10 Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing your Domain Name

3 Mar 2017 / Aliesha Ellington

Having a website is extremely beneficial to your business, as it establishes your online presence. However, a lot of business owners often do not realize how much a domain name can affect your online business and branding or marketing strategy. Whether it is for a new brand that you are starting, or an existing business you are taking online, be careful to avoid these mistakes when choosing your new domain name. You can do a domain availability search here

1. Choosing a name that is similar to an already existing domain

It is important to go for a name that is unique and represents what your site is all about. Choosing a name that is similar to another site can cause consumer confusion, especially if you do not have very strong brand recognition just yet.

2. Choosing the wrong top level domain (TLD) extension

Although ‘.com’ is the most popular, there are various other TLD’s that you can register your domain under. It is for your benefit if you choose a TLD that is appropriate for your website. For example, ‘.design’ might be more appropriate than .com  for an architecture firm.

You also want to be wary of choosing TLD extensions that sound odd because they are cheaper, and some of them are associated with spammers. On the other hand, there are country specific domains that you can use if your business operates majorly in one country, for example, .nz for New Zealandand so on. Depending on the circumstances, this may be slightly problematic if your business is looking to attract audiences from other parts of the world.

3. Believing that your domain name and business name must match

Technically, there is nothing wrong with having a domain name that matches your business name. However, it is not compulsory to do so. You need to concentrate on getting a domain name that can adequately project your business, and that will be well received by your target market.

4. Not choosing a relevant name from the start

When choosing a domain name for a business that you expect to grow, it is important to keep in mind from the start, that your business may expand to include other areas, which may eventually make your domain name too narrow. For example, if you started off dealing in textiles and you chose a domain name that reflected that, expanding to furniture may make your domain name inadequate. This is why it is not advisable to choose a name that is too specific.

While it is important to choose a relevant name from the start, there is also the option of registering a new domain name in the future- if the need arises.

5. Choosing a domain name that is difficult to say or remember

Whether or not you decide to use your company name as your domain name, you have to ensure that it is not difficult to remember so that you can easily relay it to others and expect that they will not forget it.

You should also stay away from words that are difficult for a lot of people to spell, or words that have different spellings in different cultures (where the American spelling of the word is different from the British spelling of the same word).

6. Going for a generic name

This is not necessarily a mistake. You may want to go for a name that projects your business niche. However, it may not be advantageous for you to spend too much money trying to get a generic domain name, especially as they may be very limited. You can use the money in other aspects of your business branding and marketing, while going for a catchy name.

7. Going for an unusually long name or one with an odd spelling

A long name can easily be misspelled or forgotten, making it difficult for you to be found online. It might also be too lengthy for people trying to access your site from mobile devices and so on.Also, a domain name with an odd spelling may have the same effect. As such, it is advisable to either register all similar spellings so that you don’t have to worry about not being found if the name is spelt incorrectly, or go for another name.

In addition, a name spelt in an unusual way, Flickr for example, means that you have to spell it anytime you say it because it is not spelt naturally. This also means that voice recognition software such as Siri will not be able to detect the name if a search is run through them. This should be a major source of concern, considering that an increasing number of internet users now use voice apps for their searches.

8. Using hyphens or numbers

It is easier for people to remember and verbally communicate a domain name that is completely in words, than one that has numbers and hyphens. In order to be safe and eliminate any form of confusion, it is best to leave symbols out of your domain name

9. Not doing your research

There is always the possibility of your customer missing your domain name and searching for something similar, only to be lead to your competition. This is only one of many possibilities. Therefore, it is important to search for similar domain names to yours, to see what happens if people miss a letter or use .com instead of .net, for instance.

You should also consider the different ways that your domain name can be read and how the URL would sound when you say it aloud.

10. Hesitating to pay for the domain you want

Not all domain names cost the same. It is important to keep in mind that you save money in the long run when you go for a well-targeted name that is easy to remember, even though it may cost you initially. This is because such names are easy to remember and do not require as much advertising and marketing as the longer but cheaper names. 

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