Choose Your Domain Name Wisely With These Tips.
One of the most critical business decisions you will ever make is choosing your domain name—Think carefully! Once your domain name is out there, it is no easy task to change it and keep your ranking with the search engines.
Always buy your domain name separately from your web hosting-always-even if it is free for one year!
- Don’t buy it from your web host—But if you already did, transfer it to another registrar as soon as you can.
- Web hosting companies typically charge more for a domain name.
- Sometimes it’s hard to transfer ownership of your domain name to another domain name registrar.
- Renewal fees may be higher compared to buying the domain name alone.
- If your web host ever fails, it can be hard to recover your website if it has control of your domain name. When you own your domain name at another registrar, you can move your web hosting and transfer your site using your backup copy. (You did backup your website, right?]
Buy at least two years and never, ever forget to renew ahead of time.
Mark your calendar. It never happened to me, but I’ve seen it firsthand. Once it expires, someone could grab it and will gladly sell it back to you for ransom. Or you’ll have to move your website to a new domain name—that is, if you have backed it up. Don’t let your domain name expire!
Check your registrar’s grace period on renewal. I had a friend whose domain name expired, but we were able to renew it nearly two weeks later with no penalty.
And some basic tips
- Easy to spell [correctly]
- Make it easy for visitors to remember.
- When I use my domain name in any writing, I always cap the first letter of each word. Examples are SweetenedCondensed.com or LampPostPublishing.com.
- Leave out dashes and spaces because you want your domain name to be short, sweet, and to the point.
- Choose the .com extension, if you can, unless there is a compelling reason to use one of the many other extensions. For example, nonprofits typically use .org.
- Match the name to your branding.
- Reflect your product/purpose in as few words as possible.
- Look at the name with and without spaces, with and without caps, etc. There are amusing, but sad examples of poor domain name choices because it makes perfect sense until you remove or change the spaces and it unintentionally spells out something horrible.
- Best Tip! Don’t go looking on the web for your domain name until you are ready to purchase—Have a list of name choices ready.
Resources for Choosing Domain Names
- In a recent Whiteboard Friday at Moz.com, Rand Fishkin talked about 8 Rules for How to Choose a Domain Name. Watch it! He is an SEO expert and a successful entrepreneur—Rand’s 8 Rules come with a professional SEO perspective. While you are there, sign up for the free Moz Newsletter.
- Sitepoint article about domain name basics: How to Choose a Domain Name For Your Business.