If you’re new to domain names, it’s easy to end up with a horrible one for your website. Over a hundred thousand domains are registered every day and thousands more are purchased on the aftermarket, with the majority being poor quality domain names.
We’ve shared a lot of information to help you get a better understanding of what makes a quality domain. Whether you follow our advice or someone else’s, some of it may not fit your situation.
A lot of general domain name tips are given in vacuums, not in consideration of particular circumstances. We do bring up certain circumstances and give alternative routes, but even then individual situations may wind up being different enough to warrant an exception.
We generally practice what we preach in getting the URLs we develop or sell, but sometimes we end up buying some exceptions. The more experience and success you have with domains, the more you can use your gut to help guide your individual domain name decisions.
If your involvement with domains will only be the business brand URL you get, you can’t get hands-on expertise. You then rely on the tips you read in articles like ours, but if there are exceptions to every rule or tip, what should you do? You can consider some causes for exceptions and generally be on alert as you go through them.
Why shouldn’t you follow every tip about domain names?
1. Some advice is simply bad advice
We’ve seen some surprisingly awful advice on choosing a domain. Some have suggested getting the keywords you want to target but adding a random number at the end if the exact matching domain isn’t available (so we could end up on DomainNames6.com rather than Domainate.com – not very memorable). Some have suggested a domain with hyphens is actually preferable to one without, to help visitors read the domain.
Tips such as these aren’t just wrong, but they can be devastating for those who follow them. There are SOME cases where a number or hyphen can work in a domain, but certainly not in general cases as described in these tips. If you were to follow this advice, you’d effectively bury your site before it’s live.
We post articles like this based on our expertise built over many years to help you cut through some of the misinformation you might hear from others.
2. You can’t afford the best option
We always talk about getting the right domain. Part of this is getting the best one that fits your business within your budget. There’s a reason why some absolutely amazing category-killer domains go unsold for years – many companies that could make great use of them simply can’t afford them.
You should definitely do more than register an available domain in most cases, but the domain name cost for the right one should be something you can handle.
3. The best option is not for sale
“Everything has a price” is a phrase commonly used, but it’s not always true for domains. Some registrants of premium URLs may be using them or may otherwise not sell for any price. Others may ask for ridiculous prices well beyond the value of the domain name. Great domains are valuable, but they are not invaluable.
If a top tier domain name is in use, or if the owner has extremely high selling price expectations, the price would be well beyond its worth to you even if you could afford it. As much as you shouldn’t expect to get a killer deal on the URL you need, it doesn’t make sense to buy it for far too much either.
4. Certain industries/markets have different quirks
It’s always worth considering the market you’re going into. Many think that .org isonly good for non-profits, but there are some areas that have made good use of .org even in for-profit use such as finance, politics, education and law. Given the better quality names you can get in .org for the price, going with a nice .org domain may work out well for you in these areas.
Another example was when the online poker/casino world stormed the TV world with commercials advertising their .net rather than .com. Why? It allowed them to advertise the “free” site on their .net and feed people into their gambling site on their .com. They could have used any extension but .net became the trend.
5. A risk may be worth taking
The domain hack we use for our wholesale and training division, Doma.in, is not a standard kind of URL we would recommend using. We don’t own Domain.com or Domain.in and may be losing traffic to both. Also, domain hacks are generally used for URL shorteners or social media sites, not for more serious business-oriented sites.
Any sort of unusual domain is a risk and in our case, we felt it worked. The domain community appreciates domain hacks more than most other communities including social media and the scarcity of other domain-related hacks makes it highly unique. Also, one of the drawbacks of domain hacks (difficult to say aloud) doesn’t apply to ours.
Overall, we felt the strengths of the name outweighed the risks.
6. Your gut instinct guided by other expertise says it’s an exception
A word of caution – if you don’t have a basic understanding of domain quality and what to look for, using gut instinct with domain names can be dangerous. In fact, that’s what the majority of people getting poor quality of domains do. Knowing good URLs from bad ones seems much easier than it really is.
If you do have a solid understanding of domain names, business and marketing however, then your gut instinct may guide you to a reasonable decision. You could make a decision that’s not the best, but still far from the worst and far better than what most others would decide. Many successful entrepreneurs starting additional businesses tend to make sound decisions due to their other expertise.
That said, if you do feel lost even after reading articles on how to choose a domain, we can help you make the best decision. We’ve helped new startups brand and billion dollar corporations brand and rebrand with great success. Contact us if you need a URL for your business and want to start off the best you can.
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