Tips for choosing domain name from experts

Don't Sweat It Too Much If Your Perfect Domain Name Is Taken and Can't Be Obtained

Okay, so as much as domain names do matter, and having the right one can mean the world to you, if you can't get your hands on what you want (it's unavailable or the price is too high), don't sweat it too much. First of all, something that's more important than anything else - even than the domain name itself - is to actually get the idea behind your website or business right. If you dedicate yourself to executing that idea and do it deliberately, the lack of that 'perfect domain name' won't hold you back. Secondly, domain names can be changed later on. Even if you don't have the right domain today, you can always get it later, and then just redirect your website to it. For example, that is what Sumo - a suite of online marketing tools - did not that long ago. The domain name they started with was sumome.com, but then, after a while, when they got enough funding, they bought the domain they really wanted - sumo.com. In their case, that domain switch was kind of expensive. Their new sumo.com domain actually cost $1.5 million. But don't worry, yours doesn't have to be this expensive. Sumo has actually turned out to be the 83rd most expensive domain name ever. - Karol K - Winning WP


Think Long-Term

Are you ready to marry your domain? You should be, because it will be one of the biggest elements that defines your business and brand for years. Plus, if you decide to change the domain in the future, it will cost you money, branding, and SEO rankings. In short, it's a huge pain. So, when you choose your domain, think long-term. For example, if your company helps businesses optimize their websites for SEO, you could choose a domain name like, 'OptimizedSEO.com' But if you think there's a chance you might expand to more general digital marketing services in the future, like email marketing, PPC, etc. then it might be wise to reconsider your domain name. You don't want to pin yourself down to a certain niche if you think you might expand out of that niche. So, keep your long-term vision in mind when picking your domain name. - ROBERT MENING - WebsiteSetup


Make sure the name is available on other social media sites

When picking your domain, check other social media sites to make sure it's available on those sites too. If you use the same name on your blog and on Twitter, Facebook, etc., it solidifies your brand and makes it more memorable. My favorite tool to check your name across all networks at once is Namechk. Another tool is called knowem? (hat tip, Kikolani) but as of this writing, they don't check Instagram for you which these days, is a must. - Amy Lynn Andrews


Brandable Over Generic

Creative and brandable are always better than generic. Remember: Your domain name is how visitors will find, remember, and share your company on the web. It is the foundation of your brand. Here's the main difference between a brandable and generic domain name: A brandable domain name is unique and stands out from the competition, while a generic domain name is usually stuffed with keywords and unmemorable. For example, do you know the difference between Healthinsurance.net, Newhealthinsurance.com, or Healthinsurancesort.com? Probably not, right? These are horribly generic. They don't have any meaning. You won't hear anyone talking about how awesome 'Insurance.com' is. Plus, variants of the word 'insurance' will increase the competition and make it blend in even more. But sites like UnitedHealthCareOnline.com and Anthem.com stand out, because they stand for something. When people hear those domain names, there is a trust factor there. Here's how to find a more brandable domain name: Create new words. You can make up your own catchy, new words. That's what Google, Bing, and Yahoo did. Use existing words. You can use a thesaurus to find interesting words that fit your brand. Use domain name generators. These tools can help you create a unique, brandable domain name from your initial domain ideas and keywords. (We'll highlight some of our favorite domain name generators later on in this post.) - ROBERT MENING - WebsiteSetup


Short and sweet

The shorter the better. Enough said. - Amy Lynn Andrews


Don't Sweat It Too Much If Your Perfect Domain Name Is Taken

If the domain name you really desire is already taken, this is not the end of the world. Sometimes, you can actually still get your hands on it. Here's what you can do: If the domain name is not in use (there's no website or the domain is 'parked' - features only ads), then there's a very good chance the owner only bought it to sell it later on. You'll likely find some contact information on that parked website. If there's no info, use who.is and get the owner's email. If there's a website on the domain, you can still try your luck and contact the owner asking if they're willing to sell the domain off. Low chance of success here, but still worth a try. If the domain is completely empty and there's no contact info to be found, try looking through known domain-flipping marketplaces, such as GoDaddy's marketplace (auction based), Sedo, SnapNames, or Flippa. Buying an existing domain name is a different process from buying a new one, so it requires some additional caution. We talk about that in No. 13. One more note, domains you buy from someone's hands cost MONEY (emphasis mine). Sometimes good money! A safe estimate here would be a minimum of $250, but more like $1,000 or more. If you can't afford that, don't worry too much either - Karol K - Winning WP


Avoid trademark infringement & confusion

The ideal domain name is distinctive. It shouldn't be easily confused with the name of another site or brand. After all, you don't want any lawsuits on your hands. If your domain name infringes on a trademark, you could be sued and forced to give up the domain. Before you register your domain name, you can check to see if it violates any US trademarks here. On a related note: if people can confuse your name with another brand, so can search engines. Picking a name that's too similar to another business can lead to your name's search engine results being littered with irrelevant links. - Denis Pinsky - Forbes


Be brandable

Your domain name is the face of your company-in the form of a URL. Therefore, you should make sure it actually sounds like a brand. So, how do you do that? With simplicity, novelty, and memorability. Avoid inserting hyphens, numbers, or anything else that makes it sound unnatural and complicated. A great example is Pepsi.com. That domain name is leagues beyond inferior options like 'Pepsi-cola.com' or 'Pepsi-2-drink.com'. - Denis Pinsky - Forbes


Beware of trends

Anything that deals with something trendy will, like the trend, fade away. Stick with a classic name that will span the generations and not be tied down to a trend or fad. Deciding whether something is a trend or here to stay, is a matter of personal judgment, but it's usually not too hard to tell. - Ogi Djuraskovic - FirstSiteGuide team


Keep It Short, Simple, and Predictable

So, we already talked about brandability (if that's a word), but there are also some other, more general, characteristics of a quality domain name. The big four being: short - preferably with fewer than 15(-ish) characters, excluding the TLD simple - no hyphens, no underscores, no complicated words as part of the domain, or any other punctuation just words - avoid using numbers unless absolutely necessary (for example, if it's part of your brand name, such as 9gag.com) predictable - no weird spellings (for example, if your name is Myke and you want to make it part of your domain - such as MykeBlogs.com - every single time people will mistype it as MikeBlogs.com. - Karol K - Winning WP


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