If you’re about to go and create a website, you’ll need a domain name. The domain name is the address to your site and business, it should be easy to remember, preferably end in .com, and should relate somewhat to your business, brand, or the niche you will be covering.
You should avoid:
- Long domain names with over 15 characters (makes it harder for visitors to remember)
- Domain names that contain a registered brand, intellectual property or trademark of another company
For example, if you were making a tech site that surrounded around Apple devices, it’s not a wise idea to use “AppleProductAdvice.com” because Apple is a registered trademark and is considered intellectual property. If they wanted to, they could attempt to seize the domain and take all of your hard work with it, just like they did with these domains.
Note: You can sometimes get around this, but it’s best to steer clear of any potential pitfalls when using another brand in your domain name down the road and just go with something more general or non-specific.
- Domain names that have been blacklisted or de-indexed by Google, or have a history of adult/spam content (only necessary if you are buying a domain name with prior owners. If you are unsure if a domain has been used before, use this website or archive.org to check.) For blacklisted domains, enter the domain name on this website.
- Names that can be formed into different meanings (I don’t have a good example off the top of my head, but make sure that the combination of words that make up your domain don’t accidentally spell something else.)
- Domains containing words that are spelled incorrectly – this can be a big problem, and this website is a perfect example of what NOT to do! The name of the website is “Wiyre.com”, but when you say it to someone, it sounds like “Wire.com” or “Wired.com” – don’t make the same mistake I made! Choose a domain that has the correct spelling, or make sure to buy up the different pronunciations or variations when you purchase the original site’s domain name. (Too late for me, unless I want to call up Wired.com and ask what their price is… which won’t happen anytime soon.)
- Spending too much on a domain
If you are going to buy a premium domain from a broker or website that specializes in domain name sales, you should first shop around see if you can get a domain that is similar before you spend big money on your domain purchase. Sometimes it’s not worth it to have an exact match domain name with your perfect set of words. Look for different ordering of words (ex: DogToysOnline -> OnlineDogToys) before you spend big money when you don’t have to.
- Incorporating dashes between words (ex: website-stuff.com)
Just don’t do it. Trust me. It’s a bad idea and is hard to explain to people. It also looks unprofessional.
If you have followed all the above suggestions, and are happy with your domain, you should be in good shape! It’s always worth getting a second opinion, but make sure it’s from someone away from the internet, preferably a good friend, as domain squatters have been know to swoop up and buy domains that sound good if they see you are interested in them, potentially holding your domain “hostage” until you pay a higher amount, or making you wait until it becomes available again.