In our modern times, where we use the Internet on the daily basis and the number of web pages is overwhelming, finding a free domain is a matter of having free time and a little bit of creativity.
Domain name is crucial. It serves a similar purpose to that of a brand or logo. The more people will remember it, the more is going to visit your page. How many times have you found a very interesting webpage that you couldn’t find later on?
A domain must be associated with your page and distinguish you from your competition – it should be short, simple and leave a good, lasting impression. It is all about helping a user, who have accidentally found your article, to remember your webpage address and come back to you. If it goes this way, then you have a great domain.
Let’s not pretend that choosing a suitable domain name is an easy task. It requires giving it some thought, but do not get discouraged – others could do it, so can you! Don’t give up and get to work!
What domain should you choose?
There are some rules that you should know before buying a domain.
1. Avoid general names
When the Internet took its first steps and the users did not know how they should operate it, the common, plain, simple and one word names (such as Insurance, shoes and fly) provided the competitive advantage.
In the course of time more Internet companies appeared, causing the common names to lose their worth. A lot of new and similar domains were created: eshoes.com, buyshoes.com, myshoes.com, etc. How do you want to stand out here? How do you want to build your brand? Among the common names you will be one of many others- unfortunately.
The names containing only key words are too general and, in effect, they are very hard to remember, e.g. Domains carrental.com, cheapcarrental.com, rentalcar.com. I get the impression that they are basically the same. And you? You don’t want to be lost in the crowd of similar, competing domains, right?
Using key words in your domain name (exact match domains EMDs) is quite popular mainly because they may help in SEO leaderboard. However, Google officially states that exact match domains EMDs have little influence over positioning.
You should remember that they can also have a negative impact on your website. Intended purchase of exact match domains EMDs may be treated as an attempt at manipulating algorithm, which will lead to your website’s position decreasing in search results or it disappearing altogether.
So let’s not get crazy.
SEO is one thing. Building a unique brand and being distinctive is something else entirely. In the long run, the brand is more valuable.
The name of the domain becomes an identifiable brand of a company, so choose carefully.
2. The name should be short and catchy in order to be easily remembered.
The shorter it is, the better. It is also good if a user is able to type it in the search browser from memory. Look at the famous services like Google, Facebook, Twitter or renowned brands like Nike, Puma and Vans – they have short, strong and easy names, which are not hard to memorise for people from all around the world. Notice that they do not have key words in their names and still everyone knows them.
However, is the short name always easier to remember? We should be very careful here.
Making the domain name too short may influence it in a negative way. It’s better to remember a longer phrase, such as buymycar.com, than a set of unrelated letters like bmc.com.
Don’t be afraid to use a longer name if it fits better and makes more sense.
3. Easy to say, easy to spell and, above all, easy to write.
A user should be able to type the domain name without a problem. If you have to explain the spelling of your domain name, it means that it’s too complicated and there is a risk that a user will make a mistake while typing it and never finds your webpage. And surely you don’t want that.
4. Avoid hyphens and numbers
All additions interrupt the fluency of the name. They make a user think about where they should put them and, therefore, the danger of making a mistake largely increases.
A statistical Internet user will have an easier time remembering a domain without any hyphens, e.g yourname.com is a better choice than your-name.com. The same goes with numbers.
Users will type your name without hyphens or numbers and it is more than likely that they will stumble upon your competitors website. And? A point goes to your competition!
Adding numbers and hyphens to your webpage address is not a good thing. A domain’s name should be easy to say and spell, which is hindered by hyphens and numbers.
5. Avoid trademark infringement
Before you move further, check if the domain’s name that you have chosen is not a registered trade mark. It may cause some serious problems with the law, which will cost you a lot of money. Why bring troubles on yourself?
That is why, before you end your search and happily sigh with relief, make sure that the name you have chosen is not a trademark of another company.
6. Check social media
Another quite important aspect of choosing a domain name are social media. Pay attention to the fact that social media play a pivotal role in the modern world whether you like them or not, and that’s why you should have configurated profiles on the most popular social media sites.
Here you should also check whether your name is not used by someone else and if it is, then consider changing it.
It will be very difficult to build a positive brand with the name under which another company already operates. This is nothing less than asking for trouble.
You may also try and modify your name by adding suffixes and prefixes to it, but think carefully before you do this, because it will not be the right solution in every case. A uniform name will always be easier to remember, more recognizable and will contribute to building a brand.
On the Internet you can find the tools necessary to easily check your domain’s name in the popular social networks as well as in USPTO Trademark Database. One of them is https://knowem.com/.
7. Choosing domain’s name extension
What kind of extensions can we have?
There are general extensions (generic top-level domains gTLD):
national extensions (Country code top-level domains – ccTLD), regional extensions, and even local extensions. Every country has its own domain name extensions.
The choice of domain name extension largely depends on the target market of your website and its content. If you are interested only in local market, you may use a popular national extension functioning in a given country (.us – USA, de.- Germany, .at- Austria, .ca- Canada, .ch – Switzerland, .uk- United Kingdom etc.), which are appreciated in the local markets, but are not necessarily known worldwide.
You also have other extensions at your disposal:
– .org – this extension is usually chosen by non-profit organisations;
– a very well known to everyone extension .com;
– .info extension which suggests the informative content of a particular website;
– .gov extension which is reserved only for the American Government Organisations.
Hundreds of new generic top-level domains ‘new gTLD are appearing , which were made available in 2014, such as .pizza, .taxi, .club, .photo, .camera itd., which are more effective in defining the business of a given company. You can read more about top-level domains TLDs here.
Among available extensions (and as we could see there are a lot of them), the most popular and recognisable one is .com
How do we, as statistical people and, therefore, statistical Internet users behave?
First, we memorise a domain name, not its extension. Our brains often skip over extensions and they do a very similar thing with numbers and hyphens.
When we are typing web address in the search browser, we tend to automatically add .com extension (and possibly a national extention, which is close to us).
Choosing an extension seems like an easy task, but is it really that way?
The number of domain name with .com extensions is steadly decreasing, thus the choice is getting limited and prices seem to be irrationally high.
You must ask yourself a question, whether its better to produce a creative name with different extension or to choose any domain name, but with .com extension.
Maybe in few years it will be normal that all travel agencies use .travel extension, photography studios use .photo extension and pizza shops use .pizza extension, which will enable users to type an extension suitable for a given company intuitively. Who knows?
Maybe you will be better remembered if you use a domain that is entirely different than other domains, such as ma.tt?
As of now, the truth is that .com extension is the most popular, the most frequently chosen and the most intuitive extension in the world for a potential Internet user. If you have doubts, just stay with .com.
Top 10 largest TLDs in the second quarter of 2018 (source: Verisign)
8. Use Domain Name Generator
If you have a very difficult time coming up with a unique and clever name or the names that came to your mind are not available and you don’t have any other ideas, do not get discouraged! Use Domain Name Generator.
The Generator will help you gather the best ideas and it will add some new ones.
It’s a great tool, which generates many new domain names on the basis of your indications, and thus stimulate the mind to think and create. You are not obliged to use the names that will be generated. You will see that new ideas will come to your head.
When you should use Domain Name Generator?
- You don’t have any ideas,
- You are in despair, because every name that you want to choose is already taken,
- You want to start a new blog and are looking for ideas to name it.
On the Internet you will find a lot of domain name generators. Use some of them but don’t get attached to just one. It will be enough if you enter ‘free domain name generator’ in your browser.
9. Register your new domain name
When you find a perfect domain name make sure you register it, so that no one has the opportunity to do it before you.
There are two ways to do it:
- If you don’t plan to create a webpage, you may register just your domain name – this way you will be sure that no one will take it before you (at least during the time for which you registered your domain name).
However, if you want to start your webpage immediately and start blogging, you may do it by buying your domain together with hosting. All necessary information are available here: How to start a blog.
Read the article ‘What is blogging‘ to learn more.
Choosing the right domain name is not an easy task. It is one of the most difficult moments when you are creating a blog. Looking for this one, unique name may take a lot of time, so prepare yourself and don’t get discouraged.
Everyone wants to make the best choice, and to be recognised and successful, that much is clear. To be honest, you never know whether your domain name will conquer the hearts of the users, but don’t worry about it.
Stick to the simple rules, look for unique but easy to memorise names. Think globally while creating your domain name, unless you want to focus on the local market, in which case you should think locally. Both of these markets are ruled by their distinctive rules.
While building/creating your new blog/ new webpage, pay attention to the fact that a domain name may help you in being remembered by users, but it won’t do anything for you.
The most important are the content, the product and the service that you want to share with other people. These things, together with a domain name, create an unforgettable, renowned and unique brand repeatedly chosen by the users.
If you start your blog or a personal webpage, consider using your own name and surname. This is also a good strategy to build your unique brand.
As you can see, there are a lot of options and you have to decide on you own which road you want to take.