In our modern times, where we use the Internet daily, 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.
A 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 fascinating webpage that you couldn’t find later on?
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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 has 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.
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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!
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What domain name 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 a competitive advantage.
Over 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 keywords are too general and, in effect, they tough to remember, e.g., Domains carrental.com, cheapcarrental.com, rentalcar.com. I get the impression that they are the same. And you? You don’t want to be lost in the crowd of similar, competing domains.
Using keywords 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 hurt your website. Intended purchase of exact match domains EMDs may be treated as an attempt at manipulating the algorithm. And this, in turn, 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 to be easily remembered.
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The shorter it is, the better. It is also good if a user can type it in the search browser from memory. Look at 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 memorize for people from all around the world. Notice that they do not have keywords in their names, and still, everyone knows them.
However, is the short name always easier to remember? We should be very cautious here.
Making the domain name too short may influence it negatively. 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. 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 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 for 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 trademark. It may cause some severe 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
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Another quite necessary aspect of choosing a domain name is 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 you 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 a 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 the 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 organizations;
– 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 recognizable one is .com
How do we, as statistical people and, therefore, statistical Internet users behave?
First, we memorize a domain name, not its extension. Our brains often skip overextensions, and they do a very similar thing with numbers and hyphens.
When we are typing a web address in the search browser, we tend to automatically add .com extension (and possibly a national extension, which is close to us).
Choosing an extension seems like an easy task, but is it that way?
The number of a domain name with .com extensions is steadily decreasing; thus, the choice is getting limited, and prices seem to be irrationally high.
You must ask yourself a question, whether it is better to produce an original name with a different extension or to choose any domain name, but with .com extension.
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Maybe in a few years, it will be normal that all travel agencies use .travel extension, and pizza shops use .pizza extension. It will enable users to type an extension suitable for a given company intuitively. Who knows?
Or maybe you will be better remembered if you use a domain that is entirely different than other ones, 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 any doubts, 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 based on 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 should you use a Domain Name Generator?
- you don’t have any ideas,
- you are in despair because every name that you want to choose is already taken,
- or you want to start a new blog and are looking for purposes 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 the ‘free domain name generator’ in your browser.
9. Register your new domain name
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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 is available here: how to start a blog.
Read the article ‘what is a blog‘ to learn more.
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Choosing the right domain name is not an easy task. It is one of the most challenging moments when you are creating a blog. Looking for this one, and 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 recognized 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 memorize names. Think globally while creating your domain name, unless you want to focus on the local market, in which case you should think locally. Remember that 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 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 name and surname – this is also an excellent strategy to build a unique brand.
As you can see, there are a lot of options, and you have to decide on your own which road you want to take.
Do You Want to Start Your Blog?
Check out my free step-by-step guide How to Start a Blog.