The importance of a good domain name

People are often very simple creatures – they struggle to remember things that may be a little confusing or contain ambiguity. This is why it is essential that before you even start your community site, you spend a good amount of time choosing a suitable domain name. The following is what I personally think is the key to a perfect domain name for individual or business use.

Keep it simple

Always keep your domain name as simple and as short as possible. The longer your domain name, the larger the chance of a visitor entering a typo and not being able to find your site. Longer domain names are often more difficult to remember, too.
Use simple words in your domain name – don’t use long, hard to understand words. People should be able to remember your domain name easily and be able to type it into their browser quickly and without error. You should also hold off on putting characters in your domain such as a dash ( – ).

Keep it relevant

Always ensure your domain name is relevant to your community. I would always recommend you try to include a keyword in your chosen domain name. If your site is about goldfish, get that word in your domain name.
Irrelevant domain names can sometimes work thanks to strong branding techniques. When starting a community from scratch though, why make things harder for yourself?
Keep your domain relevant – people should be able to guess what your site will be about from the domain name alone.

Keep it memorable

Keeping a domain name simple and relevant will help visitors remember it. Visitor retention is the key to a successful online community.
You should also consider what ‘Top-Level Domain’ to register. If your site has a strong UK focus, then you should register the ‘.co.uk’ version, but perhaps also register the ‘.com’ and redirect it to your site in order to secure your brand name.
If you are aiming for direct type-in traffic, then you will want to go for the ‘.com’ wherever possible. I will always argue that your choice of top-level domain has little overall significance compared to the overall domain name you choose, though.

A poor choice in domain name can result in failure

All of these are legitimate companies that didn’t spend quite enough time considering how their online names might appear…and be misread.

1. Who Represents is where you can find the name of the agent that represents any celebrity. Their web site is www.whorepresents.com.
2. Experts Exchange is a knowledge base where programmers can exchange advice and views at www.expertsexchange.com.
3. Looking for a pen? Look no further than Pen Island at www.penisland.net.
4. Need a therapist? Try Therapist Finder at www.therapistfinder.com.
5. There’s the Italian Power Generator company, www.powergenitalia.com.
6. And don’t forget the Mole Station Native Nursery in New South Wales, www.molestationnursery.com. (This one has been changed…and thankfully so.)
7. If you’re looking for IP computer software, there’s always www.ipanywhere.com.
8. The First Cumming Methodist Church Web site is www.cummingfirst.com.
9. And the designers at Speed of Art await you at their wacky web site, www.speedofart.com.

These are all legit! (Except number six…they got wise!)

Keep your domain name short, relevant and easy to remember and you already have a head-start over many of the new sites starting up today.

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