When setting up your first website or blog, it’s critical to choose a great domain name. While it doesn’t have to be a permanent decision, changing your domain name in the future can be a very unfriendly process and lead to several potential problems. Below are some of the things I think are most important to choosing a great a domain name.

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Always Use A .com

Choose A Great Domain NameOver the past several years, many new domain name extensions have come out on the market such as .info, .guru, and even specialized extensions like .solar. Of course, before these existed, you still had .net, .tv, .org, and a few others. But still, to this day, nothing beats a .com domain and that probably won’t change for a while.

Look at all of the major and successful companies out there. Almost all of them end in a .com. Yes, there are exceptions, but the majority of sites out there go with a .com because it is still considered the “authority” extension. There aren’t too many major companies or successful blogs out there ending in .info or .net. So, in order to choose a great domain name, you should go with what already works. No need to re-invent the wheel.

Am I saying you can’t choose a great domain name if it ends in anything other than a .com? Not at all. In the end, domain name extensions will have a very small impact on your overall search rankings, so if you really must get that .biz or .me domain name, go for it. Just understand that for now, a good ol’ fashioned .com domain name is still a major trust factor. Whenever I need to choose a great domain name for a new site, I go with a .com.

Don’t Use Dashes

While having one dash in your domain name probably won’t be a big deal as far as search rankings, having any more than 2 dashes will begin to negatively effect your search engine optimization. I don’t think it’s possible to choose a great domain name if you have dashes in your domain. A “good” domain? Sure, but not great. Also, dashes in a domain name do not help your trust signals, while a clean domain name without dashes will boost your trust with visitors. Remember, most visitors will form an opinion about your site in just seconds. So stick with a domain that doesn’t have dashes. They’ve been abused and spammed over the years.

Now, keep in mind the two previous tips are coming from someone who owns the domain name Drive-Safely.net. That was my very first website and I’m still regretting the domain name. Yap, I didn’t take the time to learn how to choose a great domain name and I’m still paying for it today. I never should have used a dash and I never should have gone with a .net extension. The site still does well, but eventually I will change the domain name.

Make It Relevant OR Brandable

Brandable Domain NamesThe obvious side-effect of following my above advice is that you will severely limit the options to find a great domain name that is still relevant to your business. Most of the really great .com domains have been gobbled up long ago, but get creative. You have a couple options here…

Your first option is to make your domain name relevant to your site. What I mean by that is, make sure the domain name itself describes what your website is about. The shorter the better, but try to include at least one keyword related to your website topic. This site, for example, is AffiliateMarketerTraining.com. I could have also called it something like MikesMarketingBlog.com or AffiliateTrainingSite.com or something like that.

The second way to choose a great domain name is to make your domain name brandable. This takes some creativity, but there are many successful blogs and websites who have used this method. Just look at the biggest websites in the world like:

  • Google.com
  • Facebook.com
  • Twitter.com

Those are all basically made-up words that can’t be found in the dictionary. They also don’t state anything about what the business is or does. But, they are short, catchy, and memorable. Since brandable words are often completely made up, you can often times find a short and catchy domain that is not already registered.

Use The Radio Commercial Test To Choose A Great Domain Name

Just pretend for a moment that you have the money right now to advertise your website on the radio. How would it sound when the announcer proudly announced your domain name? Would it be easy to understand? Would it be easy for listeners to spell? Is the domain name memorable?

This is another reason not to use dashes. Can you imagine if I ran a radio or TV ad for my drive-safely.net website? The dash alone makes it fail the radio test.

Don’t assume you’ll never be in a position to advertise. YouTube advertising, for example, costs just pennies per 30sec ad you run. You really need to have a great domain name if you want to advertise through a lot of sources. Advertising has become affordable even for small solo entrepreneurs. Expect your blog or website to be a success.

I hope this helps in your efforts to choose a great domain name and good luck!