Useful tips for choosing a good domain name

Do you want to get your business on the Internet? In that case, it is essential that you choose a good domain name. But how can you do this? And what are the possibilities? Here are a few tips...

 

1. Rethink your business plan

Having to choose a domain name is exactly as having to choose the name of a company when you start one. When you wrote your business plan, you most probably already mulled over several questions: What is my business? What product am I going to manufacture or sell? What service am I going to provide? What is my target audience? Will I target the local market (area, city, country) or the international market? Should I come up with a separate brand name for my product/service or should I rather operate under my own name? The answers to these questions will put you on the right track to choose the most appropriate domain name.

2. Domain name: brand, generic or both

If you came up with your own brand name when you started your company, things are quite simple: your brand name will become your domain name, at least if you have carried out sufficient research when you chose your brand name and if you made sure there is no other company with the exact same name in Belgium or elsewhere.

However, you can also go for a generic domain name, a generic term that is related to your product or service. The more generic the term, the more likely it is that your potential customers will easily remember your name. Fruit grower Jennings can e.g. register “thelittleapple.be” or “fruitishealthy.be”.

And why not combine both? If Jennings.be has already been registered by another descendant of the Jennings line, the fruit grower can always choose FruitJennings.be or ApplesJennings.be.

 

3. Domain extension: local or international

The domain extension or Top-Level Domain, i.e. the part of the domain name that comes after the dot (e.g. .com or .be), is also very important. Here, you can choose between a country code TLD (ccTLD) like .BE, .NL or .FR, and a generic TLD (gTLD) such as .COM, .INFO or .BIZ. By going for a ccTLD, you let people know about the country in which your company is located and the market that you target (the local market). With a gTLD like .COM, your company can build a more international, but also a more anonymous image. And there is also an intermediate solution: the .EU domain extension, which allows you to stress that you target the entire European market.

 

4. The new generic Top-Level Domains: an ocean of possibilities

In addition, you will soon have the opportunity to choose from more than a thousand new gTLDs. Not only will this allow you to register your dream domain name more easily and at a much lower price, but this extension will also make it possible for you to emphasize your identity.

With an extension like .LAW, .SURGERY, .VET, .DOCTOR and .EXPERT, you can allude to your profession: lawyer, surgeon, vet, doctor, expert. The product you sell gets an extra dimension with .NOW, .FUN or .SEXY, but .HALAL and .KOSHER are also possible options. Quenching people’s thirst and feed them will now become easier with extensions such as .MENU, .BAR, .CAFE, .REST or .FOOD.

By the way, with the new gTLDs, you also get extra geographical options. From now on, in addition to .BE, you can also register .VLAANDEREN or .BRUSSELS domain names. Ghent, which has gradually become the Silicon Valley of the mobile applications, will be the first Belgian city to launch its own .GENT gTLD.

The possibilities are virtually endless. The most important thing is that you know what is available so that you can make your choice. Combell has uploaded a handy overview including all available new domain extensions.

 

5. The hacks

And finally, there are also smart domain names: the “hacks”. By using a clever combination of a domain and an extension, you can come up with short and striking domain names. Famous examples include Pla.net, Del.icio.us, blo.gs, love.me, bit.ly and goo.gl. In order to help you create such combinations, Combell published a comprehensive list of all possible extensions. On this site, you might get some inspiration for these hacks.

 

6. The golden advice by auntieli.ly

  • The shorter the domain name, the less users have to type, the better
  • Use your brand name or your family name, if necessary combined with a generic term (fruitJennings.be).
  • A sentence is also a possibility (applesarehealthy.be), but avoid long sentences
  • Using capital letters in your communication will improve the readability (ApplesAreHealthy.be)
  • Make sure to check if such sentences are not ambiguous. (without the capital letters, PenIsland.com, OddsExtractor.com, WhoRepresents.com, PowerGenItalia.com and ExpertsExchange.com, for instance, have a completely different meaning!)
  • Do the radio advert test: is the domain name clear enough for the listener, without you having to spell it out?
  • Avoid using hyphens in the domain name. Otherwise, in the radio advert, you would have to spell out apples-jennings like this: “Apples, hyphen, Jennings”.
  • Choose the domain extension taking into account your identity, location and target audience.
  • Do not hesitate to go for one of the new gTLDs; you can currently register great sounding domains for a trifle.
  • Avoid free domain extensions such as .TK – they undermine your professionalism.
  • Do not use (registered) trademarks in your domain name if they do not belong to you.