How to Pick Domain Names
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In this first article in a two-part series, we will look at how to pick a domain name for your website, instead of buying it (itís a follow up to my earlier article on why domain name selling should not work). Your domain name is the beginning of your branding strategy and the clincher in your hosting package. You need to make sure that it is unique and memorable.
Note that there are exceptions to every rule, so sometimes it is a good thing to buy a domain name. Still, to keep your costs down and to avoid getting sucked into the cycle of picking unimaginative domain names, you have to understand the process of picking top notch and unique domain names for yourself. We will look at various ways of picking domain names. These include key word research and constructional linguistics, picking names that have personal significance, brainstorming to come up with off the wall and unique names, and even simply stringing together a couple of keywords to get a domain name.
At the risk of sounding biased, I will list the teams I was involved in and the ideas we came up with while we were coming up with specific names. I will also list how other organizations like Name lab come up with names. Then we will look at how some names were picked up by major sites on the web. After that we will look at the absolute worst way to name your site (just putting your LLC name on the web).
We will also explore some basic laws of branding. In case you haven't figured it out yet, the name is the brand, and the brand is the name. Doubt me? Who is Dell? You get the point. But first before all that we will look at some absolutely essential things to consider before doing your constructional linguistics, or your brainstorming. These first few tips are absolutely essential and must be considered as any name is being picked.
Your domain name is your brand. You can permanently disable your branding efforts if you pick the wrong name; however at one time or the other, we all make SEO trade offs in the belief that the SEO gains are more important than the branding losses. Let's do a quick comparison test; http://www.gizmodo.com/ and http://www.computer-stuff.com/ both offer information on hardware and new technology. Type "computer stuff" into Google; there are no prizes for guessing that http://www.computer-stuff.com/ is number one on Google's SERPs. However gizmodo is clearly the stronger brand, despite the off the wall domain name with zero key words in it (gizmo doesn't count).
Before going into details of the mechanics of picking domain names let's look at some basic branding laws which we should consider. The laws are excerpts from Al and Laura Ries write up called "The Eleven Immutable Laws of Internet Branding," which is found in their excellent book "The 22 Immutable Laws of branding" at www.ries.com.
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