Domain Name Selection Basics
September 2015, there are 296 million registered domain names! That’s equivalent to one domain per every man, woman and child in the USA.
Hola, the first domain I bought was in 2000 for $45 bucks. That was during high school to flip and or maybe develop. I tried to flip the domain with a posted AD on the site and got zero bucks for the domain, BabesOfTemtationIsland.com. Hey I was 20 and thought I was part of the 2000 domain buy and flip market.
Twenty years later there is TMZ.com, Eoline.com and a bigger market for pseudo-reality stars. At that point, Temptation Island was a short-lived pioneer in Reality TV. At that time even fewer people used the web as we know it today. AOL was the internet then, for much of America. I was ahead of the market trends. WWW.com came to life soon after people realized there was more beyond AOL.
I have owned over 112 domains during the last 18 years. Damn, I am old. Best domain flip was $12 and sold for $7,200 in late 2007 (confidential NDA signed). My goal was to development the business, selling the domain was by chance, from an unsolicited offer I couldn’t refuse.
Back in 2000-09 you had more domain options available for purchase. Today there are fewer options for a .com that matches your business name and keywords. Hey Kurtis, why don’t I just get a .co, .biz, .info, .org or .nyc? The general public has been conditioned to assume your website is a .com domain. If not, you better have a lot of money to market your dot “something else”.
Dot.com domains rule. Dot.com domains rule. Dot.com domains rule. There may be 99+ dot options, but the rule still remains Dot.com domains rule. If you have a multimillion dollar budget for marketing, try .biz, .space, .xyz OR if you deal with a tech crowd, you can get away with marketing SuperRad.co.
As of 2015 there dozens of new domain name extention options. They will probably get more popular over the next few years! Today, try for .com, but maybe you will want a .tattoo, .sexy or .diet in the future. Who knows!
Let’s look at the journey of picking a domain name. It is still an experience today with clients and my own web properties. Think before your buy is the main advice.
Identify your business goals, business name, keywords and options in the .com realm.
If you are a tech startup with $895,000 in the first round of funding, you may have a bit of money for marketing a “SuperRad .co, .rich, .net” domain name. If you are a restaurant, photographer, DJ, mechanic, or local business, get a .com domain. Your clients know .com and your budget will be used wisely on product, staff, construction and web design. Not wasted on extra marketing for a less known domain extension.
Opps, I may be wrong, I am sure you have seen multiple .restaurant domains…. Yep, that’s some hot shit domain extension you just discovered. hahaha.
Why would you use a 10 letter domain extension, “YourPizzaJoint.Restaurant”?
Stick to the .com Also imagine the email address,” Jonny@YourPizzaJoint.Resturant”. Try fitting that on your business card, or hoping someone will remember it during a conversation.
– 1 Picking Your Domain Dame / URL
So you are starting a new business OR finally getting a website for an old business because you need more clients to pay your bills. You are not alone! It’s surprising how many businesses have no website or an outdated website that looks very 1999.
First option is to use your business name for your domain name/URL, like this site, “NextChannelMedia.com”. That is if your domain (SuperCompany.com) is available.
Keeping your URL, business cards and actual business name consistent, is the best way to build your brand.
Did you just say, “DAMN, my URL has been taken already”. Don’t worry.
Second Option. Modify your business name. Sometimes you can’t get your business name URL. For example, MoMoneyAuto.com is taken, because it was registered by a business 7 states away. That is OK.
If you are a local business like MoMoneyAuto.com, you can add something like your city to the domain. Try MoMoneyAutoSanDiego.com OR just the city initials to make it shorter MoMoneyAutoSD.com. If you need to add your city, for example, it can help for your Search Engine Optimization, as an added bonus. Adding a city is OK for local business, not a national business.
You have the option to make your URL descriptive, such as “SanDiegoWebHosting.com” OR you can use your business name SDWH.com. It depends on how you want to market your business and do Search Engine Optimization. This is where your business strategy comes in, which can be an entire article on its own. Domain Redirects are an option too, owning two or more domains for marketing purposes. Technically you can have as many domains as you want direct to a single name.
– 2 Short, Catchy And Easy To Spell
If you are building a brand, make the URL short and to the point. Think, YouTube, Tumblr, Amazon, Facebook, and others are short names. With millions of domains not available sometimes made up words become an option, Tumblr, Digg and others went with made up or altered words.
Made up short names can be a bit harder to promote. New word equals more money to market a made up name. Sometimes it’s an only option for some companies.
Don’t be confusing. Numbers can be spelled or a number, dashes are not advised and .com is the first choice. Sometimes businesses buy the .net, .biz, .co, and several other variations. This can be a waste of money, especially if you are a small to medium sized business.
If your business name was First Class Limo, you should try to buy first and 1st Class Limo dot com. This ensures the customer gets to your website either way and that your competition doesn’t buy the alternative spelling.
You should always point alternative spelled or misspelled domains you own to your main domain.
– 3 Is Your Domain Name Available?
Wait, how do I know if my URL is available? Use a WHOIS tool.
http://www.internic.net/whois.html This will tell you if the URL you choose is available or already owned, and by whom. Internic.net is a safe way to look up your URL. It is a 3rd party Whois tool to look up information, but does not sell Domains and is a part of the U.S Department of Commerce. This removes any conflict of interest or distracting sales pages while researching your domain.
Warning! Some WHOIS URL lookup tools on domain registers may be a little shady and steal your domain.
Years ago I searched a URL and saw it was available for purchase. The next day I went to my favorite domain register to purchase the domain. Not Available! It was purchased earlier in the day. After doing a WHOIS search, I saw that the owner of the URL I wanted was the company that I used to search its availability the prior day. I was pissed off.
They now offered to sell this domain to me for a markup. I called the company, accused them of shady business practices, and to my surprise they admitted this practice and released the domain name. I then purchased the URL with my regular registrar 1and1.com.
If your domain is available? Buy it and setup up your website today. If you need help with setting up your WordPress site for business, give us a call. Good luck in the wild wild west.
There are tons of Domain Registration Companies. Just Google it up.
- 1and1.com – Competitive domain pricing and my pick.
- GoDaddy.com They are fine. A lot of up selling during checkout.
OK This is a damn process. It’s NOT just picking the first domain that has your business name, plus your city in it. It helps, but you should also think about the long-term strategy of your business. Local, national or international?
This is the moment when you need to study, think, and most importantly strategize about your domain selection.
If you want to get the best domain, research the options. If you want the most search engine friendly domain along with you business name, research more. Yes, this can be a process, but is your business worth the time? You will gain more clients because you have a memorable domain, that’s easy to reach domain and well-researched.
Put in the work, get the results you want. Let’s talk if you have questions. Happy domain name hunting.
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