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It might sound like one of the easiest tasks to accomplish when building a website online, but many users quickly realize that creating and purchasing a domain name can be fairly frustrating. The unique thing about domain names is that they require a certain amount of brevity, memorability, and simplicity, but they also are increasingly hard to snatch up while adhering to these qualities. The internet’s explosive growth has led to some of the best domains being unavailable; it can create a real headache for website administrators. Here are some tips to follow which may ease this process and aid in the selection of a unique domain that adheres to the tenets of simplicity and memorability.
1. Picking a Short Domain is the Name of the Game
Short and sweet is the name of the game. Longer domain names are harder to remember just on principle, and a domain name with more characters exposes itself to greater opportunities for typos and misdirections. A short domain name avoids these pitfalls, even if it leaves the .COM suffix behind.
2. Punctuation is Not a Good Idea
Domain names themselves are generally not punctuation-friendly, with only a hyphen being allowed during the registration process. It should be noted that while a hyphen is allowed, it is generally discouraged. This is because the hyphen itself tends to be forgotten by website visitors when they type a URL into their browser’s address bar, and they’ll soon find themselves at a competitor’s website or an invalid and occasionally malicious site full of advertising and malware. Furthermore, hyphens aren’t generally perceived as looking professional by consumers and they’ll more often assume a website is of an “amateur” variety when they spot such punctuation.
3. Numbers Should be Avoided in Most Cases
Numbers make a domain name pretty hard to remember, and they’re also more difficult to type when the majority of a website’s domain name involves only letters. Remember that consumers typing numbers will have to specifically reach above the lettered portion of their keypad, or dramatically to the right side to use a number pad. It isn’t intuitive and, because consumers like things which are easy and quick, it will not encourage visitors to visit a domain or come back for a return visit in future days or weeks.
4. Make it Memorable
The key to a short domain name isn’t just the actual shortness of the domain itself. Indeed, website administrators should pick a domain name which can be easily remembered and entered into the address bar by consumers with minimal effort. This generally means that it’s a good idea to prefer a top-level domain like .COM or .NET, since these are the most common varieties in current use. It might also mean using the domain name “suffix,” like .US, to spell a word. This will pique visitor interest and help them remember the site’s unique approach to locating itself on the internet.
5. Easy Words Make for Easy Domain Names
Website administrators who are registering a new domain name should remember that it will read just like a typical book or newspaper. That means they should avoid long, multi-syllable words which aren’t commonly used in either speech or text. Those long words will also make the domain too long to remember, of course, but they’ll have the added effect of confusing the visitor on issues of spelling and grammar. It can be insulting and a little discouraging to many visitors, and it should be avoided for those reasons alone.
6. Make Sure the Domain Name is Easy to Say
Finally, remember that many people talk about their internet travels with their friends or family members after they’ve discovered a great new website. The key is to aid them in this conversation, providing a domain which can be pronounced as easily as it can be entered into a browser’s address bar. Eliminate the possibility for misstatements, misspellings, and missed punctuation, and the domain name will prove successful and search-friendly in the long-term.