Note: The domain name for this website has been changed since this article has been published, from “HelpStartMySite.com” to “JamesMcAllisterOnline.com”. I left the original name in to help demonstrate the main points of this article.
These days, one of the most challenging parts of getting your website up on the internet is simply choosing a domain name. Because the internet is growing at such a rapid rate, more and more domain names are being taken and finding a decent unregistered one. Believe it or not, it took 3 people, over 200 different ideas and 5 hours to decide on the name of some of my websites. Quite the challenge, right? And guess what, some of those I ended up scrapping due to some silly mistakes, and buying a new domain. Despite the time and money wasted, I learned a heck of a lot through these mistakes, and now I’m going to teach you what I did wrong so you don’t make the same mistakes.
1. Choosing A Name That’s Unrelated To Your Niche
When you hear the domain name HelpStartMySite.com, you instantly know what it’s about, that is, helping you start your own website. What if I had named it mysiteaboutcoolstuff.com? That could be about anything, right? It’s important that people instantly know what your website is about when looking at the link. It will also provide SEO benefit, because part of your websites keywords will be in the URL.
2. Choosing A Name That Is Hard To Remember
HelpStartMySite. Four small, easy words telling you exactly what this website is about, and what it does. It’s easy to remember. What if I had named it helpgetstartedwithmyonlinewebsite.com? Keeping the name of your domain short makes it easy to remember, and also reduces the chance of someone mistyping a letter when typing it in the address bar. However, a website can have a domain name that’s too short as well. What if I had named this website HSMS.com? HSMS is a chain of unrelated letters that could mean anything. However, when I extend it to it’s longer form, http://helpstartmysite.com, it’s easy to see what the website is about, and it’s easier to remember.
3. Using Numbers Or Hyphens
I try to avoid numbers at all costs when buying domain names online. Why? Simply because, if you were to tell the name of your website in person, the person will have no idea if they are meant to be spelling out the name of the domain, or if they are meant to be using a number. And what if a competitor has almost the same name, with a number in it? The person could end up going to your competitor’s website without knowing that it’s not actually yours. You don’t want that!
The same thing applies to hyphens. They’re hard to remember. Don’t use them. 🙂 After all, how annoying would it be, when giving out your website’s url, to say “Help (hyphen) start (hyphen) my (hyphen) site.com? Yeah, no. Let’s not do that.
4. Not Getting A .Com Domain
Okay, it’s not the end of the world if you went with a .Net or a .Org. But if you’re running a commercial website, or you’re trying to make money off your blog, .com is the way to go, always. Not only is it the world’s most popular domain extension, but it’s also the easiest to remember. When people here a website name, they generally think it’s associated with .com due to it’s popularity.
There are exceptions to this. If you are creating a website for a local business, you may benefit from a local domain name extension such as .co.uk or .au. However, if you’re trying to appeal to audiences all around the globe, make sure you stick with .com. Sure, it’s a bit more expensive than something like .info, but if you’re serious about your website, make the investment.
5. Getting No Domain At All
The absolute biggest mistake you can have is not purchasing a domain name at all. Really, nobody is going to take you or your business seriously if after your website’s name they see a ‘.webs.com’ or a ‘.blogspot.com’. Now it’s not to say that these platforms are useless, in fact, I think they are a great resource to use if you want to learn about blogging. However, if you are serious about making and monetizing a blog or a website, make the investment and buy a domain and web hosting. Not only will it be more respectable, but it’s easier to remember, gives you more control, and helps with SEO as well.
What mistakes have you made when purchasing a domain name? What did you wish you knew before doing so? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear from you!
– James McAllister