A domain name may not seem like much. I mean, it’s just a couple of words lumped together at the top of the screen, right?
It’s the first step in enticing people into your website, but not enough people invest the thought needed to create a killer domain name.
I’m going to take you through the top 8 mistakes I’ve identified when choosing a domain name, so buckle up and get reading!
1. An All Too Similar Name
You want to make sure that your domain name is unique enough to stand on its own. Sure, registering gooogle.com is going to bring in a ton of traffic, but are they really going to be impressed when you can’t deliver at Google levels?
You do the math!
Then, of course, there’s the threat of legal action over copyright infringement. And don’t for one second think that Google don’t have some very well paid lawyers on their staff!
Instead, do your research and come up with something original.
2. Making It Difficult to Say and Spell
You’re going to have to dust down your linguistics textbooks to make sure your domain name is easy to say and spell!
Take a look at www.besttrips.com – you’ve got two consonants next to each other ( the “tt” bit) and that makes it difficult to remember due to the ambiguity of the spelling – is it besttrips.com or bestrips.com?!
The same rule applies to vowels e.g. ellieelephant.com is a nightmare to remember correctly or spell.
It’s a load of hard work that your customers don’t need, so nip it in the bud with a domain name which doesn’t induce a migraine!
3. Don’t Stuff It with Keywords
When it comes to delivering great content you can’t go far wrong by using keywords, but does the same apply to your domain name?
Well, let’s take a look at an example. What’s better? besttrainerpricesonline.com or trainerheaven.com?
The first domain certainly contains keywords, but it looks cheap and does no favors for your brand. The second domain name, though, only contains the keyword trainer, but is much more enduring and sounds reputable.
Therefore, leave your SEO concerns to your content and concentrate on the brand impact of a domain name.
4. Length Matters
Just think about some of the most successful sites online: google.com, bing.com, facebook.com and amazon.com. What do they all have in common?
They’re short and easy to remember. Plus, there’s little chance of people misspelling them.
You may be restricted by the length of your brand name, but I recommend going no higher than 10 characters unless absolutely necessary.
5. Be Careful with Numbers
Digits are great in that they can save your domain name a lot of space e.g. 247newyorktaxi.com is a lot easier to remember and type than twentyfoursevennewyorktaxi.com, but it’s not just as simple as that.
247 actually means something – 24/7 if you’re feeling a bit tired today. It conjures up the concept of a taxi service which never sleeps and is great marketing.
However, if you’re using numbers purely to save space then it looks pretty tacky and outdated. At the turn of the century it was hip to build domain names such as taxi4eva.com, but nowadays you have to be a bit more clever.
6. Choosing the Wrong Extension
The content of your site can have a great impact on which extension you should with your domain name.
It’s common knowledge that a .com extension carries the most weight and looks most professional. The best .com domains were snapped up years ago though, so .net and .org offer good alternatives.
What you don’t want to do is match the wrong extension to the wrong site.
If you want to design a site all about you then the .me extension is just perfect. However, if you want to run a site about the Chicago Bulls then chicagobulls.me just seems wrong. You are NOT the Chicago Bulls!
7. Hyphens Are Not Clever!
As I’ve just told you, many of the very best domain names were taken a long time ago. However, humans are determined creatures, so have turned to the humble hyphen to get them out of a spot of bother.
This allows you to split up words in domains e.g. best-holidays.com instead of bestholidays.com.
I guess, yeah, it gives you a nice-ish looking domain name, but you’re running the risk of legal issues again (see number 1) due to the similarity.
That’s not the worse thing though – the humble hyphen is a nightmare to pronounce.
When you tell people that there’s a hyphen (or dash) in your domain name they start to panic.
“What’s a hyphen? The squiggly thing next to the P?! The underscore? Is it the underscore you mean?!”
I’ve experienced that enough times to make me want to leave the online world behind for good!
8. Settling for the Best of a Bad Bunch
By now you’re probably starting to appreciate that choosing a domain name is a tough task.
Many people start to crack under the pressure whilst searching for a domain name and end up panic buying something that vaguely meets their needs.
Frankly, that’s the worst thing you can do as it can have a negative impact on your brand.
Instead, if you’re getting stressed with choosing a name then take a break and come back to it later.