Here are some of my best tips for finding a domain name. I'm not the only one who gets crazy on the GoDaddy.com site. They are a good domain name registration service, but they offer so much on their site that you can spend hours and get lost.
Since I've been writing all week about finding clever brand names for your blog, your products and services, let's take the process one step further: how do you register a domain name? Well, the registration part is easy, pay your money and there you go!
But it's not easy because the very name you spent hours brainstorming to find has probably long been taken! My advice is don't spend so much time deciding on a name until you go research to find out what's available.
Tip #1: Go for dot com. (Unless you're a non-profit, then go for dot org.) People don't remember to type in dot biz or any other variation. If someone else has your great name with dot com, you are sending people to them and you may never see them again. Go for dot com even if you have to abandon the great name for another version.
Tip #2: Put yourself in visitors' shoes, get behind their eyeballs, reason like they would. What common mistakes will they make when typing in your domain name? Consider registering variations. If you name your site KeepHealthyBrain.com, also register KeepBrainHealthy.com, and maybe KeepingBrainHealthy.com.
Tip #3: Register common misspellings. Assuming your prospect knows your domain name (or thinks they do) how would they possibly misspell it? Or reverse words? Name misspellings are important. For example, I've registered PatsiKrakoff.com as well as PatsyKrakoff.com. Always register your own name if you can, you can always direct it to one of your sites or blogs, even if you don't actually name it that way. One day an old friend from far away may type in your name to try to find you…
Tip #4: Go for clarity and keywords. Clarity beats clever any day. Search engines are not real humans with brains. Even some of your visitors may not be thinking much either. Make it simple and clear what people will find on your site.
Tip #5: Short is best, but often not possible. Avoid long domain names if you can. This may not be possible since many short titles have long been taken.
Tip #6: When your ideal name is taken, try adding a short descriptive word with impact. "Best" beats better or improved, "great" beats good, etc.
Tip #7: Check out the suggested names over on the side. Some will be lame, but they may trigger another idea for you. You can always add "My" or "Your" but try to avoid it if you have to. People won't remember to use the added word. Same with adding "The"…
Tip #8: Often adding "blog" or "site" is a good solution, so is "tips." For example, I wanted to capture the domain name "BuildaBetterBrain.com" because that's the name of a monthly column I'm writing for our local magazine, "Lake Chapala Review." Of course, that's already been taken.
But I can register "BuildaBetterBrainTips.com," and "BuildaBetterBrainBlog.com" and "Mybetterbraintips.com" and "BestBrainTips.com". I'll decide on one depending on whether it's for a blog, or a landing page for an ebook.
I always register a couple of good names as soon as I think I'm going to start a new project that will need some branding. That means whenever I think I'm going to write a significant content piece or create a teleseminar or any teaching project. I register for only one year (around $10) until I know if I'm going to keep it and use it.
I register names when I find good ones I think will be suitable for something I may create in the future. I've recently added 5 names even though I don't know yet exactly how I'll be using them. Some I will use, but after a year, I may drop them. Here's what I registered today:
- BestBrainTips.com (to accompany new print magazine column, may be a blog or ebook)
- ContentMarketingforSmarties.com (information project already underway)
- SmartMarketingwithBlogs.com (?)
- ContentMarketingTips.com (can't believe that was available!)
- BlogWritingforSmarties.com (?)
I have some ideas for how I will be using two of them, and the others I'll keep until I've got a project and need a good name.
Bonus 1/2 Tip: Ignore all those domain registrar suggestions to take variations so that your competitors don't set up sites using your clevername.info or clevername.biz.
I'm sure I'm missing important tips because it's early morning here. Please hit the comment link and share your domain registration horror stories, or your suggestions for avoiding them!