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WEB HOSTING HOW-TOS

Choosing a Domain Name: Some Dos and Don’ts
By: Terri Wells
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    2005-08-17

    Table of Contents:
  • Choosing a Domain Name: Some Dos and Don’ts
  • Before you even choose your name
  • The most important “do”: keep it simple
  • Domain name details

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    Choosing a Domain Name: Some Dos and Don’ts - The most important “do”: keep it simple


    (Page 3 of 4 )

    Keep the KISS principle in mind when creating your domain name. You want potential visitors to your website to remember your name, so they will be more likely to find it the next time. In general, this means your domain name should be short and simple – no more than 20 characters maximum, and (within certain limits) less is better.
    Use real words for your domain name, but keep it to a maximum of two to three words. Make sure those words are easy to spell! Imagine that your visitors have a seventh-grade education, and aim for that. Even if your website’s demographic is college graduates or rocket scientists, nobody likes to think hard in order to remember how to spell a website’s URL. Your visitors will find it annoying, and the one of the last things you want to do is annoy your visitors.

    Those real words you use in your domain name, incidentally, should be keywords that have something to do with your business. Don’t use your company name unless it has keywords in it, and is memorable and easy to spell. If you’re building your company at the same time as you’re building your website, you can try coming up with the domain name first, then naming the company after the domain.

    Should you use hyphens? Here the jury is out. Some say that a domain name with hyphens is easier to remember; others say that it’s harder to remember. If you are planning to use search engine optimization on your website, it is worth noting that SEOs think using a hyphen between words helps search engines figure out the words in the URL, and so might lead to your website ranking slightly higher in the search results. If you are not planning to go heavy on SEO, skip the hyphens. It’s worth noting that domain names without hyphens tend to appraise for a higher value than domain names with them.

    Likewise, avoid using numbers; visitors don’t tend to remember them, and they can cause problems with typos. The number “0” is frequently mistyped as the letter “O,” for example. Some in the industry say that numbers are worth using because you will then be listed before even the letter “A” in search directories and yellow pages listings (if your business name and your domain name are the same). But you should think hard about how much of your business is likely to come from such a listing before doing this. Using numbers (or even letters) in a “cute” fashion, such as “flowers4U.com,” also is not a good idea; potential visitors will find it confusing, and are just as likely to type “flowersforyou.com.”

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