Choosing a Domain Name

It’s getting more and more difficult to find a good .com domain name. Pretty well every word in the dictionary has already been dot-commed. So a lot of people (including some highly paid consultants who should know better) are coming up with some really stupid ones.

Because they just don’t think.

Tip #1 – The Radio Rule

This is the name I’ve given to a commonsense technique will immediately tell you if a domain name name is effective or not.

All it means is that someone should be able to type your domain name into a browser after they hear it on the radio.

Lets say you heard a radio advertisement for carz-4-u.com, an imaginary business who has just paid a corporate consultant a small fortune to come up with this fantastically unique name.

Where would you go to find their website?

* carsforyou.com or maybe

* cars-for-you.com or

* cars4you.com or perhaps

* carsforu.com

Eventually you might guess it.

But more likely you’d just give up – and their “cute” domain name has just lost them another potential client. (Unless they spent 25 seconds of their 30 second advert telling you the right way to spell it. But of course,you don’t have a pen to write it down and so you forget this anyway)

So try to remember the “Radio Rule” when thinking about domain names. (By definition, it would exclude most numbers. Unless you already had strong market recognition for your business that has a number in it.)

If there are 2 or 3 different ways to spell the name and you want it anyway, try to register all of those spellings.

Consider also the spelling differences for the same word in different countries, if your audience is international.

I had to do this recently for one of my domain names, taseric.com which could also be “heard” as tazeric.com. So I registered the second name and connected it to my website as well.

If a word in your domain name is commonly spelled wrongly, register that version as well and connect it to your website. Of course you don’t advertise any of these of these mis-spellings. All they are there for is to make sure that a person will get to your website if they “almost” get your domain name right after hearing someone say it.

Tip #2 – Keep It As Short As Possible . . .

While www.JacksonAndAssociatesInsuranceBrokersNorthSydney.com may reflect the name of your business, it would be a pain in the neck for everyone who has to type it into a browser, or send you email messages.

Try to keep the name to a manageable length. Normally, the shorter and more memorable the better.

An exception would be if you are an internet marketer who has lots of websites, each using his targetted keywords as the domain name.

In this case, nobody would type in the name, but the keyword rich domain name could improve the position of the website in the search engine rankings.

Tip #3 Getting Ideas for Domain Names

If you are registering an Australian domain name, you have a pretty good chance of getting the one you want.

But if you’re after an American based .com domain name, it’s not going to be so easy.  Pretty well every word in the dictionary has been registered as a US based domain name, so you’re going to have to get creative to find a good one.  You may have to put 2 or more words together.

With a bit of thought and ingenuity it’s still possible to register a good, memorable .com domain name.

.If you combine 2 words together, you can often create a unique name that is still available. Here’s some examples that I’ve recently registered:

* DevilNeck.com – For a motorcycle neck warmer
* GuruWanker.com – For a possible future site about Internet Marketing.
* JustBloodyGoogleIt.com – If people drive you mad with simple questions that could be easily answered with a goggle search – send them to this site.
* PatienceWare.com – for an idea that may become a new way of distributing EBooks.
* SpamStrangler.com – May use this in future, or sell it.
* StupidBureaucrats.com – a half forgotten forum where people can tell of their encounters with officialdom.
* TinyShinyThings.com – I’m a gadget freak, and this may become a site that reviews tiny, shiny consumer items.
* ScalpelMarketing.com – Another one that popped into my head. It’s a great mental image.

If you’re reading this carefully, you might have also noticed that I used capital letters at the start of each word.

Email addresses and domain names are NOT case sensitive.

You can use this fact to add emphasis where needed.

For example, using Capital Letters is useful for domain names like these:

* penisland.com vs. PenIsland.com (This used to be an actual site where pens were sold. Wonder what they were thinking when they came up with the name :) )
* kylieshits.com vs. KyliesHits.com (an imaginary site that could feature the songs of a singer named Kylie)

As you can see, there are plenty of good domain names available if you spend a bit of time thinking about putting words together.

Domains Bot – The Name Finding Robot

The free service provided by  DomainsBot may help you find a great name for your website and business.

Tip #4 – You Don’t need to register EVERYTHING

Some domain registrars and web developers encourage you to register EVERY version of your domain name – ie .net, .org, .biz, .info, .name, .us .tv, and so on.

And from time to time, you will probably receive email and letters urging you to “protect your domain name” by registering these – and more – alternative extensions from a range of countries.

In my opinion, this is a waste of money for the majority of businesses, unless you have a valuable brand or trademark to protect. For most businesses, registration of the .com and .com.au (If you are in Australia) names are sufficient.

By all means register a few more if you have high paranoia levels, and are worried that someone else will “steal” and use these names. It’s inexpensive to do this, and if it will help you sleep better – then do it.

If the .com version of the name you want is gone, you could try to get the .net version, but in just about all cases the .com is preferable.

This is because it is the extension that most people will automatically use. If you use something else, they probably won’t remember it.

Another reason to use .com is that most browsers will add .com automatically if someone types in a word that does not have an extension. (ie if you type in bobsbrakes into your browser, you’ll be taken to bobsbrakes.com )

Now you know how to register a great domain name. Go and see what you can come up with.

regards,

Eric G.