How Do I Choose The Right Domain Name?

December 1, 2008 by  Filed under: other 
 

Many people think the domain name is the easiest issue of a web design project. You should think about your domain name and consider the following points.

Think Directories…

You probably want to advertise your business online and offline. A typical offline directory is the phone book or the yellow pages. If your company is called “Web Design ABC” for example, you have a slight disadvantage because many directories list their entries by alphabet. Therefore, your entry won’t appear until the person looking for web design company has scrolled down to the letter “W“. Try to find a domain name / business name that starts with a letter that is at the start of the alphabet, this might give you an advantage with alphabetical directories – or simply add “A1-companyname” to the domain name – if the domain name is already taken for example.

Think Competitors…

If you are in the UK, make sure that the domain name you have chosen has not already been used in a very similar way. For example, if you intend to register www.edinburgh-chocolates.co.uk, you should check, if someone has not already registered www.edinburghchocolates.co.uk.

Think Readability…

If you want to register a domain name which consists of two or more words, you should register both versions – the words separated by a dash and the words all written together. This will avoid confusion and you make sure that no other business can register almost the same domain name. If your domain name is very long and consists of several words, it is advisable to use the dash version as the main domain name you use for email addresses and advertising. The reason for this is that the name where the words are separated with dashes is a lot easier to read. Look at the following examples:

  • www.search-engine-optimisation.co.uk
  • www.searchengineoptimisation.co.uk

If you have the first option printed on a car, people driving behind or past you will have a chance to read the name and hopefully remember it. The second option does not allow the brain to “stop” where a word normally ends. It is awkward and people will not remember the domain name as easily as the one with the dashes.

You should also consider registering not only the .co.uk domain name, but also the .com and/or .net domain name. There are many other options available, such as .org, .org.uk, but they are meant for organisations, not for businesses. Registration of foreign domain names can be tricky, since some countries (such as Germany) require the technical contact for the domain name to be resident in Germany.

Think Spelling…

Try to find a short domain name which is easy to spell and easy to remember. This saves your clients having to type a very long domain name and the likelyhood to mis-spell the domain name is decreased too. If you decide to register a domain name which uses spelling which is different to what a client would expect, try to register the correct spelling as well. Please have a look at the folowing two examples:

  • www.eazy-homes.co.uk
  • www.easy-homes.co.uk

Some people think that the words used in a domain name are important for search engines. Google or any other search engine have never really confirmed any such thing and if you are looking for a book store, such as Amazon, the domain name www.amazon.com does not contain the word “books” in the domain name at all.

Think Registars…

Try not to register your domain name with the same company that looks after your web hosting. If you are unhappy with your web hosting support, you can simply get hosting elsewhere and point your domain name to the new host. When you select a registrar, make sure you keep a note of the login details – username and password for your domain name. Please check if you are allowed to make changes to the Domain Name Server (DNS) Settings. A good registrar will give you a comprehensive control panel that allows you to set up web forwarding, email forwarding, domain name locking, and DNS changes. There are registrars out there who will charge for changes like this. Try to avoid them. In general, moving a domain name from one registrar to another should be straightforward, but it never is. So make sure from the start you chose one that allows you or your web designer to look after your domain name. A good registar is 123-reg for example. They give you access to a comprehensive control panel and their support is pretty good too.

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