So, you’re in the business of creating a website. You have the content, and the layout, and the sweet, sweet logo at the top- but wait… You still need a domain name! It’s a daunting task, for sure, but this anonymous writer has a few tips and tricks for creating the perfect name for your website.
Make ‘Em Short and Sweet
The best way to create anything is to mimic the greats. Think about the most popular websites you know.
facebook.com, reddit.com, google.com, microsoft.com, etc.…
What do all of these websites have in common? They’re all extremely short. One word. Two or three words can work too. (e.g., huffingtonpost.com) The benefits of having a short domain name are numerous: they’re easy to recall, easy to say, and easy to type in the address bar. You wouldn’t want to register something like superawesomedomainnamemaker.com, because it’s too easy to mix up. If you accidentally type awesomedomainnamemaker.com or superawesomedomainmaker.com, it’ll be a hassle to find the right site. Plus, it’s a pain to remember all of that fluff.
Another thing that the most popular websites have (or don’t have)? That’s right: none of them have punctuation. The reason for this is because punctuation is often difficult to remember, and difficult to explain to another person.
Guy 1: “Hey, I found this great new website called cool school dot com! You should check it out!”
Guy 2: “I do not see it come up, are you sure you have the right name?”
Guy 1: “Oh, there’s a dash between cool and school, I forgot. You don’t press shift to type the dash.”
You DO NOT want this to happen to you. Guy 2’s first interaction with your website is one of disappointment and confusion, and you don’t want that. He could have easily given up on finding the website at all, or just assumed that it didn’t work. Avoid punctuation like the plague.
Be A Special Snowflake
Your domain name should NOT be generic- generic names tend to be forgotten or lost among the names of other competitors. For example, goodpies.com, greatpies.com, and bestpies.com would be easy to confuse, especially when you’re hungry for some pie. Try to google search for a potential name to scope out the competition before you register your domain.
You can mash words together, tear words apart, or even make up your own words, as long as it is easy to pronounce, remember, and type. Your domain name should also communicate whatever it is your website has to offer.
Also, make sure that your website name is not already taken or trademarked. You can do this by simply googling your potential domain name, or using this website to search for trademarks:
Your Extensions, Please!
Extensions, in Internet terms, are the little things attached to the back of a domain name (.com, .net, and .org being a few examples). There are tons and tons of extensions out there, but you only need to be worried about one: .com.
Even though there are thousands and thousands of .com websites, and even though I told you to be unique, use .com. The reason for this is what I’ve been saying all along: you want people to get to your site easily. And people are used to typing .com on every website that they go to. So just remember: COM IS THE BOMB.
Exact Match Domains
Exact Match Domains are domain names that try to “trick” search engines into listing them at the top by putting keywords into their domains. For example, a website trying to market mp3 files would make their domain name “freemp3downloads.com” or “downloadmp3now.com.” You might think that this is a good shortcut for generating traffic to your website, but it isn’t. For two reasons:
1. It makes your website look scammy. People aren’t stupid. Those mp3 websites look pretty shady, and for a good reason.
2. Search Engines don’t like it. The whole point of the EMD is to get to the top of the search results, right? Well, the search engines don’t like people scamming their system. In 2012, Google announced a change to their algorithm that would penalize EMDs, and take them out of the top search results.
So instead of spamming the system, focus on your brand. Create a unique and easy-to-remember domain name. No punctuation, and remember- .com is the bomb! Follow all of these tips, and you’ll be able to create the perfect domain name for your budding website.