Getting Started: Do You Need a Good Domain Name?
If you are just getting your feet wet into the world of website entrepreneurship, you will probably realize that the first thing you must do is select a good domain name for your new website.
What’s in a domain name anyways?
The answer to that question squarely lies within your future intentions.
- Do you plan on building and flipping your website in the future?
- Do you plan on building, developing and keeping your website for a period of time?
- Are you selling a product or creating a niche blog?
Many of these questions must be answered before you can begin to constitute what a good domain name for your endeavor might be.
Keep it Short and Simple
Research shows that shorter domain names fetch a higher premium at the time of sale.
Given the rise of mobile computing, having a shorter domain name will help you reach more mobile users when you launch your website.
Imagine asking a mobile user to type out the hypothetical URL http://www.thisismynewwebsiteandyoushouldvisitit.com/ into their mobile web browser.
It’s not rocket science to assume that you’d completely turn off most prospective visitors before they even have a chance to view your website by asking them to visit such a long, complex domain name.
Keeping your domain short will directly impact your profit margins positively at the time of sale. Find a word or a combination of words that is memorable and easy to phonetically pronounce. If you are targeting a set of keywords in your new website, ensure that your website’s domain name resembles or includes one of the keywords you intend on targeting.
If your prospective domain name is available, first say the domain name out loud to hear what the domain name sounds like verbally. Better yet, ask a friend on their initial reaction to the domain name you propose. If it rolls off the tongue of your friend when they pronounce it out loud, you might have the right domain name for your new website.
Craigslist.org – An Exception or an Example?
Back in 1995, Craig Newmark began a classifieds email list that included much of his San Francisco/Bay Area friends. By 1996, Newmark had registered the domain name Craigslist.org. According to Alexa, Craigslist.org is currently the 12th most visited website in the United States and 56th most visited website in the world.
Let’s take a closer look at the Craigslist.org domain name. Craigslist.org isn’t particularly unique given the fact it’s a common first name followed by the word list. However, upon closer inspection, the Craigslist.org domain conforms with what many experts believe is a recipe for domain name success. Here’s why:
- The domain name itself is only 10 characters not including the .org extension.
- Say “Craig’s list” out loud; notice how easy it rolls off your tongue.
- Craigslist is just two words; Do you think Craigslist would be as successful if it were named “craigsclassifiedsandadvertisementlist.org?”
How to Find a Good Domain Name
Several tools exist for you to select the perfect domain name.
One of the best domain name generators available is a free tool found at Impossibility.org.
This advanced domain name generator will help you match up words that are either 4, 5 or 6 characters long in efforts to present to you all of the available domain names based upon the combinations of words you select.
Impossibility.org finds words in the English dictionary and adds them onto a stem word that you provide. The tool gives you choice of adding adjectives, verbs and nouns. Impossibility.org only fetches domain names that are available for you to register instantly as opposed to some domain name generators that give you suggestions that may or may not be currently registered.
Word of Caution: What NOT to do when selecting a Good Domain Name
Be careful about inserting product names or other company’s names into your domain name as it could violate cyber squatting laws and open your enterprise up to legal liability.
An example of this would be in the twoplustwo.com case, where website owner and operator Mason Malmuth successfully sued professional poker player Dutch Boyd for cyber squatting. Twoplustwo.com is the premier website and message board for poker players all around the world.
Dutch Boyd, in efforts of trying to capitalize on Mr. Malmuth’s domain name, created the domain name twoplustwoPOKER.com.
This obviously didn’t go over well with Malmuth. In 2014, an appellant court upheld the $60,000+ judgment (plus court and attorney fees) against Boyd on the grounds that Boyd violated the U.S. Anti Cyber Squatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) of 1999.
Tip: Check your local laws and regulations regarding cybers quatting as you wouldn’t want to inadvertently infringe on another domain name and open yourself up to legal liability.