Naming your website can be a lot of fun. I believe that there is, in fact, an art to it.
First, choose a name that describes your site. Try to give away as much information in the title as possible. For example, JoesClothes.com is a good title because it tells us that Joe sells clothing on his website. This is a better name than JoesEmporium.com, which doesn’t give us any insight into what is actually on the site.
Next, you will want to keep it simple. Try to limit the amount of words in your title. Also, I think it’s smart to steer clear of hyphens and apostrophes, which are easily forgotten by web users. JoesClothes.com is easier to remember than JoesOutfittersandRetailers.com. Stick with a title that is concise and specific.
Finally, if at all possible, make your title catchy! A snappy title is more likely to stick in your users’ heads. Sometimes it can feel like all the good domain names are taken, but that’s absolutely not true. With a little ingenuity, you can come up with an awesome domain name that will get stuck in their heads.
If you are having trouble finding a name that is not taken, try typing one that is taken into Yahoo! Domains (or any other server) to get some ideas that haven’t been chosen yet. The suggestions are usually pretty palatable.
Now we come to the age old question: “Does it have to be a .com?” There are two schools of thought on this. First, you could say that if you have a descriptive name at a .net, people will still find it through a Google search. This is true; it doesn’t matter if it’s a .com, .net, .biz, or any other.
BUT, the truth is, when people return to your site their first guess will always be .com. In my opinion, there are still plenty of .com’s left, and it’s worth sacrificing your first choice if it means people can easily find you again.
Let’s say you have already chosen a name but it’s not exactly what you want. It is possible to create other domain names and have them lead back to the same website. This can be done inexpensively and it will open up more opportunities for visitors to find you via search engine.
The bottom line is that your domain name is just another tool to help you generate traffic to your website. A good name can make a big difference to a search engine. Be specific, descriptive, concise, and clever. These are the domain names that get picked up by Google and that stick in users’ heads.
I think Shakespeare’s Juliet once said, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet”. A nice sentiment, but Juliet didn’t have to worry about search engines.
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