Tips for choosing domain name from experts

Protect and build your brand

"To protect your brand, you should purchase various domain extensions, as well as misspelled versions of your domain name. This prevents competitors from registering other versions and ensures your customers are directed to your website, even if they mistype it." - Andrea Rowland - GoDaddy


Choose a unique name

"If you are marketing yourself, ideally you'll be able to use your first and last names (johnsmith.com or janesmith.com). Even if you aren't marketing yourself, it's not a bad idea to register your name as a domain now, in case you want to use it in the future. If you are marketing your business, you should see if your business name (yourbusiness.com) is available. Using a search engine like Google, search for your proposed blog or website name. Does your search show any sites with similar domain names? If it does, try a different name. Giving your website a name that's similar to other existing sites is the first step to failure. Also, don't choose names that are plural or misspelled versions of existing sites." - Ogi Djuraskovic - FirstSiteGuide team


Use broad keywords

"Keywords in a domain name can help with the cognitive fluency biases, but also from an SEO perspective. Google has been biasing away from these exact match and partial match domains, but the anchor text you get from people linking to your domain can help. If you can get a keyword mention in your domain name that helps make it obvious what you're website is about, go for it. But if you're trying to secure a keyword rich or a keyword targeted domain, I would stay away from those in 2017. They don't carry the weight that they used to, and have negative associations (with users and search engines) that you should avoid. For example, I would not purchase a domain name like; RecipesForPasta.com or BuyPastaOnline.com. I would instead, go for something very broad like Gusto.com. Think about Amazon.com or Google.com, which clearly has no association with what it is. These are very well-branded, but don't have keyword richness to them. It's more of a creative association, just like "gusto" means "taste" in Italian. So I might be tempted to go in that direction instead." - Rand Fishkin - Moz


Buy the Common Misspellings of Your Domain

"This, however, can grow your annual domain bill even further, so it's your call. In general, you're going to be pretty safe if you just focus on a couple of the most likely misspellings of the domain. Looking at my earlier example, Lotterio.com could be misspelled as Loterio.com - single 'T'. Once you have those, redirect them back to your main domain name." - Karol K - Winning WP


Marry your domain name

"It sounds odd, but you have to be absolutely sure you love your domain name. Once it's set, you have it for years to come. If you decide later to rename it, then you will lose time, money, branding, and rankings. We do not recommend changing your domain once your blog has been live for any considerable amount of time." - Ogi Djuraskovic - FirstSiteGuide team


Don't Sweat It Too Much If Your Perfect Domain Name Is Taken

"If the domain name you really desire is already taken, this is not the end of the world. Sometimes, you can actually still get your hands on it. Here's what you can do: If the domain name is not in use (there's no website or the domain is 'parked' - features only ads), then there's a very good chance the owner only bought it to sell it later on. You'll likely find some contact information on that parked website. If there's no info, use who.is and get the owner's email. If there's a website on the domain, you can still try your luck and contact the owner asking if they're willing to sell the domain off. Low chance of success here, but still worth a try. If the domain is completely empty and there's no contact info to be found, try looking through known domain-flipping marketplaces, such as GoDaddy's marketplace (auction based), Sedo, SnapNames, or Flippa. Buying an existing domain name is a different process from buying a new one, so it requires some additional caution. We talk about that in No. 13. One more note, domains you buy from someone's hands cost MONEY (emphasis mine). Sometimes good money! A safe estimate here would be a minimum of $250, but more like $1,000 or more. If you can't afford that, don't worry too much either" - Karol K - Winning WP


Make it brandable

"Brandable, meaning that when you hear or see the domain name, it sounds like a brand. Which means that hyphens and numbers are a real problem because they don't sound like a brand. They sound generic, or strange. For example, if we wanted to create a pasta website that has pasta recipes and sells some pasta related e-commerce products on it; Pasta-shop.com would be hard to brand, say, or remember. PastaAficionado.com sounds brandable, is unique, but quite challenging to say. PastaLabs.com would be amazing because it has a scientific connotation to it, is very brandable, unique, memorable, and stands out." - Rand Fishkin - Moz


Make it short

"Length matters because of the processing fluency that we talk about above. The fewer characters a domain name has, the easier it is to type, say, share, and the less it gets shortened on social media sharing platforms and search results. Shorter is better." - Rand Fishkin - Moz


Avoid strings of words

"If you have a wide range of interests and you also want to incorporate keywords in your domain, you might be tempted to string them all together. I recommend against this simply because it's confusing. LuresRodsLinesPoles.com is a recipe for major confusion when a visitor is trying to remember the correct order." - Amy Lynn Andrews


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