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6 vital tips for buying a winning domain name for your site

domain name registration
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One of the most important steps in starting a new website is choosing the right domain name for it. Whether you are going to register a brand new domain or you are considering buying a domain from someone else, you have to make your choice very carefully and thoughtfully. Changing your website’s name in the future can come at high costs and risks, especially if it’s a business brand, so it’s vital that you start out with a domain name you are 100% sure about.

You can find different domain name generator tools online, but the truth is, you’d rarely discover a great available name using automated generators. The most creative name generator is your own mind, and by sticking to a few general guidelines, you should be able to come up with a winning name.

Let’s discuss some of the main points that should be considered while looking for that one perfect name for your next website project. The following are six general tips to keep in mind.

1. A brandable name is more advantageous

It seems that everyone has their own opinion when it comes to choosing between a generic domain name versus a brandable one. A decade or more ago, there used to be a strong argument supporting the use of generic, keyword-rich domain names. Not only were there many worthy generic names available for registration back then, but a generic name used to be very helpful in boosting organic search engine rankings for relevant search phrases.

Well, neither of these two points is valid these days. Most of the generic names that have any market value have already been taken, and it no longer matters from an SEO perspective if the domain has any keywords in it or not. So, for example, a keyword-rich name like “reliablewebhosting” will not rank higher than a brandable name like “DreamHost” just because it contains the right keywords. That’s no longer a relevant factor in Google’s ranking algorithm.

When you opt for a brandable name, you’ll have many more choices of short and memorable domains that are still available. The days of long, keyword-rich domains are over, and these often look rather amateurish and unprofessional. Most online businesses nowadays invest in building their own brand, and a unique, brandable domain name can help your site stand out from the rest.

2. Skip the numbers and hyphens

Using numbers and hyphens in domain names is another outdated practice that is not recommended for professional sites. Hyphens used to be commonly added to generic names that consisted of a few valuable keywords, but as we said above, such names aren’t very popular or desirable anymore.

Both hyphens and numbers can make your website’s domain more confusing and harder to remember, which doesn’t really help in building a successful site. Having a clean domain name that only contains alphabetic characters is the way to go.

3. Shorter is better

This one should be a no-brainer, because who likes to remember and type a lengthy name anyway?! Don’t be tempted to use a longer name only because it has one or more of the keywords you are targeting — that would probably not be a worthwhile trade-off.

There isn’t a magic number when it comes to the ideal domain name length since it can vary from site to site. Generally, though, it’s advisable to keep it below 12 characters with no more than two words in the name.

4. The extension matters

The domain extension, or more formally the top-level domain (TLD), is the part that comes after the dot, such as “com” in amazon.com. There are thousands of extensions to consider, and each can be suitable for certain types of websites.

Generic TLDs, such as .com and .net, are the most globally used ones and arguably the best choice for commercial websites. The .com TLD is by far the most desirable of all extensions, but that doesn’t mean it has to be your only choice. Many new generic TLDs have been released in recent years and some of them are proving to be worthy alternatives to traditional extensions. Some examples of these are: .store, .blog, .site, .online, and many more that you can discover at any registrar’s website.

That said, the .com extension still has the highest value and recognition, in particular for small business sites and those that are mainly commercial in nature. You probably want to explore every possible .com domain name before considering other extensions.

5. Check the domain’s history

One of the main mistakes that many domain buyers make is not checking the domain’s history first. Chances are the domain you intend to purchase has been used by someone else before and it has a history on the internet. Look it up on archive.org and search engines to find out if it has been used in the past and what it was used for. Also, check its backlink profile using a few different backlink checking tools.

If the domain had been used for spamming, contained questionable content in the past, and/or has many spammy backlinks pointing to it, you better pass on it. Domains with a history of spam or inappropriate content may have been penalized by search engines and could make it much harder for your new site to rank in search results. It’s better to start with a domain that has a clean record rather than having to clean up the mess someone else had created in the past.

6. Make sure it doesn’t infringe on others’ rights

This is another potential mistake that may come with making a rushed decision to buy a new or a pre-owned domain. Trademark infringement is a very serious issue that can lead to your domain name getting suspended and likely taken away from you. Always search online trademark databases to find out if another company or individual is using the exact same name or a similar name that can potentially cause consumer confusion.

How to buy a domain name safely?

If you are going to register an available domain name, then you should pick a reliable registrar with a good reputation for keeping their customers’ domains safe and secure. It’s also highly recommended to go with a registrar that offers free Whois privacy protection, which will hide your personal contact details from the public Whois database.

Companies offer different features that come with each domain registration, and in terms of security, Whois privacy service and two-factor authentication are among the most essential features to look for. A helpful article published on the Daily Sundial website discusses a few of the best registrars where you can buy a domain name with Whois privacy for a low price.

And in case you are buying a domain from someone else, it is strongly advised to use a third-party escrow service to ensure the safety of both your money and the domain you are trying to acquire.

Takeaway

Getting the right domain name for your website requires careful thinking and research. In this article, we highlighted some of the main characteristics of a good domain name, and we also discussed some of the mistakes and things to avoid as you search for a website domain. Keep these tips in mind and do your due diligence before you make your final decision.

Story by Jim Grogan


augusta free press
augusta free press
augusta free press

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