What’s In a Domain Name

abstract background @ & internetIf you are setting up your first blog or website, I know you will want a decent domain name. I am advising the 30DCers about this throughout June, that and millions of other topics, but this just happens to be one of my favourites. I love blogging and working online, me.

Right now in Go Daddy I own and manage nine domain names. Six of those have live websites attached, of which only two are meaningful, I have a temporary use for two more and the rest comprise genius ideas I have fallen out of love with or that I haven’t got around to using yet.  Of the nine, two have money in them for me right now and two more have future profit in them perhaps. The others could simply fade away either now or eventually and their job would be done.

Elsewhere I am stashing a further five domain names, only two of which make me money right now. Two more I am keeping for now and the fifth could already fade away, job done. I’ve set my auto-renew to off.

All this costs a fair few dollars per annum. Don’t follow my lead is my best advice.

The man who got me going on this whole “you need a URL for every genius entrepreneurial idea you have” thing was Thomas J. Leonard, a hugely creative man who founded two coaching organisations, and who I met and was inspired by in so many ways way back in 2002. This, though amusing and fun, was not a good habit to pick up and I constantly have to wean myself off doing it. It’s clutter and it costs.

So, what do you, the newbie blogger, need to know about your domain name?

1. Own the domain of your own name if you can get it. I had to queue to buy mine from an Australian lady who decided she no longer wanted to use it. I am glad I did that. I acquired it for free in the end and I am chuffed to own my own dot com even though I have to “fight” with Judith Morgan, the deceased Californian writer, in the search engines. She was prolific, that Judith.

2. If you can’t get it, don’t worry, it may not even be appropriate for your project, possibly even quite the reverse. There’ll be something else we can find which will suit you just as well. But if you CAN get it, own it even if you don’t use it. That way you can own and control your own identity on the web or just publish an online CV which links through to your other sites one day.

3. Otherwise I like a memorable domain name so that if I hear about a business when I am away from my gadgets, I will be able to remember it when we are reunited later.

4. I like a short-ish one. There are reasons for this. Long ones don’t make good Twitter handles for example, where there is a character restriction. There are other places where you will find long ones don’t fit too and are therefore restrictive.

5. In some sorts of businesses you might need one which describes what you do. One which says what it does on the tin can be worth its weight in gold.

6. Do not follow my example and have lots of them. One Woman One Website. Or One Man for that matter. Keep it all under one roof if you possibly can because marketing one website properly is a full-time job so find a domain name which gives you permission to give full rein to all your creative talents and projects. If I were your coach, I’d find a way to persuade you to hone those talents and projects down to just one, at least initially.

7. If you are a writer or a film-maker, these days that is a good reason to create a new URL perhaps. I am slightly over that too, to be honest. But if you are making the next big blockbuster in video, audio or written form, grab the URL which matches your title or vice versa, create a title which matches the available URL.

8. Do not follow my example and own a bunch of them, for reasons explained.

9. If you cannot get a great domain name, do not worry. There are many things which can be done to compensate for that – a great looking website with a powerful strapline, fabulous use of SEO and keywords, splendid highly-regarded content and plenty of it, and all the right things done in your back end for you by a pro. I have recently been working with a search specialist who has done wonders for me with some simple tricks she knows which I don’t. That’s always worth paying for.

10. If you are going to ignore my advice and have multiple web-based projects, all of which require their own domain name, then please practice serial focus – get one up and running and making money first before you move on to the next. See 6. As my old Grandpa used to say “Don’t do as I do, do as I say”. How do you think I know all this genius stuff? By making all the mistakes so you don’t have to.

11. I am a dot com snob. Get that if you can, though there are some sexy suffixes in the pipeline but I shall not be tempted, at least not right away.

12. I don’t like punctuation in business names which you cannot replicate in the URL and for that reason I don’t like hyphens or apostrophes either. And I would try to avoid words which, when run together, have the same letter next door to one another. They look odd and confuse people, as do hard to spell domain names.

What are some of your favourite website names and why?

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One Response to “What’s In a Domain Name”

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  1. Marion Ryan says:

    One of my favourites – and oft quoted by me – is FuzzyYellowBalls.com Not a keyword in sight but it’s been on page 1 of Google for years for people searching for online tennis tuition. And it’s a domain that once heard, cannot be forgotten.

    Agreed re avoiding hyphens where possible but if the domain is good enough I’d take it with hyphens or missing apostrophes if that were all I could get eg grace-marshall.com and entrepreneurs-journey.com, which is a double-non-whammy but is Yaro Starak’s hugely successful site.

    Amazon.com – what a great name that was:

    “Bezos wanted a name for his company that began with “A” so that it would appear early in alphabetic order. He began looking through the dictionary and settled on “Amazon” because it was a place that was “exotic and different” just as he planned for his store to be, and he believed it was the biggest river in the world, and he planned to make his store the biggest in the world.”

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