So you know you need a website, and you want to make it professional by getting a custom domain name for it. By default when you create an account with webs you receive a site address of yourusername.webs.com. But, a custom domain name will give your website uniqueness and credibility.
How do you select the right domain name? This requires a little thought. Below are some major points to consider when registering your own domain name.
Your Business, Your Brand, Your Domain
Take some time to brainstorm on phrases or terms that match your brand and business. Using the right phrases will create the right expectations for your visitors. They will know what your website is about because your domain name is relevant to your business. Another consideration is if the domain name has commercial appeal. Will the domain name look good on business cards, print advertising, commercials, etc.
It's a good idea to make sure your domain name is unique. Sometimes, it might make sense to look for available domain names before deciding on a business name, or your website name.
IMPORTANT: Make sure your domain name does not infringe on anyone's copyright. Check out this link for resources.
Short or Long? All in a Name
Most good short domain names are no longer available. It is not a good idea to try to shorten your domain name unless you can get a domain name that makes sense and follows all the points mentioned above. You can integrate your site keywords into a longer domain name works as an indirect rank factor in search engines.
TIP: What is an indirect rank factor? In this case, because people may link to your domain name, the keywords used in the domain name will be text on their pages. This indirectly impacts your search engine ranking.
While it is possible to use up to 67 characters in your domain name, it's not a good idea to have very long domain names. People will have a hard time remembering your domain name, and the longer the name, the greater the chance is of mistyping it.
TIP: It is not necessary to included "www" or "com" in your domain name. These by default are included in the site address.
Using Special Characters, Can you and Should you?
It is only possible to use letters, numbers, and hyphens in a custom domain name. It is not possible to use ampersands(&), spaces, apostrophes (') or other special characters in your domain name. And, by default, all domain names are lowercase.
While you can use hyphens and numbers, it is advisable to avoid both when at all possible. For instance, a zero (0) looks a lot like an O, and could cause confusion when your visitors are reading your site address. Also, hyphens are difficult to dictate, so if a visitor is telling their friend about your site, they may not remember the hyphens, or where they go, in your site address.
TLD? Dot Com? Country Code? What does it mean?
TLD stands for Top Level Domain. It's the .com in the dot com of your address. TLDs can be .com, .org, .net, .biz, etc. You can also go for a ccTLD, or a Country Code Top Level Domain like .co.uk, .ca, .de, etc.
Why is this important in selecting a domain name?
Ideally, everyone wants to have a .com address. It's traditional, and considered professional. However, it's not always available, or relevant. For instance, if you have a local business, you might want to get a country code top level domain from your country. Or, if you are a non-profit, you want a .org domain name.
If you plan on building a brand, it is a good idea to get the same domain names with different TLDs so that they can all point to your same website.