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Registering a domain name: mistakes not to make

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The domain name of your website needs to be catchy and descriptive of the content that one would find by visiting. It needs to be memorable and easy to type by even the most novice of Internet users. Although you might have the perfect name for your site in mind, there are several ways that it could be detrimental to your purposes. Once you pay to register a domain, there may be no going back. What can you do to avoid making mistakes when registering a domain?

Things to avoid when registering domain names

Depending on how long you pay for the registration of your domain, it may be the name of your website for several years. In most cases, you may not be able to change this once it has been registered. Pay attention to how you’re setting up your website in order to avoid embarrassments or errors.

  • Too long to type

    You don’t want a domain name that takes too long to type. Even if your company has an excessively long name, it would be better to condense it for Internet use. For example, a company named “Bob’s Coffee House and Internet Cafe” would be considered too long. This could be condensed in ways such as, “BobsCoffee.com” or abbreviations such as, “BCIC.com.” Once visitors are on the website, you can then have the full name of the company displayed.

  • Play on words

    Some domain names have innocent enough intentions. However, domains don’t normally separate specific words in order to promote the site. Some names can be assumed to mean one thing and not something else. For example, a website for pens, named “penisland.com” could be viewed as something less innocent. The popular tech-help website of “ExpertsExchange.com” can also be misread as something else entirely. In some cases, a play on words such as this may not be realized until much later. If you can avoid such word play, it may be better for your site.

  • Improper TLD extension

    The Top Level Domain extensions are also important when considering the name. Although the most common TLDs end with .com, .net or .org, there is currently a wide list to choose from. Some extensions have specific requirements such as living in Asian countries when registering .asia names. Many people associate the extension with what the website delivers. For example, .org is usually associated with organizations and non-profit establishments while .gov is associated with government websites.

  • Names which are too focused

    Generalizing what your business does may be more pertinent for those looking for your content. For example: If you serve award winning chicken at your restaurant, you may be tempted to use “BestChicken.com.” However, you then alienate those individuals looking for the steak and other foods you may serve. Not everyone likes the taste of chicken and someone may be looking for information regarding steak. If you serve many different foods, a better domain name would be, “CookedDelicacies.com.” Although, it may be better if you could use the restaurant’s name as it will help in online branding and marketing.

  • Brainstorm other ideas

    Before you’re ready to register a domain, brainstorm and come up with different variants. This will help in case the name you’re looking for is unavailable. Many people have spent quite a bit of time looking at the computer screen as they try to come up with a name that hasn’t been taken yet. This is where a thesaurus can come into use as you find similar words in order to create a unique site. Having a short list such as this could save you a lot of time while helping you find the names you want to use instead of automated suggestions.

  • Spellcheck

    Before you submit your order to register a name you want to use, always spellcheck. All too often, website owners will submit an order and register a name that has been misspelled. While some people will simply use the domain name anyway, others may be more inclined to make another purchase to get the name they want. Instead of owning a single domain, these individuals now have two. Take a moment and make sure the name is exactly how you want it spelled.

  • Hyphens

    Although domain names can use hyphens, it’s best if you could avoid these at all costs. Many professionals believe that a hyphen makes the site look cheap and unorganized. There have also been studies performed where hyphenating the domain name to accentuate keywords had no real effect in search engines. In fact, these sites performed poorly against sites with the same name without a hyphen.

What to look for when setting up a domain name

By taking some time and planning out the strategy of your website before registering a domain name, you can optimize the chances for future success. From the marketing aspect of your site to using specific keywords, it can all play into how well the site will perform.

  • Social marketing

    If you could match your website to a social media handle, you can begin to create an even flow of cross marketing. For example, the Twitter handle “@google” is related to the popular search engine “google.com.” Matching the social media aspect to your website may help strengthen the online reputation of your site.

  • Keywords

    Try to use at least one keyword in your domain that refers to what you’re trying to accomplish. Although it may not play a part in optimization techniques, it can still help people identify your content. It helps visitors relate what to expect within your site. A domain named, “ChadsFishEmporium.com” would prompt potential visitors to believe that it’s a website related to fish. Would you trust a site named “Fax.com” or “CarFax.com” when looking for automobile information?

  • Site preservation

    People will often use the TLD extension of a site in order to ride on the coattails of the success of someone else. Instead of .com, someone could use your site’s name using a .net. If an unsuspecting visitor uses the .net extension instead of your .com, the other website owner could steal your traffic. This is why many people will purchase various extensions and have them redirected to the primary website.

For example, “google.net” is automatically redirected to “google.com” when someone types it into their browser. Many website owners don’t put much thought into protecting their sites from such extension hijacking. If you can afford to do so, buying your domains with those various TLDs can help protect your site from those looking to cash in on your success.

The integrity of your domain name will play a prominent role in how well the site will perform on the Internet. Take the time to develop a domain name that is effective and logical for what you wish to accomplish. It will directly affect your online reputation.