Monday, March 17, 2014

131- What to Look for in Domain Names

What to Look for in Domain Names

What to Look for in Domain Names

Choosing your domain name is one of the most important decisions you can make for any site. Some people will spend days or even weeks hunting out the "best" domain name for their site whereas others appear to have thrown a dart at a board and hoped that something memorable would magically appear.


The biggest problem with choosing a domain name is availability.

A lot of domains are parked - either waiting for the website owner to put some content on them or, as seems to be almost always the case for domains you've set your heart on, waiting for you to spend a lot of money to buy the domain from entrepreneur who hopes to get you to part with your cash in exchange for the domain name you've decided you want.

There are no reliable figures for the number of domains that are in this limbo state - the main domain providers stopped giving out this information a number of years ago - but the current best guess is that around 1 in every 6 domains are currently parked, under construction or being offered for sale.

This means that you may have to modify what you're looking for in a domain name to fit around the availability.

But regardless of that, these things should factor in your choice:

Length

As a general rule, shorter domain names are more valuable because, by definition, there are less of them available.

Which, ignoring the industry it's in, would explain why the main sex website sold for an estimated $12 million when it last changed owners.

Hyphens

A few years ago, it was thought that hyphens helped the search engines differentiate the words contained in your domain name.

That may or not have been true then but, as you can tell from a quick glance at the bolded parts of the search results, it certainly doesn't apply now.

The other reason that hyphens have historically been used in domain names is because the "main" domain name - the one without hyphens - has already been taken by someone else.

This means that you run the risk of people forgetting the hyphens in your domain name and typing in your competitors URL into their computer or phone.

Numbers

These are another tactic that is often used to get over the lack of availability of your first choice of domain name or to shorten the length of the name.

If you are ever likely to be in a situation where you are verbally telling people your domain name, numbers are worth avoiding as they are generally more difficult to explain and you end up people telling people things like "that's the number 4 not the word" which complicates matters and runs the risk of confusion.

Domain extension

If people have forgotten your domain name extension, chances are that they will guess that it's either.com or (if you're outside the USA) your country specific domain extension.

That means that even if it's not your first choice of domain name it's worth getting both the.com and the country specific version of your name.

Unintended words

These crop up with alarming regularity.

It pays to check that there aren't unexpected combinations of letters that make words you'd rather not be associated with, as has happened to several firms including one that thought they'd like to sound more French for the curtains they were selling, so they added the prefix "la" to their generic word "drape".

Which seemed a perfectly innocent combination but definitely wasn't so once the words were combined into a domain name string.



Article Source: EzineArticles.com

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