Tips for choosing domain name from experts

Brandable Over Generic

Creative and brandable are always better than generic. Remember: Your domain name is how visitors will find, remember, and share your company on the web. It is the foundation of your brand. Here's the main difference between a brandable and generic domain name: A brandable domain name is unique and stands out from the competition, while a generic domain name is usually stuffed with keywords and unmemorable. For example, do you know the difference between Healthinsurance.net, Newhealthinsurance.com, or Healthinsurancesort.com? Probably not, right? These are horribly generic. They don't have any meaning. You won't hear anyone talking about how awesome 'Insurance.com' is. Plus, variants of the word 'insurance' will increase the competition and make it blend in even more. But sites like UnitedHealthCareOnline.com and Anthem.com stand out, because they stand for something. When people hear those domain names, there is a trust factor there. Here's how to find a more brandable domain name: Create new words. You can make up your own catchy, new words. That's what Google, Bing, and Yahoo did. Use existing words. You can use a thesaurus to find interesting words that fit your brand. Use domain name generators. These tools can help you create a unique, brandable domain name from your initial domain ideas and keywords. (We'll highlight some of our favorite domain name generators later on in this post.) - ROBERT MENING - WebsiteSetup


Choose a Domain Name You Can Actually Legally Own

Infringing on a trademark can mean a really bad day. And, while I realize hardly anyone registers a domain name with the intent to infringe on anything, those things do happen every once in a while. Therefore, as a rule of thumb, whenever you have a nice domain name idea and you're just about to register it, simply google the name and look through all of the first and second-page results. What you're looking for are businesses that already use this name and (seemingly) operate in a similar market or niche. If you find anything, you likely need to pick another domain name. - Karol K - Winning WP


.Com? .Org? .Info?

Every web address ends with a period followed by a domain extension. Those 3 to 4 letters are known as 'top-level domains' (TLDs). Wix lets you choose from 33 TLDs. Each one has its benefits, so find the one that best suits your business. - Wix


Be brandable

Your domain name is the face of your company-in the form of a URL. Therefore, you should make sure it actually sounds like a brand. So, how do you do that? With simplicity, novelty, and memorability. Avoid inserting hyphens, numbers, or anything else that makes it sound unnatural and complicated. A great example is Pepsi.com. That domain name is leagues beyond inferior options like 'Pepsi-cola.com' or 'Pepsi-2-drink.com'. - Denis Pinsky - Forbes


Consider using your name

I highly recommend registering your name as a domain even if you have no plans to do anything with it. Why? Because you never know if you just might become a household name in the future. And then you'll be glad you have it. (I use Namecheap to register all my domains. You can do it quickly, no website required.) If you plan on using your blog to sell a service you provide or if you hope to speak or become a published writer, your name might be perfect. If you have a really difficult name to say or spell, consider using your first and middle, or a nickname, or make up a new name altogether (yes, people really do that). - Amy Lynn Andrews


Check the Domain History via Wayback Machine

Note: This one is worth checking even if you're getting (what you think is) a new domain name. In some cases, the domain name you're trying to register may have been registered in the past but then abandoned by the owner. It's still good to have a look at what was on it. There are a couple of ways in which you can look up a domain name's history. One of the more popular ones, and one that's also within anyone's reach (read: Not too technical), involves Wayback Machine. This is one of the first tools of its kind. Quite simply, it lets you enter a time machine, so to speak, and have a look at how any website used to look in the past. When I say 'any website', it's not actually any website. But you can expect to find most websites that had any noticeable traffic at any point in time. In our case, doing a check via Wayback Machine allows us to see whether the domain we're interested in has ever been used for anything significant, and, if so, whether it was all 'kosher' or not. For example, if you look up this site, you'll get records dating back to 2013: It's safe to assume that this site didn't exist before then (which is true). When you click on any of the records, you get a snapshot of the site back then. Quite handy, isn't it? If you're buying an existing domain name, it would be a good idea to go to Wayback Machine and browse through every month of the domain's history, just to make sure there wasn't anything shady going on at any point. - Karol K - Winning WP


Don't overthink it

I hear from a lot of people who get stuck at this point because they're afraid of making the wrong choice. The most common problem is that they can't find an available .com. If this is you, just make your best guess and move on. A not-quite-perfect domain name is better than no domain name at all. Just do your best and own it! - Amy Lynn Andrews


Start with keywords

Before logging into to your favorite domain registrar, take some time to brainstorm a few ideas. It can be helpful to have three to five keywords in mind when doing this exercise. These words and phrases should clearly define what you do (or want to do). Mix and mash them together and see what looks right and makes sense. Don't force the process - just let it flow. For example, let's say you are starting a local bakery. Some terms you want to include would be your city, fresh bread, baked goods, bakery and so on. Here's a pro tip: Use prefixes and suffixes to help you create a good domain that grabs attention. For this example, you may end up with a domain like superfreshbread.com. - Ryan Shelley - Search Engine Land


Protect and build your brand

To protect your brand, you should purchase various domain extensions, as well as misspelled versions of your domain name. This prevents competitors from registering other versions and ensures your customers are directed to your website, even if they mistype it. - Andrea Rowland - GoDaddy


Always Go for the .com

Let me say this again: Wherever possible, always go for a .com domain. Exhibit A: This site. Technically speaking, the .com is just one of many domain name extensions (TLDs) that are available (more on TLDs and other components of a domain name here). Some of the other popular options include, .net, .org, .co, .edu, .biz, or even things such as .shop, or .blog. And while all those fancy TLDs are tempting, getting the classic .com is nearly always the right thing to do. Two reasons: People are more familiar with .com domains than with anything else; they will default to typing '.com' into the browser address bar, and are unlikely to remember your extension if it's too weird. Everyone will always assume a website is a .com. The .com TLD is used by ~47% of all websites, data says. Can they all be wrong? What all of this means is that if your perfect .com is taken, then perhaps you should either forget about that name entirely or try contacting the current owner to see if they're willing to sell the domain to you. Warning! This could be expensive. - Karol K - Winning WP


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