Over the last 36 months alone more than 1000+ new Top Level Domains (sometimes referred to as TLDs) have become available for people to register new websites with.
Before that, there were only 22 different options – with choices like .COM, .NET, and .ORG the far and away most popular options (and it wasn’t even close).
But because so many people are building websites these days, and because those “traditional” TLD options are starting to get used up, more were necessary to allow the internet to continue to grow and expand at the pace it does today. People are getting used to writing different TLDs into their browser address bar in a way that most people never thought possible even just five short years ago.
Back then if you didn’t have a .COM address the odds are pretty good that potential prospects and clients were punching it into the address bar anyways and heading to your competitor’s website!
If you’re registering a new domain name today, however, you need to really think through a number of key factors before you sign on the “digital” dotted line and make this the new permanent home for your online platform.
Below we highlight some of the most important things you’ll need to consider before you take the plunge!
Choose a relevant TLD
We aren’t going to tell you that there’s a better TLD to go with them .COM if the domain name you are interested in is available with that TLD – because there isn’t.
Over the last 30 years or so, the overwhelming majority of influential and credible websites have had this TLD attached to them. It’s so prevalent that it is almost second nature for people to punch this TLD into their address bar at the end of a domain without even thinking about it, just assuming that websites on the internet and with a .COM suffix.
If you’re going to go with a different TLD you’ll want to make sure that it is relevant to your domain name, that it is easily remembered, and that it is distinct enough from .COM that people are going to remember it when they manually type your site into an address or search bar.
Avoid using acronyms or hyphens
There are plenty of different reasons you want to avoid using acronyms or hyphens, but the number one reason has to be that it can lead to a lot of confusion and plenty of misspelling when people go to punch your website into a browser bar – and that again is inevitably going to send potential customers and clients to other websites instead of yours.
It’s also important to remember that acronyms and hyphens aren’t going to help boost your search engine optimization the way that a more traditional domain name could. This is a big piece of the SEO puzzle that you want to get right, so really try and focus on creating a domain name that is easy-to-read, easy to write, and will improve your odds of ranking highly for the terms you are shooting for.
Keep things short and sweet
Shorter domain names are always easier to remember, always easier to type out, and almost always “stick” in the minds of your potential prospects, clients, and customers better than domain names that drag on and on (and on).
The cloud storage company Dropbox originally started with the domain name “getdropbox.com” but almost immediately recognized their folly and instead shorten things to “dropbox.com” – a domain name that is not only much easier to read and type into a browser, but it looks cleaner and eliminates a lot of confusion as well.
Keep things tight and organized when it comes to your main web address and you’ll be good to go.
Consider how you’ll use this domain name, too
Your domain is going to be the main way that your online visitors find your website, but the odds are pretty good you’re also going to be using your domain name and a couple of other places – online as well as off.
Look to choose a domain name that is crystal clear and easily understood when typed out and printed on business cards or merchandise, a domain name that can also be acquired on social media platforms, and a domain name that isn’t going to look gigantic when you have individual email addresses attached to it, either.
These are all big pieces of the puzzle that far too many people overlook when they go to register a domain name, but essential elements that have to be considered if you’re going to make the most of everything your new digital platform has to offer.
At the end of the day, as long as you focus on the key details we highlight above – and use some good old-fashioned common sense – you shouldn’t have trouble finding the perfect domain and registering it with ease.