Top 10 Tips
for Choosing a Good Domain Name
1. Good domain names are easily
memorable and easily typed. Generally this means keeping them short.
2. Hyphens should be avoided if possible.
When I chose BetterWritingSkills as a domain name, I deliberately didn't include
hyphens. I agree that it would have made it easier to read (Better-Writing-Skills.com),
but the problem is that it is more difficult to *say*. If someone asked me for
my web address and I said "better hyphen writing hyphen skills dot
com" I certainly wouldn't expect them to remember it.
The bottom line with hyphens is simply that most domains don't include them, so
when you tell someone your domain, they'll probably try typing it without any
3. Use a plural form if this seems more
natural. If you're selling toy trains, I'd go with "toytrains.com"
instead of "toytrain.com".
4. Domain name search programs can help
you to choose variations on a name. One such program is available the bottom of
my home page.
Programs like this are a great help when you're trying to think of a new domain
5. If you're marketing your products and
services primarily to users in a single country (other than the US) then
seriously consider using that country's top-level domain.
For example, if you're retailing products primarily to New Zealanders then
choose to end your domain with ".nz". In Australia, use
".au" etc. This will help to identify your site as a local one.
On the other hand, if you're marketing your products or services globally (or if
you're in the US), use ".com" as your top-level domain.
6. Don't use words that are tough to
spell. Similarly, don't use words that are spelled differently in some
countries. For example, "ColorChart.com" may confuse those of us in
the Antipodes who would probably expect "ColourChart.com".
Alternatively you should reserve both variations of the word.
7. Ensure that there will be
no trademark or other legal problems with the domain name you choose.
8. Brand names (e.g. BarnesAndNoble.com)
may be preferable to generic names such as "books.com". For many
years, it was assumed that generic names were hugely valuable. (Indeed during
the late 90s, some generic domain names were selling for millions of dollars.)
These days, many analysts argue that a domain name that features your brand name
is more important. For example, if you've invested time and effort building up
your brand name (Toyota, for example) you'd be better of using Toyota as your
domain name, rather than something generic like "GreatCars".
9. Avoid domain names that are too similar
to existing ones. Not only do you want avoid legal issues (tip 7), but you want
your brand to be distinct from that of your competitors.
10. Remember, you don't *own* your domain
name. You're merely renting it for a specified period. Don't let your domain
name expire, or your competitors may snatch it out from under you.