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What Are the Best Tips for Choosing Domain Names?

By Mallory Hall
Updated May 16, 2024
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Choosing domain names can make or break any business. Customers must be able to find the company’s online presence quickly and easily, or the business risks losing potential buyers to competitors. The best domain name is one that is simple, short and easy to remember. Anyone who is interested in purchasing a domain name should try to buy one that ends in a “.com” extension, avoid hyphenated Uniform Resource Locators (URLs), and use numbers with caution.

Simple domain names should not advocate fancy, unique spellings because visitors might not remember them and could actually end up at a competitor’s website instead. After a simple name is purchased, the common misspelled domains should be snagged as well to beat out similar companies. To come up with a list of potential competitor domains, the buyer should consider verbally expressing his company to family and friends, asking them to type it into their browser to see what results they get, and then buy the misspelled domain names.

When it comes to choosing domain names, shorter is better. Long, drawn out names can be difficult to remember and are more likely to be misspelled. Professional domain names such as companies, brands or personal names are what individuals typically try first when they are searching for the website of a business, and if the company promotes specific products, the buyer should consider buying URLS in the product names as well.

“Dot com” extensions are by far the most popular because people will usually type this extension by default. Other extensions such as “.info,” “.org” and “.net” are searched for frequently, but not nearly as often as “.com” sites. For the same reason, someone who is choosing domain names should buy these other extensions to avoid competitors snatching them up instead. If the company reaches customers worldwide, additional country-specific extensions are available, such as “.uk” for the United Kingdom or “.au” for Australia.

Originally, people who were choosing domain names thought that hyphenated URLs allowed them to incorporate longer keywords and thus drive more traffic to their sites. This might have been true at the time, but hyphenated URLs have become a fad of the past, because some people became confused and misspelled the long names. Some search engines might favor hyphenated URLs or might favor URLs that don't include hyphens.

Numerals within a domain name, especially those used as shorthand for a word and not a number, can be confusing. Many people will not know whether a business' URL uses, for example, "4," "four," "for" or "fore" — or whether it uses "2," "to," "two" or "too." Numbers do not necessarily need to be excluded from the domain name entirely, but they must be used with caution because they can cause confusion. Alternate domain names that include numerals or certain misspellings can be purchased to avoid confrontation with competitors or someone who is looking to take advantage of users' mistakes when typing in a URL.

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