What is a Domain Name?
A domain name is the web address for your site (yourwebsite.com)
How Do I Get One?
A domain name can be purchased by going to a domain name registrar such as GoDaddy.
What should I consider when selecting a Domain Name?
Put some careful thought into choosing your domain name. The 10 tips below will give you some guidelines to consider in the process.
GO WITH A .com
a .com domain is still the most established and credible domain extension.
Most of the time internet users assume .com when browsing. Having a .net, .info, .tv or any other extension puts another potential roadblock in the process of finding you. Having said that, there are plenty of successful sites that use a .net extension (or something else), but a .com is ideal.
KEEP IT SHORT
When it comes to the length of your domain name, shorter is better. I recommend 10 character or 2 words max.
MAKE IT EASY TO SAY AND SPELL
The goal is for your domain name to be passed along easily by you and by others. This is more likely to happen if people don’t have to stop and think about how to say or spell it.
It’s not very smooth or punchy to specify a hyphen. (“Hi my name is Jane and my domain is fly hyphen fishing dot com.”)
MAKE SURE IT CAN GROW WITH YOUR BUSINESS
You never know how your business might expand, so avoid names that box you in. For example, FlyFishingLures.com is nice, but what if you want to sell fishing poles down the line too? I also recommend avoiding life-stage-specific names like AllAboutMyWildAndCrazyToddlers.com. (It’s good now, but they’re toddler years will be over so fast!)
PICK A NAME THAT’S AVAILABLE ON SOCIAL MEDIA SITES
When picking your domain, check other social media sites to make sure it’s available on those sites too. If you use the same name on your blog and on Twitter, Facebook, etc., it solidifies your brand and makes it more memorable. My favorite tool to check your name across all networks at once is Namechk
VERIFY THE DOMAIN ISN’T BLACKLISTED OR PENALIZED
One of the most important considerations when choosing a new domain name (that most webmasters don’t think about) is to first check whether or not the domain is blacklisted or potentially penalized by Google.
Unwary and legitimate webmasters then purchase the newly available domain oblivious to the fact that it will be next to impossible to generate any sort of organic traffic because of existing penalties. It can put you at a serious disadvantage to start out with a penalized domain.
To check if your domain is potentially penalized, you can:
Do a site: operator search in Google (learn more about the site search operator). If the domain existed before and site: returns nothing it’s a good sign that domain has been removed from Google’s index
DON’T OVERTHINK IT
I hear from a lot of people who get stuck at this point because they’re afraid of making the wrong choice. The most common problem is that they can’t find an available .com. If this is you, just make your best guess and move on. A not-quite-perfect domain name is better than no domain name at all. Just do your best and own it!