A well-chosen domain name makes a big difference to visitors even though it might be nothing more than a series of characters in the eyes of search engine crawlers and indexing robots. Unlike many people often having the same name, you can be sure that no two websites can have exactly the same domain name. The domain names are unique at a global level. Unless a DNS server experiences a pharming attack, your domain name will always take you to the chosen website and not anywhere else.
Once a website begins to receive traffic regularly, changing the domain is not a very good idea because many visitors are likely to have bookmarked the said domain or even shared links to the same. Even if you implement redirection, certain programs won’t necessarily follow it and will give rise to a lot of broken links, because now the content is at a different address. This is avoidable if you carefully decide a domain name before buying it.
1. Be sure to leave out prefixes
If you enter gmail.com in your browser, you get taken to accounts.google.com if you are not signed in to your Google account, or to mail.google.com if you are already signed in. What is worth noting here is that although gmail.com and google.com are indeed two different domains, eventually you get taken to a subdomain of google.com and that choice depends on your account logged-in state.
So, do not make prefixes like “mail” or “members” a part of your domain name (unless your business really includes such words in the business name itself). You can add such prefixes as subdomains and/or folders under your website later on.
If you include the prefix right in the domain name, it leaves visitors confused as to whether there is anything else to do on your website apart from the stated function (such as checking mail or accessing certain resources available only to members). Leaving out the prefix leaves your website open to further expansion without tying it down to a specific service. Note that even including “www” is a bad idea as many visitors might already type it in their address bar.
2. Be prepared for thinking creatively
Domain names are being bought all over the world round the clock. You might even find that the domain you want has been already taken. This does not mean you give up on your chosen name. With some creativity, it might still be possible to have a similar name.
For example, if you wanted to book example.com and it has been already taken, you can try combining certain words with it so that the essence of the domain name does not change. E.g. exampleCorp.com or MyExample.com etc. This way you can still leverage your brand name while avoiding naming conflicts and confusion with existing websites.
3. The shorter, the better
Although there will be plenty of visitors who will arrive at your website from search engine results, links shared in social media/email etc., there will still be many who will have manually typed the URL in the browser’s address bar. Long domain names discourage people from visiting your website and are also difficult to remember.
This is also why short, 3 or 4-character domain names fetch a high price in the premium domain aftermarket. At eWebGuru, we deal with premium domains as well. These domains are bound to get a lot of traffic.
Short domain names also make it easier to share your website identity yourself. Think of the limited space on a business card. You could also use a link shortener as well, however, that will mask the actual brand identity of your website.
4. Balance between uniqueness and flexibility
Sometimes, a domain name easily gives away the purpose of what it does, while at other times, it leaves visitors guessing what the website might be about. Both of these approaches have their own pros and cons. Suppose your domain name is Yahoo.com and visitors have never heard of it earlier. From the domain name alone, it is difficult to guess what the website deals with.
On the other hand, if the domain name is something like BookMyShow.com or MakeMyTrip.com , even first-time visitors can have a good idea of what the website might be about before actually visiting. However, from the perspective of a website owner, these are generic domain names, not branded ones.
Generic domain names tend to avoid using any kind of brand names which might otherwise result in copy-right issues. While they do convey the purpose clearly and are also likely to be found in search engines by visitors searching for keywords which could be found right in your domain name itself, they make it a bit difficult for the website to expand into other, non-related areas.
This is not the case with brandable domain names like Yahoo.com . There is no clear purpose associated with the domain. A brandable domain makes it less confusing if the website decides to offer additional services which have nothing to do with how the website began.
5. Think long-term, not short term
Buying a domain name is in many ways similar to buying a plot of land. The land can be developed and re-developed over time but still the ownership of the plot will lie with you, unless you actually plan to sell it. At the same time, once your plot begins to receive regular footfall, it will be very inconvenient to tell all visitors to go to a new address if you decide to move.
While starting out with a website, it is easy to overlook that the domain name is going to be a part of your professional email address as well. At eWebGuru, we provide free email addresses as well as email forwarding with domain names. Think about the impression that your chosen domain name will create when used as part of an email address.
Similarly, if you are planning to do affiliate marketing with your website, many brands require that the TLD be a generic TLD, such as .com , .net , etc., instead of a country-specific TLD such as .uk or .in etc. While booking a domain you might get tempted by the cheaper cost (as well as greater availability) of country-specific TLDs but later on it leads to regret when you find that your website has been disqualified by brands seeking affiliates, not because of the content itself but because of the TLD.
Check out the different kinds of domains we offer at eWebGuru.com here: https://www.ewebguru.com/domain-registration.html . We offer cheap domain name registration as well as renewal and transfer services.