Choosing and registering a domain name

I normally like to leave the selection of a domain name to the preferences of each individual client. Preferences always vary from person to person so as long as you are choosing a domain name that you love and can envision your customers using for years to come, I think that’s a great route to go. Saying that, I frequently get asked for my suggestions when a client has not yet selected/registered their domain name. Below are some details to consider when choosing a domain name.

Choosing a Domain Name

  1. Choosing a brandable domain name – Sometimes it is a great idea to choose a brandable domain name. Brandable domain names are typically short & sweet, and most of the time aren’t necessarily real words. They are usually very catchy and easy to remember. Most of the internet’s biggest success stories utilize brandable domain names.  Some examples include Google, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Yahoo, EBay, Kijiji and Amazon. If you want to read more on how to choose a brandable domain name, check out How to Choose a Brandable Domain Name by Neil Patel. Click here to open that article in a new window.
  2. Choosing a keyword rich domain name – It can also be a great idea to choose a domain name that contains the most popular keyword people might type to find you in search engines. The reason for this is because one of the factors Google considers when displaying its results is if the word typed into their search is included in the domain name. Another factor Google uses in its rankings is the text people use when they link to your web site. If your main keyword happens to be in your domain name, people who link to you would be more likely to use that word when linking to your web site. While Matt Cutts, who is a Google software engeineer has mentioned they are considering making keyword rich domain names less of an important factor in the future, I still believe it is worth considering putting your main keyword in your domain name, especially if you are choosing a domain name that is still easy for people to remember and spell.
  3. Choosing a local domain name – Similar to choosing a keyword rich domain name, sometimes it is good to add your location to your domain name if your target market is mostly in one city or geographical location. The pros of choosing a localized domain name are basically the same as choosing a keyword rich domain name, and it’s mostly related to increasing your chances of ranking well in search engines. An example of a keyword rich domain name is www.londonontariomovers.com .
  4. Choosing a domain name with your business name – Sometimes you just want to choose a domain name that is easier for your customers to remember… if that’s the case, you might just choose your company name as a domain name. There is nothing wrong with choosing your company name as a domain name, and sometimes it can just make complete sense. If it is easier for your customers to remember your company name over a short brandable name or a keyword rich domain, you should do what’s right for them. Choosing your company name as your domain also has the added benefit of having fairly logical email addresses.
  5. Choosing a domain extension – A domain extension is the part of the domain name after the dot. A few common examples include .com, .net, .org or .ca in Canada. There is an ever growing list of great domain extensions. Not too long ago, .co and .me domains were made available, which can be very catchy. Typically the extension you choose should simply be about availability… however, I do tend to notice .com domain names are the most memorable and they seem to rank better in Google overall… .ca domains are also great for Canadians, and would be another top choice for my clients who are mostly in Canada.
  6. What to avoid when choosing a domain name – When possible, I strongly suggest people stick with domain names that contain letters only. Do not include hyphens or numbers when possible. Also avoid words that are commonly misspelled or misinterpreted. Is it 2, two, too or to? Avoid using domains that are too long because it increases the chances of someone making a spelling mistake and it also can be difficult to fit long domains on print advertisements, business cards, etc. I also suggest you do a Google search of your name, and see if there are any other existing sites that are extremely comparable. Most companies would likely not care if you use a domain name similar to theirs, but some might go as far to contact a lawyer and send you a seize and desist letter. I am not a lawyer so I don’t know what can happen, but what I do know is that lawyers are expensive and it would probably not be worth your while to get into a legal dispute over the rights to use the domain name you selected.

Registering a Domain Name

The first thing you should do is search for available domain names. I can always help you with that, but you can search for available domain names by clicking here. In the future, I’ll add a video to better explain the process but it is fairly straight forward to most. Just let me know if you need any help.

Once you find an available domain name you want, we need to register that domain name. When doing business with me, there are a few options when it comes to registering your domain name.

  1. I can register it on your behalf – This is the option most of my clients choose because they prefer the convenience of giving me the ability to easily deal with everything related to their web site. If you register the domain name yourself, there are many small tasks you may be required to do on your own. This includes setting up an email address and pointing the domain name to the correct web hosting account once your web site is ready to launch. It isn’t that these are the most complex tasks in the world, but most small business owners I work with simply don’t want to deal with learning and successfully completing these tasks. The one con to choosing this option is that you are giving me more control over your domain name than I technically require. It is simply a matter of control versus convenience, and whatever your preference is.
  2. Register a domain name here – I am a Wild West Domains reseller, which is the sister company of Godaddy. I pay an annual fee, and am provided with the infrastructure to register domain names. This option gives you full control over your domain name and also makes it a little easier for me to help you, as I am relatively familiar with the infrastructure. I do believe as your web developer the easiest route for both of us is to simply let me register the domain name on your behalf; however this is the next best option. It gives you full control but makes it somewhat easy for me to help you when you need it. There is also a great 24 hour helpline you can call if you need anything. Click here to open a new window and register a domain name with me.
  3. Register a domain name at another domain name registrar – When you work with me, you are totally free to register your domain name at any domain name registrar you please. There is a seemingly endless list of options you can choose from. You can pick any registrar you like, but just keep in mind that when you need something related to the web site, domain name, or email address… you might have to figure it out yourself by contacting support at the registrar you choose.

Keep in mind that we can also register multiple domain names for you. We would just need to select one primary domain name, and we can point other domain names you like to the same web site. The cost to register a domain is less than $20/year for most extensions, so it is sometimes worthwhile to register other domains you might want to use later, or that you want to prevent others from using.

As I mentioned at the start of the article, I always think it is best for a client to choose a domain name they are very happy with and can see themselves and their customers using for years to come. Hopefully the tips on choosing a domain name in this article help you make a decision you are happy with. I would actually love to hear your feedback on that.

1 Comment

  • D Isaac

    Reply Reply August 7, 2015

    Great domain names are those that are either short and catchy, or just simply make sense for the niche the client is in. Although EMD’s are not used for ranking, they are still used for “purpose” of human behaviour.

    For example, if your domain name contains the keyword of your main product, your customers know what you do before they even click or look at another link.

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