Forbes had an interesting article today that talked about the importance of having a good domain name to compliment a good business idea. Along with reinforcing the importance of domains in general, they put together a list of qualifications for a good domain:
Make It Foolproof
Typos happen. While you can’t control the occasional fat-finger mishap, you can minimize confusion on exactly what people should be typing when pulling up your site. Omit slang (using “4” instead of “for”) and eliminate words that have multiple spellings. Additionally, avoid:
- Mixing numbers with words: (gØØd-dØmain.com)
- Hyphens: (good-domain.com)
- Homonyms: (suite-domain.com)
- Abbreviations (2cool-domain.com)
You get the general idea. In short, make it virtually impossible for online surfers not to find you.
Your website isn’t only trying to wrest attention away from your industry competition; it’s actually fighting to be seen amongst millions of other registered domain names. Catchy and clever are must-have features. Test out ideas with friends to see if they love them as much as you do.
Using long, overly-complex domain names also increases the risk of typos or misspellings (or boring your audience completely before they even finish typing). Keep it short and sweet by using just one or two words, max.
(Source – Forbes.com)
The article goes on to cover what makes a bad domain name citing issues like domains that are too long, bland, or hard to type.
I personally always look at two tests – the radio test and the billboard test. Here’s what each of these means and why I think they’re pretty darn important:
Radio test – if someone were to hear your domain over the radio, could they remember it and type it correctly when they get in front of a computer or smartphone?
Billboard test – if someone drives by a billboard going 70 mph on the freeway and sees your domain, can they remember it and type it correctly when they get in front of a computer or smartphone?
One piece of advice that I don’t really agree with in the article is:
If you’re keeping things local, using .org or .net or other available choice is a potential solution to your domain name dilemma.
I personally don’t think .ORG is a great option if you’re trying to “keep things local” since .ORG really is a better fit for non-profits. Instead I personally would suggest .IO, .ME or .CO if you can’t get the .COM but like the article says, .COM should be the focus and you could be kicking yourself later down the road if you don’t pick .COM out of the gate.
What do you think? Did Forbes share some decent tips or did the article miss the mark? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!