How To Pick A Domain Name

by TheMadHat on September 1, 2007

This is a really tough question. I’ve had an idea I have been thinking about for 6 months or so but I haven’t been able come up with a suitable domain for it. I recently ran across PickyDomains which is a service that will do it for you if you are stuck. We’ll get to their services in a moment. Picking the right domain is a very important step when starting a project. It could set you up for success or dismal failure. A lot of your branding power comes from your domain name and you can build immediate trust with your users. For example, a long generic domain with a bunch of dashes (buy-my-online-ebook.com) looks really low quality. A better solution would be something easy to remember and portrays a bit more quality (ebooksuccess.com). Here are some additional things to consider when choosing your domain name:

    1. Having keywords in domain name for increasing search engine rankings is always useful, but this may not always be the case. Currently Google ranks keywords domains very well but they could lower the weight at any time. You’ll need to weigh the pros and cons when determining this. If you find a highly brandable name without keywords I suggest going with that.
    2. Your business name may be useless to use as a domain name. This can arise if you have a long business name or plural words with apostrophes. “Jim’s Surf ‘N Turf Advertising” wouldn’t turn into a good domain name.
    3. Double letter problems. Double letters in domains can get confusing to searches and type in traffic. For example “Pratt Tennis Shoes” would look like pratttennis.com. If you do go with something like this be sure to register and redirect all combinations (pratennis, prattennis, pratttennis). It will work, but it’s confusing and that isn’t good for your customers.
    4. Domain extensions. Get the .com. Better yet, get them all. If a domainer has it you may have to pay a higher price. If some Joe Schmoe has it then just contact them via a whois search and express interest in purchasing it if they are willing to sell. You can usually get a pretty good deal doing it this way. A lot of times the Joe in question will want to know what you’re going to do with it (why I’m not sure, but it happens more often than not).

So you’ve had 15 brainstorming sessions and you’re still stuck? That’s where PickyDomains comes to the rescue. They have a team of domain experts from around the world that will do your brainstorming for you and pick a domain name. For 50 risk free dollars it’s a great deal considering the value your domain name plays in your business. If you don’t go with anything they submit, you’ll get a full refund. I’m going to give them a shot and I will post a review after I have my new domain.

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{ 16 comments }

mlankton September 1, 2007 at 7:38 pm

When I got my domain I also snagged the .net and .org variants. Do you think it’s worth the bother to get the .info, .tv or .biz? I always think of those variants as being attached to garbage sites.

SEO Optimization September 2, 2007 at 5:54 am

Unfortunately you are right mlankton, the .info domains are mainly attached to garbage sites but thats not the case of EVERY .info domain.

As far as regards the .com domain you are right, it has more value in the market (if one day you will have intentions to sell it) and many believe that G gives more weight to .com domains (its a myth for me tho), but if you are running a business it would be best to grab them all and sleep tight at night.

Nice tips Hat.

TheMadHat September 3, 2007 at 12:41 pm

@mlankton I would get them just to be on the safe side, especially if you’ve got a generic type, like yours for example. If a domainer snagged it and the price is too much to justify, just put a backorder on it and wait until they drop it.

If they’re not registered though, the $25 you’ll spend is easily worth it.

@Astrit…I agree with your statement on the .info domains. Most are used by spammers at the moment, but a few are used actual businesses and informational domains. And also just because it’s junk now doesn’t mean it always will be.

Thanks for the comments guys!

Enterprise Feedback Management September 4, 2007 at 6:24 pm

I just recently purchased my first domain. I asked someone at the time if I should get all my domain extensions. They told me emphatically no. Your article has presented me with an opposing view, but I still don’t know why I would need them.

TheMadHat September 4, 2007 at 8:12 pm

Well, it’s certainly isn’t set in stone. But if you’re serious about your business I would strongly consider it. From a branding perspective it’s a good idea. If you spend lots of resources building up a business on mydomain.com you probably don’t want someone trying to rank with mydomain.net. Registering them avoids potential problems in the future.

A lot of big name companies don’t have all three extensions, and they probably regret it to some degree. Considering the cost of a domain, it’s a simple decision from where I stand.

If the other domains are already registered, just find out what the cost is and see if it makes sense for your business.

Lisa September 5, 2007 at 11:13 pm

These tips are great. I’m getting ready to build another website, and I’ve been working on a name that’s search engine friendly and memorable. Thanks!

TheMadHat September 5, 2007 at 11:17 pm

Anytime Lisa! Picking the right domain name sometimes is the longest and hardest part of the project.

Thanks for stopping in!

NeXtPaGeGuY September 21, 2007 at 12:20 pm

i didnt realize the more complex the domain name, the worse it is. thanks for the heads up, gonna go start me a new site :D

TheMadHat September 21, 2007 at 12:34 pm

Thanks for stopping in NeXtPaGe! The double letters are a total annoyance for type-in traffic for sure. I see though you’ve done well already with NextPage. Great domain name.

best cd rates December 25, 2007 at 7:43 pm

This is a really solid article. I think that age of a domain is good too. People always buy new domains, but it takes time to really establish it solidly.

beauty blog March 26, 2008 at 2:33 pm

I’ve been buying “marketable” domain names with preferably keywords in them. I used to buy 3 word domains but 1)it’s too much too type 2)depending on your permalink the actual URL can be too long, and 3)2 words do better. I had like topdestinationweddings.com or officialbeautyguide.com or http://cheeseburgerinacan.com that i simply left to rot and started buying two word domains. Then again…I may just have a domain buying problem!

Gregg Thurby April 5, 2008 at 9:54 am

Hey Beauty Blog…

I’ve had that problem myself, getting domains then not doing anything with them, I may also try the pickydomains as a way to earn a few dollars, by thinking up names for other people… I heard about it a while ago but haven’t got around to trying it yet.

So would a cheeseburgerinacan actually rot?

Cheers,

Gregg

Jeff Kumasamy April 5, 2008 at 11:55 am

Choosing a domain name had different factor to consider and it also depend on what you want to do with a certain site.

For example, if you want to SEO that site, then choose a domain name that have your keyword in your domain.

If you want to brand your name, then having your name in your domain name will be a good one.

TheMadHat April 7, 2008 at 10:11 am

@Jeff – Not really. Why would you not perform SEO on a site with heavy branding?

Jenn at Nicheplicity October 20, 2008 at 2:54 pm

I hadn’t heard of Picky Domains – I’ll have to check that out. Though, brainstorming domains is something I actually do enjoy. Great tips- this is stuff everyone should be doing before they buy a domain.

Ariyes January 5, 2009 at 2:28 pm

I have read many articles about how to choose a domain name!
I found out that mainly the domain name should be .com and it should be as short as possible!
It should be easier to say!

thank you!

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