” A domain name is an identification string that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority or control within the Internet. Domain names are formed by the rules and procedures of the Domain Name System (DNS). Any name registered in the DNS is a domain name.” – Wikipedia
In other word, a domain name is your identification and business name on the Internet and getting your domain right is the first step to building a long-standing online presence.
In this article I am going to show you:
- why you should choose a domain name that is brand-able
- Choosing between long and short domain name
- What characters to avoid and how best to use them
- Avoiding trademark issues with another brand
- Going for EMD or PMD
- Choosing the right TLD
Table of Contents
Why you should choose a domain name that is brand-able
While having keywords in your domain has advantages, mostly as regards to ranking higher in search engines, branding for me is better. Besides, having a good coined keyword based domain name is becoming hard to get now. You should know that your domain name is your identity on the Internet and to make it resonate with your audience, it has to sound like a brand when you hear yourself or someone say it, it has to look catchy when it is typed, it has to be memorable, unique and stands out.
Your domain name also has to be the same as your brand name and if possible reflect what you do. Take google, yahoo and amazon for example, these are three of the biggest names on the Internet and they are all BRAND names. If we were to base this names on keyword, you’d probably be getting domains like searchforanything.com or thebiggestonlinestore.com, but branding gave them that catchy and memorable feel and they stand out.
If you can get a domain name with a brand/keyword mix, by all means, go for it. Facebook, builtwith and techbookmark are good examples, but as stated earlier, they are very difficult to get these days, even when you do get it, it is very expensive as someone must have registered and is sitting on it waiting for you to come and bid for it.
Choosing between Long and Short Domain name
The debate is still on about which should one go for, short or long. Short by far is better, but it should be memorable and unique. You don’t want to have jointed abbreviation of a long name. For example, if I have a business with the name, The Best Domain Name Registrar, because thebestdomainnameregistrar.com is long, abbreviating it to tbdnr.com will make it difficult to memorize. Abbreviation should be limited to memorable three, four or five words, cnn.com, bbc.com msnbc.com, avvo.com, moz.com and the list goes on. In most cases an abbreviated domain name works better with an established brand. And mind you by my definition a short domain name is one with six or less characters.
Long domain names are not that bad as a nicely formed not more than three word keyword can also make a good domain. instantdomainsearch.com, thesitewizard.com, bloggertipstricks.com, kickstartcommerce.com are all three words exact domain name matches. The idea is please, if you should go the long domain name road, make it easily pronounceable and should be 20 character maximum.
What characters to avoid and how best to use them
Try as much as you possible can to avoid hyphens and numbers. They create confusion and are not easily memorable. If this site was tech-bookmark.com for example, when saying it to someone, you may easily give it out as techhyphenbookmark.com, and hyphen denies it the brand feel. Same with numbers, they also create that confusion and a no no for me.
Notwithstanding, you can decide to use hyphens and numbers if you can promote your domain well.
Avoiding trademark issues while choosing a domain name with another brand
This is one you should take seriously, don’t go anywhere close or infringe on any brand’s trademark. Seriously, don’t get any name that might be mistaken for an established brand. Do a deep research on your chosen choice if available, and make sure no existing brand has the lookalike or sound similar name. You don’t want to register a kamazon.com, joogle.com or xahoo.com, that is even if these names are available, Amazon, Google and Yahoo might be sitting on them. Yeah they are indeed sitting on them.
You don’t want these big guys breathing down your neck claiming trademark ownership of your domain. You might be wondering, the domain is available and it is spelt differently. But the fact that it sound like the brand and might be easily mistaken with it, a Judge might be convinced it infringes on a trademark.
EMD or PMD
I would have discussed this under branding, but it needs more explanation. EMD is short for Exact Match Domain while PMD is Partial Match Domain. Exact Match Domain is when a domain name matches the exact topic of the brand. For example, you have a business that deals with sells of discounted products like washing machines. An exact match domain for this will be www.cheapwashingmachines.com. While a Partial match will be www.gustowmachines.com.
There is no denying the fact that Exact Match Domains will get you top in the search engines results. I will always advice you go with branding. The most important thing you most know is your content, visitors will not return to your site if your content sucks, always know that.
Choosing the right TLD
All the domain names used in this article already have that bias towards .com top level domain. Because all non tech savvies seems to be more comfortable with the .com extension. Hence, you should by all means try to get a .com domain name. If your desired .com name is already taken, you can try other top Level domain like .org, .net, and a whole lot of TLDs already approved by ICANN.
With all the information above, I hope you are well informed on choosing your desired domain name. Below are some list of go-to-places where you can get started with your search.
Will love to hear from you in the comment section below.