Best Ways to Choose a Domain Name

choosing_domain_nameSelecting a domain name is kind of like selecting the name of your company. The name that you choose has to be catchy, stand out, and really make people think. If you're currently in the process of choosing a domain name, take a look at these 8 essential tips.

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8 Ways to Choose a Domain Name

  1. Can you spell it? You may think it's a great idea to select a name that sounds complicated, but if people can't spell that name, they probably won't remember it. Or, worse, they will frequently misspell it – and that kind of typo means that many users will never find your site.
  2. Consider your name. Do you have a catchy name? Something that's hard to forget? If you plan on creating a brand for yourself, you may want to simply turn your whole name into your domain. Again, keep that spelling factor in mind!
  3. Skip the hyphens. Hyphenated names are never a great choice. Why? It's simply too hard to forget this kind of a name. Instead of using a hyphen, think about spelling a name straight. Most of the time, the hyphen will just get in the way of people remembering where your site is located.
  4. Be sure your name doesn't already exist. You may not find another URL that shares your domain name, but what about other sites? Is the name you're thinking about already in use on social or other sites? If so, this might not be a great choice. Otherwise, you'll have a hard time really getting your brand out.
  5. Make sure your domain name has something to do with what you're selling. Candy.com may sound great (it's taken, by the way!), but if you're selling coffee it's probably not the best idea.
  6. Don't confuse people with extensions. Love the idea of putting a .uk at the end of your domain? If you are based in the UK, go for it. Based in the USA? Don't just choose a .uk extension. See how that goes?
  7. Choose a great web hosting company. Don't go with a cheap hosting company that gives you a generic domain name. You'll want to purchase your own domain name. Otherwise, that hosting company may just legally own the name that you choose.
  8. Ask around. Ask your friends and family members what they think of the name you are considering. If the response is negative from many different people, your domain may need a lot of work.

Need help picking a domain name? It can be tough finding a domain name that really works on all levels. Let us know what names you are considering, and we will help you out. Or, just post the name you are thinking about below, and we'll let you know what we think.

Domain Name Trademarking: Should You Do It?

Domain Name Trademarking

Can you trademark a domain name? Should you? I recently came across a really interesting article written by Internet lawyer, Rick Chapo. Chapo argues the case for trademarking a domain name, and a lot of what he has to say makes good sense.

Domain names are, by nature, tricky things. Opting for a cheap web hosting with free domain name site might mean that you don't actually own that name. Choosing to pay for a domain name doesn't actually guarantee your right to own that name either, though. There are also technicalities to consider. Some domain names can be purchased and owned (trademarked) and some can't.

Here's the breakdown.

Which Domain Names Can Be Trademarked?

tm mark Domain Name TrademarkingI love coffee. But, I can't trademark the domain name: www.coffee.com. Why? It's too vague. Chapo states that a domain name can't be “merely descriptive.” It has to be specific.

So, Starbucks, for example, can trademark www.starbucks .com without an issue because it denotes the exact name of a company or brand. See the difference?

A trademark is “…a word, logo, or phrase representing a product or company.” Keep this in mind when choosing your domain name. Choosing something specific that relates directly to your company is the best way to protect your domain name. But, you might want to take it one step further.

Domain Name Trademarking: Expensive But Necessary

When you trademark something, you tell the world: I own this. You add a date, time, and place to the thing that you own by sending in all those legal papers to the trademark office. You put your stamp on your business.

This type of security is necessary in an online world where nothing seems to be secure – especially cheap web hosting with free domain name sites (we'll get to those in a minute).

An even better point that Chapo raises has to do with any dispute involving your domain name. Did someone steal your domain name? Is someone using it without your permission? You have to register that name before you take legal action.

Considering the fact that it takes months to complete the trademark registration process, you might want to trademark from the start. Otherwise, tough cookies. You name can be used and there's little you can do about it.

More Steps To Take

Before you trademark your domain name, you have to make sure that the name is free to use. This requires a search process. The name you are choosing can't, in any way, be close to another trademarked name. Then comes the actual registration part.

Chapo warns that undergoing this search process on your own is time-consuming, and could result in time wasted. If the registration process isn't completed sufficiently, you'll have to begin again. Coughing up the cash to make sure that your domain name trademark is handled properly might just be worth it.

Can You Trademark a Free Domain Name?

This is where it gets tricky. If you are using a cheap web hosting with free domain name site, read the fine print on that contract first. More often than not, free hosting companies own your domain name. So, no, you can't trademark a free domain name that is owned, legally, by a hosting company.

My advice is this: purchase your own domain name; trademark that name; and use the services of an Internet lawyer. Or, at least seek some legal advice before attempting to trademark a domain name on your own. Domain name trademarks may be rare when it comes to smaller businesses, but you can bet the world's biggest companies have all of their trademarks in a row.

Can You Trademark a Free Domain Name?

The Future of Domain Names

Future of Domain Names

Domain Names
Choose the right domain name for the product that you sell.

Cramming a company name into a .com domain name can be tough. More to the point: .com doesn't really do much for any company. Wouldn't it be better to personalize a domain name? Well, in the future, that might actually be possible.

Starting next year, TLD (Top Level Domains) will be releasing 1,000 new possibilities. So, you may just wind up with .awesome after all. Really, though, if you want to help out your business, you will choose a domain name that sells what you are selling. These new domain names could be used to your advantage.

Future of Domain Names: Selling Through A Domain

People don't usually remember a website name. Not unless that name is really catchy. Something like sellsellsell.com might actually, well, sell. The current problem is that all the best domain names seem to have been taken already. That's one of the reasons why the TLD is putting some new domain endings out there.

These new domain names aren't just for businesses either. Hosting companies can definitely cash in on this change. If you currently run a hosting company, consider offering different domain names at different rates. Want a personalized domain name? Here's our rate! That kind of a deal will work wonders. Switching back to the consumer side of things, the same old rules will still apply next year when these domain names become available.

Future of Domain Names: Be Aware of What You Own

As I just mentioned, hosting companies will (and should) cash in on the new domain offerings. However, consumers should be aware, still, that domains generated by a hosting company might not be free. Often, those domain names are owned by a hosting company, and you can't take that name with you should you decide to move your website.

This brings me to another point: changing your website name. I've seen very few companies successfully change a website address. Sure, you can hand out business cards pointing to the new name, create a commercial, or try some kind of other ad, but once people get used to yourname.com, they will have a hard time switching to yourname.coffee or .tea. You see what I mean?

Future of Domain Names: Should You Switch?

It might all depend on how searches are conducted in the future. Adding a .boston or .nyc to the end of your site might mean more local traffic, and this is a good thing. My advice? Consider how long you've had your particular website domain name. Years? Months? If you've had it for more than five years, think hard and long before confusing clients with a name change — what if amazon.com became amazon.content?

If your website is relatively new, you might get away with a name change. Just pick something that will really sell your business. Don't choose .cheese because it sounds funny. Choose .glass because you sell glass. See what I'm getting at? The future of domain names is upon us, that's for certain. What's not certain is how these new names will play out — or if you should consider changing yours.