Choosing A Domain Name

What You Should Think About When Choosing A Domain Name

How do you choose a good domain name? The first two things you should ask yourself are:

  • Do you want the domain name to reflect a brand, for example Nike, Ford etc?
  • Do you want the domain name to describe what your website is about, for example cheapcarseats.com?

There's no right answer, it's all personal choice. However, the chances are that your first choice of domain name will already be taken! Be prepared to go through a whole list of domain names you've made up before you find one that's available. The domain registrar you choose will allow you to check whether the domain name has already been taken.

If your preferred name has already gone, there are a few ways that you can vary the name a little until you find one that is available. Here are a few tricks:

  • Insert hyphens. If cheapcarseats.com is already taken, maybe cheap-car-seats.com is available.
  • Use a different TLD (this is the .com bit). If cheap-car-seats.com is already gone, try cheap-car-seats.net and cheap-car-seats.org. There are many TLDs you can try - read more about TLDs.
  • Add extra text. You could try bestcheapcarseats.com or cheapcarseatstogo.com
  • Substitute synonyms or related words. Maybe cheapcaraccessories.com is available.

When choosing a domain name, you might like to bear in mind the following thoughts. The use of hyphens is good for breaking words up to avoid confusion (famous example: expertsexchange.com) however it brings its own problems if you have to tell someone what your website is called over the phone. Where did you say that hyphen went?!

It's a good idea to keep domain names short to make them memorable. People are going to have a hard time remembering easysubtractionwithoutdecompositionworksheets.com!

Always be wary of violating trademarks with your domain name. Including the word "microsoft" is not a good idea, as that trademark belongs to. Microsoft and they may start legal procedings to take the domain off you. Of course, Microsoft will probably not be concerned by the average "personal" website with "microsoft" in the domain name. If you are running an online store and making large amounts of money, things might be a little different!

Once you've decided on a domain name that's available, you can go ahead and register it. What many people do is register several other TLD versions of their domain name to protect their brand. For example, if you wanted to register math-worksheets.com and you wanted to build a brand, you might register math-worksheets.com, math-worksheets.net, math-worksheets.org and math-worksheets.co.uk. For most people, this is an unnecessary step (and expense). It's your call.

When you're registered your domain name, you will need to arrange somewhere for your website to live - the web hosting.

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