I've written about how to register a domain name, now let's look at how to choose a good domain to register. With good being the operative word.
What Makes A Good Domain Name
There are no rules when it comes to choosing domain names but there are things to avoid and things which are preferable. I'll cram them all into a single list of best practices when it comes to choosing domain names. There's no rocket science here, just common sense. Keeping these items in mind will benefit your brand and maximize your site traffic.
How To Choose A Good Domain Name
1) Keep it short - or as short as possible
Short domain names are easier to remember. Short domain names are easier to NOT misspell. Imagine trying to spell or remember something like www.FriendlyPlumberCapeTown.co.za. Or imagine sending an email to sales@FriendlyPlumberCapeTown.co.za.co.za. It's so easy to make a spelling error or typo which means loss of sales and frustration on the part of your visitors and potential clients.
Let's say your business name was Friendly Plumber and you were based in Cape Town. I would first search for a domain name like friendlyplumber.co.za and keep it as close to the exact business name as possible. If that name was taken I'd consider a different domain extension, definitely one of the brand new domains released by ICANN e.g. .PLUMBER, .COMPANY, PLUMBING etc. I would also consider one of the new city extensions like .CAPETOWN, JOBURG, .DURBAN OR .AFRICA. For international cities there are .LONDON, . NYC, .TOKYO, .BERLIN etc. In total there will be close to 2,000 new domain names released in the next few months.
Another alternative is inititalise, to break Friendly Plumber down to FP. So it will be something like fp.co.za or fp.capetown or fpplumbing.capetown. Granted, most letters have long ago been taken in most of the domain name spaces like .com, .net, .co.za, .co.uk, .uk etc. But it's still worth checking, and... with the host of new domain names already released and being released, you can definitely find the name you want, no matter how short. Just don't waste time and register your name as soon as possible.
2) Avoid if possible numbers in a domain name
Numbers can cause confusion when it comes to typing in the website address or email address. Let's take a domian name with a number e.g. 7plumbingcompany.co.za. When verbalising your email address or website address to potential clients, you'll have to make sure you specify the 7 as the number 7 and not the word seven. This may seem like a big deal but it can be. Personally I recommend you completely avoid numbers in domain names as it can be misconstrued either way. Typos invariably lead to loss of business, the potential visitor can't find your site and simply looks elsewhere.
3) Try to avoid dashes and dots etc. in the domain name
By dashes and dots I mean - and . . This can also cause confusion errors when visitors are typing in your website address or email addresses.
4) Keep is specific
If you're targeting a specific country then it's good practice to use a country specific domain e.g. .CO.ZA for South Africa or .UK for the United Kingdom. As mentioned previously the new city specific domains are even more targetted e.g. .JOBURG, .CAPETOWN, .CAPETOWN, etc. Now I'm going to change my tune a bit and say that having a .COM is also not a bad thing, it's just easier for search engines and visitors to associate a business or website to a specific country or city when using country or city domain names.
Looking at registering a domain name for your website? Consider our extensive list of domain names by visiting our domain checker.