Let’s start with what is a domain? The definition is “an area of territory owned or controlled by a ruler or government.” That is literally how domains work on the internet. If you own it, you rule it. This is an important thing to remember in addition to all the points below.
NEVER let someone register your name under anyone their ownership. Then they are in control and not you. Ownership of a domain is the ultimate control authority of a domain.
Now, What Is a Domain Name
A domain name is your own unique identity and always will be as long has you continue to use own name. Say for instance you hosted your free site with Wix or some other site and you found that you needed a more advanced host because your website was becoming successful. Visitors and links to your site would know you by the long Wix URL and you’d have to start promoting your new URL all over again. If you had your own domain name you could change hosts as often as you like and people would still be able to find you simply by typing in your domain name.
You can promote your website instead of someone else’s when you’re sending emails as your domain name will be in the email address, for example firstname.lastname@example.org is helping to promote mybrilliantname.com while email@example.com is helping to promote and brand AOL.com
Your likely to have more traffic to your website with your own domain name because more people will be returning as they can remember your address and because many search directories such as Yahoo only index websites with their own domain name.
Another advantage of having your own domain name is that you can use custom error pages to prevent people from leaving your site because of broken links and other errors.
Domain names are so cheap nowadays that there’s no excuse for not having one. Now that your ready to get yourself a domain name here’s some pointers to help you choose a good one.
Size does matter
In the case of domain names the smaller the better. Of course short domain names are harder to find but if you can find one it has a number of advantages such as, it’s easier to brand, easier to remember and it’s harder to misspell.
Easy to remember
Try to get a name that’s easy to remember and sounds good. General words are best for this but since these are all gone at this stage you should look for non general names or combinations of general names which rhyme and sound good together. Take elephantdroppings.com for example that’s an easy to remember name.
Easy to say
Never forget that you want people to talk about your site. So when you pick a domain name, make sure it is easy to speak out loud. It should also not be confusing to hear. For example, an animal rights organization, PETA, picked a name for their blog of “The Peta Files.” Probably not a wise choice…
Relate to your business
If you use keywords which are related to your business industry you will help your search engine rankings. What’s even better is if you can get your actual business name or a name similar to your company name as your domain name, this way all your off-line branding will pay off online as Internet users should be able to guess your domain name from your business name.
If you are building company from scratch, picking a name nowadays has to include making sure the domain name is available.
This means you should avoid choosing domain names that already have similar counterparts online, if you choose one of these people could end up on your competitors site rather than yours because they got confused over the two domain names. This could become a VERY expensive problem if you pick a name too close to someone’s registered trademark.
.com is best, but not always
You should always aim for the .com version of a name, that’s what most people will go to after doing a search or after typing something directly into their address bar, if you register .tv or .net or any of the other available extensions and your competition has the .com version then you’ve just lost a potential customer. Sometimes a country domain can be really useful, like in the case of Donate2.it.