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Selecting a Good Domain Name

First, realize that a "good" domain name that sticks in the mind requires more than simply using a fictitious vanity name. However, it is imperative to note at this point that registered names have the ability to stick in the mind more effectively. Jack Trout once wrote that "The mind hates confusion, complexity, and change." Therefore, simplicity is of colossal importance since long or obscure URLs can be easily forgotten.

For example, rather than having a name with too many words, such as or, you should get a very simple In fact, more and more companies and commercials are dropping the "www" from their URLs. Most Internet addresses can simply use "," which is an even better alternative. In essence, the simpler it is, the better.

The importance of having your own domain name goes without explanation. It is the same as branding your business or product. But there are 3 reasons why you need a good, simple, and memorable domain name. First, there is the mnemonic factor. Instead of going through the inconvenience of numerous search engine results to get exactly what they want, most people will attempt to go to your site directly by guessing your domain name and typing a plausible URL in their browsers.

Mnemonics are words (or a combination of words) that are easy to remember. A repeatedly visited Web site is one whose URL, for example, includes the use of mnemonics. If it sticks in the mind, even if the URL is bookmarked, the site can be easily retrieved and will be visited often. "Yahoo!", "HotBot", Time Magazine's "Time" and our own "DotFactor" are perfect examples of mnemonics at work.

The second element is the credibility factor. People often associate long URLs with free Web sites or sites of lesser quality. People have a natural tendency to make what I call UPAs (or Unconscious Paralleled Assumptions). In other words, if people notice that your site is hosted by a free or cheap provider, they will unconsciously assume that a parallel exists (i.e., that your product or service is just as cheap). Your domain name is like the headline of an article, and people will likely judge and visit your site according to its domain name.

Always remember that perceived truth is more powerful than truth itself. And a vanity domain name tends to heighten the perception of the Web site's value. As such, the UPA visitors will make with a domain name will often be one in which they conclude that the quality of the Web site will be as good as the name implies.

Finally, the third reason is the the actual positioning process. If your domain name reflects your site's core benefit and instantly communicates how different you are from others, your URL will be positioned above the competition in the minds of your market. Since this element is the most important, let's deal with it a little further.




Dot com names are the gold standard on the Internet. Millions of advertising dollars have already been spent persuading customers that Dot com names are the only names worth having. The latest web browsers will even default to Dot com if no extension is specified. Always register the Dot com version of your name, even if you choose to register others. Dot net, Dot org, Dot cc, Dot tv, etc. etc. Which ones should you register? Our advice is to try to register at least the Dot net version of your name, possibly the Dot org as well.


Using a free domain is probably the worst mistake that you can make when setting up your business online. You can can register your own domain name for as little as $8.95/>

If you can get hold of a generic domain name for your business, you have a great marketing edge. Generic names are easy to remember, but their killer advantage is that they produce a regular flow of potential customers to your site without you having to spend a dollar on marketing. A recent case illustrates the point beautifully. The publishers of a computer game starring Brazilian soccer start Ronaldo have offered 150,000 US Dollars to the owner of the name The publisher was quoted as saying “Anyone searching for information on Ronaldo, whether it is about the forthcoming PlayStation game or any other related merchandise, is automatically going to If we don't secure the name in the next two weeks, we are going to have to spend considerably more on Internet advertising than we would have if we had owned And generic names need not be limited to single words. Many people interested in the Thai language for example will try typing into their browser before resorting to the search engine lottery. To summarize: generic name = free customers.


KISS "Keep it Simple, Stupid". Use easy to spell words. Use easy to pronounce words. Limit names to two words if possible, three words as an absolute maximum. Remember the idea is to create domain names people can easily remember and just as easily type into their browser.

Domain names can now be up to sixty seven characters in length, but we would never advise you to register a name anywhere near that. The golden rule of selecting a good name is short is sweet. Would you like to type a sixty seven character domain string into a browser? No, and neither does anybody else.


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