By Des Menz posted in Website and Blog Essentials
Wouldn’t we all like to turn the clock back to make amends for those silly mistakes we made in the past? And still making.
You know the sort ...
- a good idea at the time that turns out to be useless
- an impulsive decision made in haste without thinking about the consequences
- an action that turns out to be like a wrecking ball on a demolition job
But that’s life. We all make mistakes. The trick is to limit the fallout, learn from the mistake, or forget it and move on.
Back around 2005, when I became more serious about the opportunities to earn an income online, I made a few mistakes. Some were significant, some were minor.
One of these mistakes was not choosing domain names wisely. I didn’t know any different.
I didn’t know about some essential “rules”.
Anyway, I’m still hanging on to a few of those old names, only because there’s value in an old name.
A few I’ve let go, because they weren’t worth the trouble and they didn’t meet all of the 5 key criteria that should be applied in selecting domain names. They were also costing the annual registration fee.
My impulsive decisions back then were more about trying to make a quick supplementary income than adopting a planned strategic approach.
Choosing the right domain name is one of those important decisions that has to be made for any online business, whether it’s for creating a single page site or a big content-driven site.
Here are 6 essential tips to use when choosing a domain.
6 Good Tips For Choosing Domain Names
Make it short
It might not be possible every time, but the shorter the domain name the better. Why? Because people will remember it easier and they will be able to access your site a lot quicker when they type in the name.
My mistake was registering a domain name without thinking too much about it when I first started an online business … Environment-and-House-Design
I thought I needed to encompass as much as I could in a name that reflected my offline business.
At 28 characters it is far too long. I let it go when I didn’t build the website.
By the way, that domain name was mostly about my offline business, and today I’ve split the business into two websites … myEngineerOnline and HouseandHabitat (nearly ready for publication)
So, keep to this "rule” … make your domain name 20 characters or less.
And remember, the more words that are in a domain name, the less it is worth.
Make it relevant
Ensure that the domain name is consistent with your site’s theme. This is obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people deviate from this rule and use off-topic words.
Numerals are sometimes used, and they are next to useless. They convey almost nothing about the site, unless of course it’s something like “runa4minutemile”, and in that case it is very relevant.
Avoid numerals, underscores, and hyphens
Non-alphabet characters just cause confusion. Remember, if there are a couple or several words in a domain name, they are joined together as a single expression. There are no gaps.
I made the mistake many years ago when I inserted a hyphen in Universal-Wealth, a hyphen in your-next-income, and also hyphenated the example in Rule 1. I thought it would be easier for people to read by separating the words, but I was naive and wrong.
Is there a penalty? In terms of lost traffic to your site, yes! But not all the time. I know of a few very successful internet marketers who have used a hyphen, one being Yaro Starak of Entrepreneurs-Journey fame.
By the way, here’s a free report from Yaro.
I cringe when I see numbers in domain names. You know the sort - that number 4 is so often used in place of “for”. “Something4life”. "Boat 4 Sale”.
Why do people do it? It makes no sense. For and 4! To and 2! One and 1!
See how many sites you can find with numerals in their domain names.
And what about “Acceler8"? Enough.
This can be really tricky, because your preferred name could already be taken. Let’s say you want to create a website about organic home gardening (it’s a pretty good niche by the way), but when you search at your domain registrar, or search in your browser, the domain name could be taken, and there are few options left.
Always check to see if .net, .info, .org, and any of the other extensions are available.
Three keywords - organic, home, gardening.
So, this is where you need to be inventive. Find another relevant word that matches either of the two main keywords, organic and gardening. Search in Google Keyword Planner for ideas.
Once I knew these basic rules, I applied them. Here’s an example - WritetoProsper
It says exactly what the info-product is about.
The “rule” is … try to use at least one of your keywords in your domain name.
Avoid prefixes and suffixes
How much these hurt a domain name is a bit conjectural, but generally putting an “e”, or an “i”, or even “my” can devalue it. I’ve used it in a site myEngineerOnline, but it’s a calculated risk, and the site is intended to speak directly to people seeking very specific answers about technical issues in their lives.
eBay (with the “e“ in front) is an exception, but if the “e" is removed, what does the name mean? Not much. So, in this context, it’s all about a business name that consumers get very familiar with.
It’s also said that putting “site” after the domain name also destroys its value, but that can be argued when the word “site” is used as a place, as in SustainableSites.org
Register for multiple years
If you know you’re going to hang on to that domain for some time, then register it for say 2 to 4 years. It will depend on your budget of course.
Most of us register domains for a single year, and just renew automatically.
But consider this … registering for multiple years has the benefit of higher ranking with the search engines. There’s also brand value that would be enhanced. Registering for two years or more is also cheaper.
So, there we have it. A guide with six tips for choosing a domain name.
OTHER ARTICLES YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN
Enter your email to get more about Writing For Prosperity. It's FREE!
Make a comment below. Tell us your story about domain names.