A domain name is more than just a web address. It's your calling card in the digital world. People finding you online can be the difference between success and failure, so choosing a domain name that accurately represents your business and helps you achieve your goals is essential.
In fact, a recent study by Verisign found that nearly 60% of small businesses are dissatisfied with their current domain. So while finding the perfect domain name is complicated, avoiding these ten common mistakes will help you get one step closer.
Do Not Use Numbers
When you select a domain name for your website or blog, it is essential to avoid using numbers. Although it may be tempting to use numbers to create a unique or keyword-rich domain name, this can be detrimental to your website's success. Search engines often have difficulty indexing websites that include numbers, making it difficult for potential visitors to find your site. In addition, people are more likely to remember a domain name that is easy to say and spell. For these reasons, it is generally best to avoid using numbers when selecting a domain name for your website.
Do Not Use Hyphens
When choosing a domain name for your website, it is essential to avoid using hyphens. Although hyphens can help make a long domain name more readable, they can also cause problems. For example, if someone forgets to include the hyphen when they type in your URL, they will be taken to a different website entirely.
Additionally, search engines may have trouble indexing domains with hyphens, which can adversely affect your site's ranking. So when selecting a domain name, it is best to stick with a simple, easy-to-remember name that doesn't include any hyphens.
Do Not Use Trademarks
Selecting a domain name that is both memorable and meaningful is crucial. First, however, you should avoid using trademarks in your domain name. While using a well-known trademark to attract your site's attention may be tempting, this can be risky. If the trademark owner decides to take legal action, you could be forced to give up your domain name and start from scratch.
In addition, using a trademark in your domain name could confuse customers and damage your reputation. Ultimately, when selecting a domain name for your business, it is best to play it safe and steer clear of trademarks.
Do Not Use Hard-to-Spell Words
This may seem like a trivial concern, but it can actually have a significant impact on your website's traffic. For example, if your domain name is challenging to spell, people may be less likely to remember it when trying to visit your site.
Furthermore, even if they do remember it, they may be more likely to make a typo when they are typing it into their browser. As a result, they may end up on a different website entirely.
To avoid this problem, choose a domain name that is easy to spell and easy to remember. Not only will this make it easier for your visitors to find your site, but it will also help to increase your traffic and improve your search engine rankings.
Do Not Use Homophones
Homophones are words that are pronounced in the same way as other words but have different meanings, even if they are spelled differently. For example, the terms "they're," "their," and "there" are all pronounced in the same way but have different meanings. Therefore, using a homophone in your domain name could be confused with another website with a similar-sounding name.
This could result in visitors being directed to the wrong website, which could damage your reputation or cause you to lose business. To avoid this problem, choose a unique and easily distinguishable domain name for your website.
Do Not Register a Very Long Domain
While it may be tempting to register a long Domain name to secure all relevant keywords, this can be detrimental to branding. A lengthy domain name is difficult to remember and can be jarring when seen in print. It is also more likely to contain typos, which can lead potential customers to a competitor's site. In addition, a long domain name can make it challenging to create a visually appealing logo or email signature.
For these reasons, it is essential to strike a balance when choosing a domain name. It should be short enough to be easily remembered and typed but still include the most relevant keywords to your brand. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your domain name will be an effective tool for branding your business.
Do Not Register a Domain That is Not Available as a Social Username
These days, it's essential for businesses to have a presence on social media. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram provide an opportunity to reach out to potential customers and build a loyal following. However, it's important to remember that consistency is critical when it comes to branding. If your business has different names on different platforms, it can be not very clear for customers and make it challenging to build a cohesive identity.
That's why choosing a domain name that is available as a social username is essential. Having the same name across platforms will make it easier for customers to find you and help you create a stronger brand identity. So if you're starting a business, choose a name that you can use consistently across all your marketing channels.
If you want to check whether your intended username is available on social media accounts, try our social media username checker tool – which is free to use!
Do Not Restrict Yourself to a single TLD
Domain squatting, also known as cybersquatting, is registering a domain name to sell it for a profit later. While it is legitimate for someone to buy a domain and later sell it at a profit, it can be frustrating to find your desired domain is neither available to buy nor being used!
That’s why it is often prudent to purchase your domain on multiple top-level domains (TLDs). If you do not buy the most relevant TLDs, it’s possible that a squatter could purchase them and decide to sit on them which means that you can’t buy them. It’s also possible the squatter might immediately offer them to you at a higher cost. The worst of all options of course is that these domains are sold to someone who your customers might confuse as you.
Getting the .com, .org, .com, .net & .inc could be a sensible starting point plus a few of the country-code top-level domains (ccTLD) that correspond to countries where you do business.
Taking these precautions can help protect your brand from squatters and ensure that your website is always available.
Do Not Buy a Domain from Someone Without Researching
Buying a previously used domain name can be a great way to get a head start on your web presence. However, it is essential to research the past use of the domain name to avoid any potential problems. For example, a domain name that has been used for spamming or other unethical practices may be blacklisted by search engines, making it difficult for your site to be found by potential visitors.
Additionally, a domain name penalized by Google in the past may also be less likely to rank well in search results. By taking the time to research the history of a domain name before you purchase it, you can help ensure that you are getting a quality website address that will not cause any problems down the road.
Check if Similar Domains Exist
Many companies make the mistake of choosing a domain name that is similar to that of their competitors. While this may seem a good way to get attention, it can confuse customers and damage brand recognition. For example, two companies in the same industry may have domains ending in ".com." However, if one company has a domain significantly different from the other, customers may have trouble remembering which website they visited.
Additionally, having multiple similar domains can make it difficult for search engines to determine which site is most relevant to a user's query. As a result, it is essential to choose a domain name that is unique and easy to remember. Additionally, businesses should avoid using common misspellings or abbreviations of their domain to capture more traffic. Doing so will only confuse customers and dilute the effectiveness of branding efforts.
Choosing the right domain name is essential to the success of your online business. By avoiding common mistakes, you can help ensure that your domain is easy to find, memorable, and unique. Additionally, taking steps to protect your domain from squatters can help prevent legal issues down the road. With a little research and planning, you can select a domain name that will be a valuable asset to your business for years to come.