Don't be a cowboy-pirate.
OK, here's the thing.
I had a friend once who was, shall we say, a little impressionable.
He was a great guy.
Super nice. Loyal, generous. He would lay down in traffic for his friends.
Salt of the earth kinda guy.
But he was a little impressionable and a bit impulsive.
What I mean by that is when I first met him, he was into cars. So he wore a racing jacket, Mac Tools t-shirts and talked about cars all the time.
A couple months later, he watched a western movie and really liked it.
The next time I saw him – he had cowboy boots, jeans, a cowboy hat and a full-length slicker.
Fast forward another few months, and he watched a movie about pirates.
After that, he began thinking about joining the navy & started using all sorts of lines from the pirate movie.
At this point, he was a cross between a cowboy and a pirate.
Nothing wrong with that. A guy can do what he wants.
But when it came to defining him, it became a bit more difficult as you never knew what he would be into next.
It created a certain amount of confusion.
And it can be the same way when you go to choose a domain name – if you choose a name that has all kinds of weird variations, or a couple themes crammed together, it can leave people scratching their heads.
When registering a domain name for your website and brand, we don't want any strange cowboy-pirate domains that will confuse everyone.
With that in mind, here are a few tips to choosing a great domain name that will keep you afloat.
1) List the Top 10 Keywords for Your Niche
Come up with a list of 10 terms that broadly define your market. Things like "real estate", "broker", "flowers", "moving". List some terms that pop up in your industry / niche that help identify your market and the topic of your site.
You want people to be able to identify what sort of industry or niche you're in by the domain name alone when they first hear it.
You can't be a pirate AND a cowboy at the same time. It just doesn't work.
You have to choose one or the other.
2) Be Original
Don't name your website like someone else. Don't use any variations, misspellings of already popular domain names or brands.
You need to be original and come up with something memorable for yourself. Having a domain name that's similar to something someone else has will only cause your brand to be diluted or mistaken for the larger brand.
3) Keep It Simple
Don't over complicate your domain name. You want it to be short and memorable – not 150 characters long.
The longer it is, the more likely people will miss-spell it.
4) Don't Use Hyphens
Just don't do it. Hyphens in a domain name are just asking for trouble. People always forget to use them.
And while we're on the topic, try to avoid using numbers in your domain name (both the actual number characters like the letter "1", as well as the spelling of them like "one").
Again – it just causes confusion.
Confusion just like cowboy-pirate.
5) Only Use a.COM Domain
I know some people think it doesn't matter. But it does.
Basing your brand on a.net or.org if the.com domain isn't available is going to cause the vast majority of people to go to the wrong site.
By default, people will always try the.com domain extension first.
It's going to be really difficult for them to remember if you have something other than that.
So if the.COM version isn't available, just move on and find something else.
There you have it – 5 tips to choosing a great domain name that will help keep you on course when it comes to navigating the waters of choosing a domain that will chart the course for your online adventures!
On a related note: make sure you register your domain from a reputable company – or you might end up dealing with some real online pirates. Which would obviously suck.
If you haven't already got website hosting, you can get a great deal on hosting and a FREE domain name, which can save you $ 10-20 right off the bat.
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