Picking your website name

Website domain name


So… you want to have a website. The first step is picking the domain name for it. The domain name can be very important. But also keep in mind that there are websites that did so well on attracting an audience and reputation, that they made their name important. Twitter happens to be a good example. Most of us don’t have the kind of resources to make a website like that. So we need to come up with a name that works for us.

In general these are good guidelines… but do what works best for you of course….

Basics

Usually, you don’t want to make it too long. (You will find that names like “nature.com” are taken though…)

Make it easy to remember (proper spelling, catchy). People are more likely not going to remember the incorrect spelling in a name… they will most likely go to the site that has that name spelled the correct way.

It is best not to use numbers… this causes confusion. When you are telling it to someone or they are trying to remember, there will be confusion about whether you use the actual number or spell the number.

Avoid special characters. The dash (hyphen) is allowed but can be confused with the underscore character, which Google doesn’t like. They actually have support site articles that discourage the use of underscore characters.

Now for more complex factors…

If it is for business purposes, you may not want to use a personal name. For example, if your website becomes hugely successful and you want to sell it… do you really want it to have your name?

Keywords of your topic may be a good idea. Great website name example: “simplerecipes.com”. You know immediately what this site is going to be about. I think most folks think food recipes when they see that word.

Flexibility is probably a good idea. Do you want to include keywords of your topic, or will that be limiting later? For example, you start a site about bugs. There are already many informative sites on this topic, so you begin articles about dolls. Will doll fans go to the site with a bug name?

Do you want to have a name that makes it clear that you are in a specific location? For instance, maybe you want the city &/or state included in the name… People will know this whether or not they search by locality.

Here is an idea that you may not have thought of as well… a great domain name can be something that you can sell. Maybe you want to work in domain names rather than websites. You can also build up the website with a reputation and traffic for it and sell it with more of a value.

Examine the choice carefully… is there confusion to the name that is not obvious? Here is an example: “TeachersTalk.com” is the same as “TeacherStalk.com”, “AmigoneFuneralHome.com” is also “AmIGoneFuneralHome.com”. These are actual websites.

There are no hard rules… do it your way.

Extensions

Standard ones

There are many extension choices for your domain name: .com, .net, .info, .biz, .co, .blog, .me

Standard extension purpose

.com is for commercial
.net is for network
.org is for organization
.info is for informational site
.biz is for business
.co is for company or community
.blog is for weblog
Technically .me is reserved for the country of Montenegro, but you can get it if it works well with your name. For example… “Donut.me” is available! It is a premium and very specialized name that is an unusually high price though.
An extension that I am seeing more commonly now is .ly, which is reserved for Libya. You can get this one if you want it as well. An example for this is “apt.ly” and “modern.ly”. These names are already taken.

Additional extensions

These are extension that you probably won’t use: .org, .edu.
.org is for non-commercial organizations and is used for schools, open-source projects, and communities
.edu is for educational site and reserved for institutions of higher education.
There are many choices in extensions. There was a window of time when people were making them up (now closed)… You want others to be easily able to think of them in order to work well. Here is a good example and a good website… “amazinglybeautiful.photography”. “homefitness.men” is a great name… and available too. “gardening.tips” is a great one, but taken (not in use). There are 3 categories in these created extensions: Publicly Available, Private (Brand Type) – only available to brand holders, Restricted or Verified – which is limited to certain types of registrants.
CREATED EXTENSIONS Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) EXTENSION LIST

Maybe you can get inspired by my website name…

Now… I did not follow all the guidelines… as you can see. My website name is long, but works great for me. I have recently taken a liking to one with a similar naming technique. The name of that one is “allthatsinteresting.com”. This may spark ideas for your name. These are both catchy and may possibly be a keyword search combination used by someone who is bored.

Now… is this name available for use?

There are many choices, but .com extension is usually the best name and affordable.
The WhoIs.net, Name.com, Hover.com, or NameCheap.com sites are where you can research your domain name. Go there and just type in your name and find out if it is available. I know it is discouraging when that brilliant name idea is not available… keep trying, keep making lists. You will find the one!

Trademark and copyright info

You can also check to see if it exists as a trademark or copyright at search.uspto.gov/ and copyright.gov.
Here is the situations where trademark conflict matters: the other business is in the same industry, in the same geographical market, was using the mark first, or they registered the trademark first. Get advice from the proper lawyer if you have concerns here.

Get your website name

You can get this cheaply anywhere. Maybe you would like to get it from your web hosting company to make things simpler, but you don’t have to do that. In fact, if you have your name that you worked so hard to get just right, get it immediately and don’t risk losing it! You can move on to the next decision for your web hosting service. This is how I started.

Just another thought…

You can have unexpected neighbors… Do you want to get the neighboring names that have your domain name, but common extensions. This is another possibility that you should be aware of. For example “nature.com” and “nature.info” and “nature.co”.

FIRST TIME WEB HOSTING DECISION Why get a website NOW & how to choose your web hosting service.