Picking a great domain name is easier said than done. If you’ve ever tried to pick the perfect domain for a blog or digital project, then you know exactly what I mean.
There’s nothing more frustrating that to be raring to get started on a project only to be held up by the need to pick the perfect domain. And there’s really no way around it! A great domain name isn’t optional if you want your digital project to succeed.
Picking a great domain is part art and part science. The art part is up to you. You’ll have to exercise some creativity and come up with ideas for your domain. However, the science part I can help with. Here are my top five recommendations when it comes to picking a winning domain.
Let’s look at each of these rules in turn.
1. Avoid hyphens and numbers.
Consider this domain: http://www.mega-learn-2-save-club.top.
What’s your knee-jerk reaction to that domain? Let me guess: spam, scams, and malware.
If you’re anything like me, that domain is incredibly off-putting. It doesn’t engender confidence and any site residing at that URL would have some heavy lifting to do to earn my trust. It’s the digital equivalent of opening a new business in the wrong part of town.
Don’t pick a domain like that, or one like awesome-domain.com or learn2dosomething.com. Just don’t do it.
You may say that a hyphenated domain is easier to understand and that replacing a word with a number is memorable. I say that doing so reeks of being the work of an amateur and immediately makes savvy visitors question your site’s legitimacy.
If you want to be taken seriously, avoid hyphens and numbers in your domain.
2. Avoid weird top-level domains.
Top-level domains (TLDs) are the last few letters that appear after the dot in your site’s domain. For example: .com, .net, and .org. If possible, pick a domain that ends in one of those three TLDs. While weird, or unique, TLDs are growing more popular they still don’t have the recognition of the three major TLDs.
If you do opt for an unusual TLD go for one of the more mainstream options such as .io, .us, .co, or a regional variation like .co.uk.
However, be aware that opting for an unusual TLD can have unintended consequences. Let me explain.
When I signed up for the domain LearnToBlog.xyz I shared it on Facebook. However, Facebook has set up some filters to automatically flag all .xyz domains as potential spam. As a result, I had to spend several days working with Facebook customer support to get my new domain unflagged.
If you use an unusual TLD, and .xyz in particular, you can expect to face similar challenges when integrating your site with social media and other third-party services.
3. Shorter is better.
Great domains are memorable, and memorable domains are short. If you want people to remember your domain, make it short.
4. Focus on clarity.
When creating a domain, make sure you consider any misinterpretations that may occur. Take this URL for instance: http://meshoptinspot.com.
Now, is that Me Shop Tin Spot, Mesh Opt-In Spot, or something else?
It doesn’t matter. Both suck because they lack clarity.
5. Don’t compromise.
A little over a year ago I purchased the domain http://rvingdoneright.com. I didn’t love the domain, but I couldn’t come up with anything better at the time. I made the mistake of compromising, bought a domain I didn’t love (and grew to hate), and regretted the decision almost immediately.
If you can’t think up a great domain, get some input.
Bounce ideas off of your family and friends. Throw a few ideas out on Facebook or Twitter and see which ones get the best reaction. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends and social media followers for suggestions of domains you may not have thought of.
Don’t buy a domain unless you feel really good about it.
Buying the Right Domain Should Hold You Up
It can be tempting to do what I did and settle. However, I’m telling you that it’s a mistake. Take the time to get it right. It may mean it takes you an extra day or two to launch your project, but it will be time well-spent when you still love your domain in six months.
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