7 Tips When Registering a Domain

Domain Registration
Everyone wants a killer domain name these days. With estimates of over 10,000 domain registrations per day, sometimes it can seem like good domains have become an endangered species. Consider yourself lucky to live in a day when mainstream internet is still in its teens and with a little effort you can find a number of good domain variables out there. The challenge is finding a domain that is available, relevant, memorable and intuitive. With that said, here are 7 tips to help you register that perfect domain name you’ve been searching for.

1.) Make it Memorable
With so many different domains online, it’s easy to get lost in a crowd. One of the best ways to stand out is by crafting a domain that is clever or witty. Making your domain uniquely odd will gain attention and be remembered. For example, if I have a side business selling baseball cards, the domain CrackerJackCards.com is shorter and much more memorable than BestBaseballCardSeller.com. Consider using lingo from the industry that is relevant for your market rather than common terms that could already be taken. Using uncommon words also gives you a better chance at finding a shorter domain.
2.) Go for the .com First
By far the most popular Top Level Domain (TLD) is Com. Here are a few of the more common TLDs to consider if you aren’t familiar with them: Com, Net, Biz, Info, and Org. The majority of searchers out there will put a .com on the end of every domain. Many people still think there aren’t any other domain extensions available. If you don’t own the Com extension, you’re missing out on a lot of traffic.
3.) Consider Misspellings
To protect your brand and prevent misdirected traffic, consider registering any common misspellings of your domain. If you find yourself misspelling your domain, chances are, other people are too. Domains with double letters in them are constantly misspelled when the second letter is omitted. As an example, if you owned the domain WeddingGuestRegistry.com, you should also purchase WeddinGuestRegistry.com. In addition, typosquatters and competitors are always on the lurk. Protect yourself by owning these misspelled domains. Once you own the misspelling, just redirect them to your homepage as always. Here’s a typo generator site that will spit back a list of common misspellings of your domain.
4.) Buy other TLDs
When it comes down to it, paying an extra $15+ dollars a year isn’t too much to ask for all the additional traffic and peace of mind you’ll get by registering other TLDs. Cybersquatters and competitors are always looking for ways to increase their profits, and you should too. If you don’t register other TLDs of your domain, chances are, your competitors just might. Our domain registration page will let you check for domain availability.
5.) Keep it Short
It goes without saying, the shorter the better. If you have a short domain, it will be easier for people to remember and find. Short enough for ya?
6.) Don’t Include Hyphens or Numbers
Although you might see a lot of domains with hyphens in them, I would suggest doing otherwise. I know it’s so tempting when you see that your desired domain is taken and all you need to do is insert a hyphen and you’ve got it! Inserting odd characters like a hyphen in your domain name can often cause you to miss out on traffic. Many times, people forget to include the hyphen and be directed to the other domain that you originally wanted. The hyphen can also get lost in translation, like when you tell someone over the phone. The same thing goes for substituting a number where a similar phonetic word would go. I’m not pointing any fingers (numbers 2 and 4), but you know who you are.
7.) Consider a domain for Promotional Purposes
When running a promotion, try buying a domain that fits the name of the promotion and use the domain as a landing page. That way, if you were to do any advertising for that promotion, you can mention the promotional domain name so it sticks with your audience even better.
Did I miss any? Of course I did. What other tips do you have when choosing a domain? I know there are plenty of hilarious and often sad stories about domain registration out there waiting to be told. Let’s hear them.
Additional tips:

  • If you want to protect your personal information from the public whois records when you register your domain you should consider getting domain privacy. For all 4.0 WestHost clients, you can check out our Domain Privacy (Whois Privacy) service to help you with this. Login and click on “Domain Registration.”
  • If you’re not intentionally registering for a misspelled domain, make sure you check the spelling of the domain BEFORE you purchase it. Let’s just say I now know that the word “fashion” is spelled with an “i”.
  • If your domain is simply a side project rather than your business name, and you are just trying to test it out to see how it goes, it’s best to do a 1 year term. This will save you from overpaying for a sunk domain if doesn’t work out.
  • If you have a new business idea, be sure to check the domain availability of your new business before you register the name legally or begin printing those T-shirts and fliers. If you plan on selling the business in the future, it will be more profitable if you also own the domain of the business name.
  • If you register your domain for 1 year but you aren’t sure if you’ll want it after the 1st year, make sure you set a reminder a few weeks before your domain us up for renewal so you don’t lose it when it expires. You can also or consider setting an auto-renew if you’re worried about forgetting.
  • If all else fails and you can’t find your ideal domain available, you can always take the route of choosing a commonly know, zany, single-term domain. This method has been known to work out for some companies.