken. This is yet another reason why you should avoid generic names. Unfortunately, this is just the nature of the beast and there isn’t much you can do but keep trying until you find something available with which you’re happy. One workaround that seems to be popular is trying different TDLs like .net or .org, which, in my opinion, is a terrible idea. Let me explain.
What TDL Should I Use?
First of all, what are TDLs? TDL stands for Top Level Domain and is the suffix tied to the end of a domain name. While .com is by far the most popular TDL, making up around 50% of all TDLs, some other options include .net, .org, .biz, and .gov. There is a multitude of TDLs from .pizza to .photo and while some of them may sound cool and unique using them can prove to be detrimental to your online business. For this article, we’ll stick to the three most common ones .com, .net and .org. Although there are no set rules for when to use which TDL it is important to know the background of each and how they are most commonly applied.
.com, .net, .org What’s the Difference?
We’ll start with .net. Originally, .net was intended for companies involved in networking technology but is now the second most common TDL, which is due to domain name availability. The .org TDL is short for organization and is almost exclusively used by non-profits. Lastly, we have .com, which is derived from the word commercial. As with most things, TDL’s fall into a hierarchy with .com at the top. Although there are no regulations restricting the use of TDLs, I strongly recommend sticking to their intended use, especially where .org is concerned. I’m not going pretend to know all of the ins and outs of search engine algorithms, but it has been my experience that .com is by far the preferred TDL for SEO.
Discovering your Domain Name
There are numerous ways to tap into your creative mind to find the perfect domain name for your website. I find inspiration literally everywhere but the method that I use most is bubble diagrams. The way I use this method is I write down a word that broadly encompasses the general subject then branch of it with related words and/or phrases and so on. If all else fails, try using a domain name generator. These can be found with a simple google search.
How Much Does a Domain Name Cost?
The cost of a domain name will vary from registrar to registrar but will typically cost less than $15.00 US dollars per year. At Sitecribs, we offer free domain names for the first year when you sign up for any hosting plan and free domains indefinitely with certain hosting and maintenance plans. See our hosting plans to find out more. Whether you choose Sitecribs for your domain name or another company, I highly suggest you research the company before making your decision as some registrars do not allow domain transfers.
10 Quick Tips
- Avoid generic domain names
- Short and Simple is best
- Be unique
- Be memorable
- Use a domain generator if you get stumped
- Don’t use hyphens or numbers
- Use the appropriate TDL
- Try using a bubble diagram
- Brainstorm with friends and family
- Research Domain Registrars
A Final Word
Choosing the right domain name is paramount to the success of your website so don’t take it lightly. You will find that nearly everything you can think of is already taken. Don’t let this discourage you! The perfect name is out there you just have to keep at it. Please feel free to comment below with any questions or advice you may have for others or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is your domain name available? Check below.