How to choose a domain name for your website or business

Many people are making a web page that will represent them, their family, hobbies or, more often, their business. Once the decision has been made to create a website, the next step is to register a domain name.

Technical background information
So what is a domain name? Every computer or device that is connected with the Internet has an IP address. An IP address is a sequence of numbers that identifies the computer or device on a TCP/IP network. Example: 127.0.0.1 (Loop-back address).

But the problem is that people (in most cases) can’t remember those numbers sequences. Names are easier to remember. So they created the Domain Name System (DNS) which translate (domain) names in IP addresses and IP addresses in (domain) names.

The domain name is a unique name that identifies individual web sites on the Internet. The domain can be of any length up to 67 characters, which includes the 26 letters of the English alphabet, numbers 0-9, and hyphens (-). A domain name cannot begin or end with a hyphen, but can contain one or more hyphens.

The domain names have a suffix or extension, which is based on the type of organization it is associated with. Common suffixes are:

  • .com Commercial business domain
  • .net Commercial network
  • .gov Government agency
  • .org Non-profit organizations
  • .edu Educational institution
  • .nl Country (in this case the Netherlands)
  • Etc, etc, etc.

How to choose a successful domain name?
There are millions of domain names registered worldwide and every day there is more added to that list. So in most cases the domain name that you like is already taken. Don’t be discouraged by that, but rather be creative. Remember that you can use a combination of almost all characters (letters, numbers, hyphens) for your domain and that are a lot of possibilities!

Tip: If you already came up with some names, check for availability of these names first! (Before you follow the steps below.) The availability checks can be performed on the website of almost every Internet service provider.

Here are some tips how to choose a successful domain name:

Step 1 – Brainstorming for keywords
Choose the topic of your website and start a brainstorm session. This you can do on your own, but with more people (friends, family) it’s easier.

  • List as many words as you can think of that are related to the content of your website.
  • Make a list of synonyms of you main topic (For instance: student and pupil or baby and infant).

Step 2 – Making combinations
Make different combinations with the listed (key)words that are:

  • Short
  • Memorable
  • Not easily confused
  • contain popular keywords
  • Hard to misspell
  • relate to the core of the business
  • sound solid to the core of your business

Think of the following: shorter domain names are easier to remember, to type and are far less susceptible to spelling mistakes. Step 3 – Pick the best names

  • Number the combinations you made. One for the name you like best till x that you like less.
  • If you like a specific word to be included in the domain name, think of all its forms: noun, verb, adverb, adjective.
  • Consider also hyphens and numbers: sometimes you are a hyphen away from the dreamed domain name.

Step 4 – Check for availability
Start searching for the availability of these domains.

Tip: If you want a domain name for an online business, register your domain with as many of the extensions as available! (Point them all to one webpage). People remember the name of a site but they often forget the suffix. It will cost you traffic if you don’t do this.

Step 5 – Do not discourage!
If your preferred choice is not available, do not discourage and try the next combination! If all combinations fails, repeat the five steps until you find the best domain name available.

A last word on hyphenated domains
Should you get a hyphenated name?
There are a few things to consider:

Disadvantages:

  • It is easy to forget the hyphens when typing a name.
  • When people recommend a site verbally, having hyphens in a domain name leads to more potential errors than when the name does not contain hyphens.

Advantage:

  • The non-hyphenated form may no longer be available.

We hope you will find the domain name of your dreams. Good luck!

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