How to Choose the Right Domain Name For a Successful Web Site

Choosing a domain name may seem like an exercise in frustration, and you may be tempted to register the first one you stumble upon that isn’t already taken. Slow down! It requires more thought than that, and your choice will have a tremendous impact on the ultimate success of you Web site. In this article, we will discuss how to discover a domain name that will work for you.

There are four main concerns when choosing a domain name:


  1. Technical Requirements.
  2. A Memorable Name.
  3. A Descriptive Name.
  4. Keyword Research.

Technical Requirements for Domain Names


Let’s get the easy part out of the way first.

When we talk about a “domain name,” we’re referring to the part of a Web site address that comes between “www” and “.com.” For instance, in “wwwYourWebSitecom,” the domain name is “YourWebSite.” You must register the domain within a particular “top-level domain,” the part that comes after the rightmost “dot,” as in “.com,” “.info,” “.us,” etc. That is, “YourWebSitecom” is a different domain than “YourWebSiteinfo.” You might be able to register “YourWebSitebiz,” even though “YourWebSitecom” is already registered.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”) defines what a domain name must look like. These rules may be summarized as follows:

63 or fewer characters.
Only numerals, hyphens, and English letters.
Must not begin with a hyphen.
Must not end with a hyphen.

Unfortunately, it’s not quite that cut and dried. domeinnaam koop There are varying interpretations of the rules. Some say that a domain in a four-character top-level domain (.info, .mobi) can only be 62 characters long. There are several schemes regarding how to encode non-English letters, etc.

We can avoid getting bogged down in these points of confusion by remembering two things:

You don’t want a long domain name anyway, so don’t worry about whether the limit is 64 or 62 characters.
Non-English letters, encoded in schemes that might not be universally applied, mean that your domain name may look different (and nonsensical) on various parts of the Internet, so don’t use them.
Choosing a Memorable Domain Name

Your domain name must be something that people can remember and that they can type in readily, or recognize at a glance when they see it as a clickable link.

Among other things, this means that your domain name should be short. All of the genuinely short domain names are already taken. Virtually every single word in the English language has been registered as a domain name, as has every combination of up to five letters. So, don’t get too hung up on “short.” As we will discuss later in this article, you want to find a balance between “short” and “descriptive.”

Although a domain name may include hyphens, you are better off without them. If you wanted to register “YourDomainNamecom” and found it was unavailable, you will not be doing yourself any favors by registering “Your-Domain-Namecom.” Users will confuse the two Web sites, and will be more likely to go with the shorter version.

Choosing a Descriptive Domain Name

Your domain name should describe what the user will find on your Web site.

Look for a descriptive phrase about your chosen specialty. Is your Web site about baby care tips for working mothers? For parents of babies with special needs? Whatever specific area you intend to address, put together three or four words that say it. You don’t have to say it very well, at this point. As we will discuss shortly, there are tools to help you refine your descriptive phrases. For now, just come up with a few phrases that describe your Web site’s content in three or four words.

Keyword Research when Choosing a Domain Name

You want your domain name to be short and descriptive. That means that each word in it must have value.

Keyword research can identify powerful keywords for your Web site’s content, but it can also find words to use in your domain name. There is one difference, as will be discussed below.

Keyword research identifies the words and phrases that people are using when searching for information related to your planned Web site. You will use these keywords in your Web site’s content and in any pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, but you should also use them in your domain name. A keyword-rich domain name is more likely to rank high in search engine results.

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