If you were to speak to 10 different people about brainstorming domain names and the “correct” format, you would likely get an array of different ideas and comments. In reality there is no right and wrong when it comes to new domain names. However, there are some strategies which certainly work better than others. It is also worth noting that your domain name is your first point of contact with a potential customer. So, it needs to be both informative and memorable. This is where the fun begins!
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How to brainstorm a domain name
There are many ways in which you can brainstorm a domain name. Once you have decided on your name we recommend that you focus on it. True, there may be options further down the line. You can even choose to redirect to a more “appropriate” domain name. But if you select a well thought through domain from the beginning, it gives you more focus going forward. To begin, checkout several domain name lookup services and domain registration information from your preferred hosting company.
Choosing a new domain name
Further down this article we will look at domain name extensions and what they offer in terms of business reputation and visitor confidence. However, we will now take a look at the best ways to brainstorm a domain name for your business.
Keep it simple
The Internet is littered with entrepreneurs who decided to go down the alternative route to “keeping it simple”. There is a reason why the KISS philosophy works (keep it simple stupid). Typically, a domain name does exactly what it says. Using a brand name to launch a new business may grab you a few headlines. It could make you stand out from the crowd. But ask yourself if the name is memorable? Will visitors and customers remember your website’s name in the future? Will they be able to type it without thinking?
Using a fanciful play on a traditional word does not always work. Try to build yourself a brand name with a reputation. However, do this with a domain name which is memorable, and easy to type, for the best results.
Avoid similar brand names
There are two reasons why you should avoid similar sounding brand names:
- You could well be sued by the alternative brand name. That is, if there is evidence to suggest that you are encroaching on another brand’s reputation and effectively piggybacking on their success.
- Your website should be able to stand on its own 2 feet and build its own reputation. If there is room for confusion, you may lose customers to a similar sounding domain operating in the same sector.
The legal repercussions of trying to piggyback the success of a well-known brand name could be huge. The Internet and the entrepreneurial world are littered with “great ideas” which fell at the first hurdle.
Short and sweet
We know that Internet users tend to have a relatively short attention span. They need action and results immediately. For example, if a website fails to load within a few seconds, the majority will move onto a new site. In a similar vein, short and sweet domain names tend to be more user-friendly and type-in friendly. So, aim for something short and spicy when it comes to domain name creation.
Have a look at some of the more successful websites today. Some of the top names like Amazon.com, Google.com, Apple.com, and Microsoft.com all have relatively short and snappy names.
A potential visitor needs to use relatively little mind power to remember and access your domain name. Do this and you’ll be well on the way to creating a winning domain name.
Popular domain name extensions
There have been some significant changes in recent years in the domain name business. In fact, those following the industry are well aware of it. This includes the release of a huge collection of different extensions such as accountant, finance and other industry/business descriptive extensions.
We will now take a look at the pros and cons of these new extensions compared to the more traditional ones like .com.
Com, co.uk, etc.
Many people believe that the .com extension is still the most popular and most business relevant extension in the eyes of visitors. The same can be said of country specific extensions such as .co.uk which do give an air of authority and obviously inform the visitor where the site/business is located.
It is also common knowledge that while search engines such as Google never comment directly about which domain name extensions they prefer, there is a general consensus that .com and the likes of .co.uk are looked upon favorably. Whether or not they are, there is no doubt they do give an air of authority to businesses.
Accountant, finance, etc.
The beauty of these new domain name extensions, covering a whole host of different businesses and activities, is the fact they say instantly what you do. In many ways, it is easier to use a brand name for the domain name itself as the extension will tell the visitors in which sector the business operates.
There is some debate about the way in which search engines look at these particular extensions as there is the potential for spammy domain names.
Info, Biz, etc.
Before you begin brainstorming actual domain names, it is worth mentioning extensions such as info, biz and others of a similar nature.
Many people have used these types of domain names as an alternative to the .com and .co.uk headline domain extensions.
Registering hosting for a new domain name
Once you have chosen your domain name, paid for it and completed your domain name registration information it is then time to link the domain with a hosting account. This is a relatively simple process by which the domain name is pointed towards the servers on your hosting account.
Normally you will receive two or three different server addresses from your hosting company to add to the domain name details. This ensures continuity if one server was to fail or experience intermittent issues – uptime is something very important to online businesses.
There are a number of different types of hosting account including shared hosting, VPS, dedicated servers as well as cloud-based services.
As hosting companies look to give a more rounded service many now offer an array of tools to help you build a website. Often there will also be an array of information covering the site planning stage.
Many people tend to start with shared hosting for a relatively new online business while they find their feet. Then when they have a better idea of the future direction, they can upgrade to a VPS or dedicated server account.
For more information on how to get started on one of these plans read our getting started guide.
Choosing the right hosting account is vital
The first experience of your online business for new customers will be accessing your website and the speed at which it loads. It is therefore vital that you choose the correct hosting account for your particular type of website and traffic numbers.
We know from a whole host of different research notes published about the Internet that online surfers today are extremely impatient. If the website they are trying to access does not load straightaway then many will simply move onto the next one. Unfortunately, the world of e-commerce is extremely cutthroat and an industry where first impressions can last forever.
Side note regarding existing domain names
As we approach the end of this article it is worth noting that many people may look to acquire existing domain names or domain names which have dropped. There can be many benefits to this particular strategy. Assuming that the domain name in question still has relevant links and a clean history. If the domain has quality backlinks which are still intact then this will give your website a degree of strength from the outset and hopefully assist with search engine rankings. However, there may be a downside!
If you buy an existing domain name “blind” without checking backlinks and reputation you may find that the domain name has damaging backlinks. These links could very easily impact search engine rankings and in a worst-case scenario the domain name could be blacklisted from the likes of Google – which effectively kills your business at the outset.
So, if you go down the route of acquiring an existing domain name (a perfectly legitimate strategy) ensure you do your research before sealing the deal.
There are many simple tricks and issues to consider when brainstorming a domain name for your new business. It is imperative that you resist the temptation to acquire a “clever name” for your domain name. These can sometimes cause confusion. Keep it simple. Let the domain name tell people what you do. Then, ultimately let your website do the talking for you.
The issue of different hosting accounts should also be considered at a relatively early stage. This ensures that you have the right hosting package for your business. It is important that the hosting server is optimized to maximize efficiency, speed as well as security.
In the world of e-commerce you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression!