Did You Know?
The first domain name to be registered was symbolics.com by Symbolics Inc., a computer systems firm in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on March 15, 1985.
A domain name is the website URL that is generated and not the actual name of the website. For example, Buzzle is the name of this website; however, www.buzzle.com is its domain name. It is this address that one needs to type if one wants to visit your website. Thus, it is necessary to choose a simple and short name for it. Likewise, the other critical factors that you need to consider are listed in this Buzzle article.
Do Your Research
The website address should contain the important keywords that perfectly describe the kind of business you are into. For example, if you are launching a book selling website, you will need to list down the possible keywords that people may type while looking for such a website, like bestsellers, books, sale, writers, etc. Now, you need to play around with these words to find the perfect match.
No Alternative Spellings
I know a lot of people who still misspell the word definition! If this confusion can occur over normal words, think what would happen if it were to occur with your domain name―you will not get any visitors to your site. So, if you want to use the word acknowledgment in your URL, remember that there is an alternate spelling 'acknowledgment' for the same. So, someone, somewhere might have launched a website with the alternate spelling, and thus, can whisk away all your potential visitors.
Stick to Dot-Com
Okay, I know many people out there are aware of top-level domains (TLD) like '.net' and '.edu', but there are many who don't know the existence of such websites. In this case, you may lose out on these users. The safest option is to stick to the '.com' domain. In case, you are running a business outside the United States, it is advisable to choose the local TLD, like .in for India, .uk for the United Kingdom, .de for Germany, etc.
You will find many websites with hyphens in their web address, but do you remember their correct domain names? May be not, unless you are an employee, or own the site! This is the problem with hyphenated names. You either tend to forget the position of the hyphen or will forget the website name altogether.
Hyphens also give an impression that the site is a dummy or duplicate website. You would rather click on www.buzzle.com, than clicking on www.buz-zle.com! The latter looks more like a cheap substitute of the original website.
Keep it Short
Long names are difficult to remember and can take up a couple of minutes of your precious time to type. This will leave the user frustrated, and he/she might not visit your site again. You can easily remember www.buzzle.com, but would find it difficult to remember www.buzzleintelligentlifeontheweb.com! It may take you forever to type the latter, isn't it?
Keep the Name Self-explanatory
If you are looking for a music library online, a domain name like www.abcd.com will definitely leave you confused, and you may avoid clicking on it. On the other hand, websites like WebMD or AutoCar instantly tell you about the kind of content they are dealing with. Thus, always choose a meaningful name for your website.
Avoid Copyright Names
Do not ever use a name that is under copyright. Internet domain laws are tricky, and copyright infringement could lead to long and expensive legal battles. Also, if a part of the domain name is trademarked, avoid using it.
Many search engines and directories list the results in alphabetical order. This means that if your domain name starts with the letter 'z', your website might feature in the 10th or 11th page! However, this is not the case with all the directories. Conduct your research on them, and choose the best possible domain name. And do remember to use keywords.
Singular and Plural
If you are looking for a domain name like www.website.com, there is a possibility that an alternate website named www.websites.com will also exist. Just in case the user types the wrong domain name, you will lose out on an interested visitor. Thus, it is always advisable to purchase singular and plural domain names so that a visitor to the wrong web address gets redirected to your website.
A brand name is enough to draw traffic to your website. Thus, it is necessary to strike a balance between generic and brand name. A domain name like searchonline.com will not give you any clear idea about the website itself. The only thing you can find out is that it is a search engine but the purpose here remains a mystery.
On the other hand, a domain name like searchmusiconline.com will give you a clear picture of the purpose of the website. Your SEOs need to study the domain that you are operating in thoroughly, to come up with a brand name.
The most important factor to keep in mind while choosing a domain name is that it should be unique, memorable, short, and relevant to the domain it operates in. By building a domain name around these factors, you can rest assured of good web traffic.