Sit at your computer, open a web browser, and type in URLs as you think of them… you’ll be surprised how many are already taken!
If you enter a URL and it generates an error, then you might be in luck. Go to whois.com and search for the domain to see if it is available. If it is available, go to your favorite web hosting service (I use 1&1) and reserve the domain for a low fee, but wait until you’re ready to actually use it before purchasing the accompanying web hosting package.Following are things to consider when choosing a domain name.
  • Assuming you a doing business in the US or to a largely US audience, go for a .com top-level domain. If your business is a non-profit, look for the .org. There are other top-level domains available such as .info, .net, or .biz, but I recommend getting these only in addition to the .org or .com domains.
  • If the name you dearly want is taken in the .com domain but is still available in .net or another top-level domain, think twice! People typically assume a domain ends in .com, so your investment in driving traffic to your site will inevitably accidentally send people to the .com domain… which hopefully isn’t owned by your competitor.
  • Be sure to choose a name that is keyboard friendly. The longer the URL, the greater the chance for mistyping and frustrated users who give up and go to your competitor’s site instead.
  • Get multiple domains when you can. For example if you are buying openfanletter.com, consider also getting openfanletter.org so that your future users will not have to remember which one is you. Launching a new product? Grab a domain for for it! What are common misspellings of your domain? Get those too!
  • Check out what’s already out there on the web using your domain name as a search term. If there’s something out there that you don’t want to be associated with, better to learn about that sooner than later. Read my other blog post about this.

The moral of the story

These days an intuitive domain name is essential to give you a memorable web and email address. If you have multiple domains, use redirects to funnel traffic to the right place, and be sure to set up “real” email addresses that make use of the domain.

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2 Responses to Choosing a Domain

  1. Dom Aina says:

    Great points on getting a domain. Getting also a unique domain name is quite confusing. One way to ease this is take advantage of websites like http://www.domainka.com

  2. admin says:

    DomainKA is a site where you will find domain names that are extremely short and consist of just letters or numbers — or very old domains that are back on the market. The important thing to keep in mind about this is that these are all owned and up for sale on an “auction” basis — you make an offer and see if you are lucky… Meaning you can expect to pay more than if you can think of a new, unused domain name. I’ve never purchased a domain from this outfit personally so can’t comment on whether this is a good company, but if the domain of your dreams is here, it’s worth a shot.

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