What Makes a Good Domain Name?

The first step in creating a webpage is to create and register your domain name. A domain name is your web address and what the viewer types into the location bar at the top of their browser to find your website. It is also called a URL–the Universal Resource Locator of your site. You can usually register your domain name at whatever web-hosting company, like GoDaddy, InMotion Hosting, or HostGator, you choose. If there is a duplicate domain to yours, you will find out when trying to register and can make adjustments as necessary.

A good domain name should be the title of your company followed by .com, or .org if you have an organization. In the past, I’ve asked students in several of my college classrooms (in Michigan and California) whether they would trust a website more if it were followed by .com, .gov, .org, .net, or .edu. I naively assumed that they would trust educational institutions the most since they were actually getting their education from a university. One would hope that it would be a trustworthy education. But alas, no, they answered .org or com. Few knew what .net meant. The only suffix lower than .edu, in their opinion, was .gov, somewhat to my relief. At least universities are trustworthier than the government! The problem was that university webpages try a little too hard to acquire students by selling campuses with lush landscapes and smiling, beautiful students. Our actual students quickly saw beyond the ideal after experiencing a couple of terms on campus. At any rate, using .com and .org then are the most desirable for businesses and organizations.

Using your business or organizational name will make it easiest for Google search engines to find your webpage. If your company title has already been taken, you can alter the name of your company–hardly a practical suggestion for most. Or you can spell it a bit differently. I created my domain name as mymediahatchery.com because mediahatchery.com was already taken. I wasn’t trying to reach the general public, so didn’t mind if the URL was an exact match. Or you can add your state initials to the URL, such as mediahatcherymi.com. Or abbreviate the name, like ibm.com.

Do everything you can to make finding your site easy for viewers. Here are some practical considerations for a good domain name:

  1. Short is better than long. Short names are simply easier for potential viewers to remember than long names and quicker to type.
  2. Use your company name. Ideally your domain name would be the same as your company name, such as apple.com. Of course if your company is named Apple, that domain is already taken, so it would be best to add a state location, if relevant, or a keyword to that, such as appleorchard.com or applemi.com
  3. Include location, if your intended domain duplicates another. A name such as billlautomotiverochester.com makes sense since most of the clientele will be local to the town.
  4. Abbreviate long company names.com (the ninth Internet domain name ever to be registered in 1987) is a lot easier to spell and type than hewlett-packardcompany.com. Most of the earliest companies in the 1980s abbreviated their company names down to three or four letters for their domain names.
  5. Include a keyword. Keywords are subject matter words that are used by viewers to find a type of business. So if you want to buy a book, you would do a search for “booksellers”. com works well because it is short, is the name of the company, and has a keyword embedded in the company name and domain.

Comments are closed.