Advice on Choosing a Domain Name

Last Update: August 26, 2021

So, I thought it might be useful to offer advice on choosing a domain name. Don't panic, if after reading, you think you may have made an error with the name you have chosen. These are just suggestions, not rules!

Spelling

The first thing to remember is that you can't change a domain name. I have seen numerous examples, when people have been that excited to have a domain, they didn't check the spelling. It doesn't look professional if you have spelling errors in your domain name.

Trademarks

A worrying trend that I have spotted, is when people are using trademarked names, brand names in their domain. You really can't do this. Big brands are very protective of their name and you could be subject to legal action. Last year, Nike took 20 sites to court for using their name.

Short

Try and pick a short name, preferably 2 or 3 words. Make it memorable and catchy.

.com

Use .com, if possible. If the name you want is not available in .com, then you could be tempted to use the .net or .org version of it. This may not be a good idea. If people are trying to remember the name of your site, they will automatically assume it's a .com, so you could be sending traffic to the site with the original name.

Dashes

The same goes for having dashes/hyphens in the name. If you have added the dashes because the name you want is not on offer, people won't remember the dashes and may go elsewhere. You should also remember that the original owner of the .com may not be too happy with you using essentially the same name.

Keywords

You don't need keywords in your domain name. Google will be ranking your posts in its search pages according to the keyword in your content, not because of the name of your site.

I hope this helps, as it really shouldn't be a stressful experience!

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ClairR Premium
That's very interesting. I did not realize that you did not need to use a keyword in the title. I was thinking that if I didn't, the right people would not be directed to my site. This means we can be more creative when choosing a name. So, for example, if your niche is 'chocolates', you would not necessarily need to have the word 'chocolates' in your domain name?
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DianeScorpio Premium
Hi - when people are searching for a keyword, Google looks at the content on your site to see if it is relevant, not the name of your site.

So, yes, you can use any name, but obviously not something that doesn't make sense. For example, a site about dogs with the word cats in the name!
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Roybretton Premium Plus
Hello Diane,

Thank you for your list of useful guidelines, I'm sure it will help many.

I'm glad you have mentioned the dashes, to me that is one of the worst things that someone can do! As you rightly said, people will never remember the dashes and probably go to the competitor's website.

It's interesting regarding trademarks, I've never tried to purchase a brand-type domain name, it sounds like Nike is right on the ball!

I remember making a typo once when I purchased a domain name, fortunately, I was able to call the domain company and they were able to change it. Not clever on my part!

Have a great day.

Roy
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davehayes Premium
As it happens I have a dash in one of my domains because I prefer the short version of my name, which happens to be universally popular sadly for me.
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Mondharma Premium
Hello Diane,
Thanks so much for your advice!
Regards,
Món :-))
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Roybretton Premium Plus
Good morning Dave,

So, does the domain with a dash, work for you, Dave? Do you think you did the right thing? I'm curious as I have never liked the idea of dashes in domain names as I feel people never remember where the dashes are.

Have a great weekend.

Roy
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davehayes Premium
The domain with the dash seems to work ok, though if I could have that name on a dot.com it would better and more preferable, but it wasn't availble. although I haven't checked on other variations such as .ws

I know the preferrred domain format is .com, .net .biz, but my view is that the last part of it doesnt matter so much as long as the domain itself is the one you want
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Roybretton Premium Plus
Thank you for clarifying, Dave, it's appreciated.

That's good that the domain with a dash works, I guess it makes no difference to Google. However, for example, if you mention to a friend your domain with dashes in, they may struggle to remember where the dashes are!

I have only ever purchased.com's or.co.uk, I guess in time we will get used to the other formats of domains. I always think it's good if you can have your niche in the domain name, people immediately know what it's about.

Have a good evening,

Roy
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JeannineC Premium
Good list of guidelines. I've seen far too many posts on WA about people who accidentally bought a domain name and either misspelled it or changed their mind about their selection. Too late!!!

Just one other thing - don't do a search on your domain name idea. There are companies watching those types of searches, and if the domain name is available, they may buy it and then try to sell it to you for a few hundred dollars. I always search in Google as if the URL was a phrase, and see if anything shows up. If nothing does, and you are ready, buy it instantly.
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etseil20 Premium Plus
Hi Diane,

This post is helpful when it comes to domain names. Picking a domain name shouldn't be hard, yet some people still stress out about it.

I followed most of the tips when I bought my first few domains. Easy to remember, no more than three words (keeping it short), and no brand-related names in it (such as with the case of Nike).

Great tips that you shared- thank you :)

Regards,

Eric
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ParthaB Premium
Spot on Diane.

(although I could argue that nowadays the address/url bar will typically autocomplete a url name that you have visited before. Obviously, if you haven't recently cleared browsing history. So, the need to remember and fully type in a domain name for a returning visitor isn't as important as it once was. BUT I WON'T MENTION IT 😂😂😂😂😂).

Also really glad you've mentioned Trademarks.

I see this far too often.

Just... NO.

Partha
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