Domain name selection is particularly important when starting an online business. This is the website address that is going to represent the company and convey the content of the site. There are many areas to consider when choosing a name and its best to thoroughly deliberate the following rules.
There are nine main rules for choosing an effective domain name. These include:
- The domain name should be the website name
- The domain name should be the brand name
- Shorter domain names sound cool
- Select a name not easily confused with others
- Avoid hyphenated names
- Avoid plurals
- Avoid copyright infringement
Naming the domain name after the website is an effective idea so when visitors think of a website, they think of it by name. This allows them to instantly know where to go for a specific product or service. Also, the domain name should be the name of the brand being sold since that is generally what the public will first type into their browser.
A common debate is shorter versus longer domain names. Shorter domain names have the advantage of being easier to remember and easier to type with less of a chance of misspelling a word. Similarly, it’s good practice to select a domain name that cannot be easily confused with others. Slightly changing a word or adding letters, punctuation and short words confuse customers which deplete the site’s brand image.
Other rules include avoiding hyphenated names and avoiding plurals. Hyphenated names are easy to forget when typing and when sites are verbally recommended, there’s more room for error with saying “hyphen” or adding an ‘s’ to the end of the site than without. Additionally, it’s a typing annoyance to constantly have to hyphenate words, especially in a browser.
Along the same lines, copyright infringement was established so customers do not get confused by similar sounding websites. Any copyright infringement will undoubtedly add complications to the website’s success. It’s best to first check the US Patent and Trademark Database or copyright.gov to verify.
There are many website naming trends that have come and gone. It’s best not to become wrapped up in this since the trend will change as fast as it came. The most recent trends are found with Web 2.0 naming conventions that oddly misspell regular words. Also, utilizing a domain selection tool such as AjaxWhois will help identify those names that are available for use.
These are the most important rules for initially selecting a domain name. As more names are chosen, naming conventions will change to allow new website owners to stand out over the competition. These basic rules will remain consistent for domain name choices.