How to pick the right domain name when taking your first steps in web development?

Hi there, folks!

It’s been some time… First, I want to thank you all, that downloaded my new app and even went as far as to use it and share feedback with me. If you still haven’t gotten around to trying it out, now’s a great time – it’s absolutely free and lets you easily share beautiful images with motivation quotes on them on social media. You can read more about it here Lemon Quotes or you can go directly to the App Store -> https://goo.gl/iJMzFJ.

So, I am working on a course lecture right now and I had to assemble some tips for picking a quality domain name when you are yet taking your first steps in web design and development.

I did some lite research and wanted to share some of the information I found with you, as it is valuable and I realised most people don’t follow some of those really simple rules, that guarantee better success.

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But lets talk a bit about how the web works and what is a domain actually. As you know, computers are complicated beings who mainly read code that looks like gibberish to regular humans. That’s why web pages like this one have been created via a language called HTML for decades now. Then your browser interprets the HTML (as well as CSS and Javascript, etc.) and visualizes an image to present on your screen, something readable and understandable by you (considering you have at least average intellectual capacity. But how does you browser know where to search for the information that they are supposed to show you.

That’s where DNS servers sweep in and save the day! DNS stands for Domain Name System and is basically a large database that tells your computer that when you type this weird think ‘brotherlemon.com’ it should actually contact a computer with IP address 195.191.149.35 (the server). So, unless you are willing to list your web address on your business cards as ‘78.94.133.86’, you should consider getting a domain name with your hosting package.

So, when considering your domain name, you should at least consider the following:

1. Try settling upon 3-5 keywords describing your website and do some brainstorming trying to combine those into the perfect domain name. An example can be if you are opening a bakery. Lets say your bakery is named Pop’s International House of Brownies. Then your keywords could be ‘brownies’, ‘bakery’, ‘pop’s’, ‘homemade’. Then your domain name can be something in the line of www.popshomemadebrownies.com, which is actually quite long… maybe www.popsbrownies.com would be better. Play with it for 30 minutes, you should settle on an option for that time.

2. Try to settle on a .com domain. Although other domain name extensions are gaining popularity, .com is still the automatic assumption for the majority of internet users.

3. Think of a unique name, meaning don’t buy a domain that resembles already popular domains. Remember the years of struggle Flickr.com had till they finally managed to buy off FlickEr.com. And keep in mind that if you name your business Fey’s Books and buy feysbooks.com, it’d be quite hard to get people not to end up on facebook.com… and this one probably won’t be for sale, no matter the price.

4. A good domain name is one that is easy to write and easy to remember. This makes your website SEO-friendly and you will also get more mouth-to-mouth advertising. Also, fewer people will struggle remembering your address or end up on other sites.

5. Shorter domains are better for SEO and leave more space for marketing messages on ads. They also look much better when printed for offline marketing and marketing materials.

6. Create a domain name that builds expectations that are actually related to your content. It’s good when the name suggests and prepares the users for what they can find inside. Good examples are hotmail.com, zaplata.bg, mobile.bg, careerbuilder.com, autotrader.com, etc. Obviously, if you will be playing a large marketing scheme and you can afford to spend more on marketing you can get away with a name that has completely nothing to do with the product concept. My favourite example here is amazon.com.

7. Keep the brand you are trying to develop into perspective. A well branded website can generate more traffic than a really generic one. Think about domain names like bg-mamma.com as opposed to forumzazheni.com, or google.com as opposed to brandnewsearchtool.com. Pretty much self-explanatory.

8. The time of hyphens and numbers is over. It was a big hype, but it’s over. You can have the occasional ‘-‘ here and there if it’s really relevant, but ‘_’ and ‘2000’ are in the past. So, just don’t use them.

9. Please, stay away from ‘modern’ trends like including ‘best’ or ‘hot’ in your domain name. We still remember the Web 2.0 hype when everyone was trying to figure out a nice sounding misspelled word and buy the domain, even with no idea what to place on it. The Flickr example is quite applicable here. Back in the 90’s a lot of US companies were renamed with AAA at the beginning, so that they’d be listed on top at phone directories… imagine how many of those are there now.

10. When you are picking a domain for a local business it’s a good idea to try to add the city name, or the region name, depending on the business, it will be helpful with driving more visitors from this area.

11. Be careful with other people’s trademarks… It’s a dumb mistake and mostly impossible, but still, pay attention.

12. After you are set on a domain name, go research it a bit. I recommend domainr.com to see for similar domain names and availability, although most hosting and domain providers offer similar tools.

13. Consider purchasing more than one domain name extension. The most common are:

  • .co/.com – company, commerce, community
  • .info – informational
  • .net – technical, internet infrastructure
  • .org – non-commercial, nonprofit
  • .biz – business, commercial, e-commerce
  • .me – blogs, resumes, personal sites

Purchasing more domain name extensions is a nice way of making sure that competitors won’t try to use your great domain name idea by buying a different extension and marketing it more, so that it is listed higher in google than your web site.

14. This one is kinda obvious, but still… ACT FAST! Domain names are purchased often and if you dwell on a specific domain name for too long, it’s quite possible that someone with a similar idea thought of it too and might buy it first.

OK, I am positive that now you are a bit more capable of figuring out the best domain name for your web site. Go ahead, buy and start piling content!

That’s it for now, feel free to drop me a comment or a quick message on i[at]brotherlemon[dot]com.

P.S. And don’t forget to download Lemon Quotes and share some quality stuff on facebook, instagram, twitter and others!

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