Choosing a domain name is an important and sometimes frustrating task for any organization. It’s the first impression of your brand. The wrong choice can frustrate your visitors, or lose them altogether.
What’s in a name? We will get back to this…
It’s currently the year 2018. For a long time, each year has been the Year of Frustration as it relates to choosing domain names. Almost any first choice we think of is usually taken, or owned by a reseller. If a reseller owns it, we might be lucky to buy it for “only” hundreds of dollars.
With careful thought, you will be able to choose a domain name that you’re happy using. If you already have a company, this task might be more difficult.
.com – If Possible
The .com Top-Level Domain (TLD) is the most widely known. .com is frequently the first TLD that comes to mind when a person thinks of typing a domain name that they’re not sure about. Historically, the intended use of .com is commercial purposes, but it’s unrestricted. If you can get your domain in .com, then it’s the best option.
There is such a shortage of usable domains, that we frequently see misspellings. This is okay, but don’t go too crazy with a misspelling or no one will remember how they’re supposed to misspell your name. If they don’t visit your site, there’s a 100% chance of lost business.
Okay, if you speak German, this is easier to remember.
Short & Memorable
Some people can remember whole phone numbers, while most people can remember short domain names… How easy is it to remember godaddy.com? Try to think of a name that is easy for someone to remember in passing. Imagine if I went around saying “Visit my website – applitewebsiteandsoftwaredevelopment.xyz”, who wants to remember that?
The Top-Level Domain (TLD) matters because recent additions to TLD aren’t so memorable or in wide use. We would never recommend getting things like .website, .review, .amsterdam, .download, etc. If you can’t get .com, don’t make people remember and type something much longer.
Avoid using hyphens, and avoid using numbers. Numbers are more acceptable with prefixes like: 4 (for), 2 (to). Don’t add random numbers that won’t be easy to remember. If you’re in Japanese market, some use the suffix “39” (3=三「San」 9=九「Kyu」 or “Thank You”)。The Chinese market makes extensive use of numbers in domain names, just look at this guide that describes the meanings from 0 to 99: https://www.namepros.com/blog/your-guide-to-chinese-domain-names-from-0-to-99.921830/
Again, no numbers are better, unless it’s part of your naming strategy.
Functional name or not?
Here are some examples of domain names that are either related to the business or not:
Functional names: facebook.com, spacex.com, paypal.com, etc.
Non-Functional: ebay.com, google.com, dell.com, godaddy.com, etc.
You can make the domain name memorable by having a functional name or a non-functional but short & memorable name. One isn’t inherently better than the other, so it’s a matter of availability and/or personal choice.
If you were able to get the .com domain name for your organization, it’s recommended to also get the .net and .org domains, if available. Having these are the most important (in North America). Other regions may have more popular TLDs than .net and .org. To see the most popular TLDs, you can visit this page:
Note: .tk domains are generally free, but have activity requirements.
Common incorrect or alternate spellings of your domain name are also a good idea to purchase. AppLite also owns the domain applight.com to account for the possibility of someone spelling it differently.
Don’t forget to renew your domain name!
I know a few companies that didn’t renew for whatever reason and lost their domain name. The owner of a company should always verify domain renewal. Set periodic reminders around the domain’s expiration date to renew it or check on the status. Do NOT rely on auto-renewal, email reminders, or employees still working at your company. Things happen… e-mails get marked as spam, payment methods expire, and employees can move on.
What’s in a name? A contributing factor to success, failure, and everything in between.