5 Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a Domain Name

19.03.2019

By: Drew Germyn

Categories: Guides

Choosing the right domain name for your website is almost an art form. You need something that identifies your company, fits your brand image and is memorable and easy to type.
 
Since so much rides on choosing a good name, it’s essential to get it right. Assuming you can come up with a name that’s clever and representative of your brand, there are still some common pitfalls that can sink your website before you launch it.
 
Our speciality is first class hosting, but we know a thing or two about domain registration, too. With that in mind, here are 5 mistakes you must avoid when choosing your domain name.
 

1: Including Numbers

 
The first mistake to avoid during domain registration is including numbers in your domain name. To get an idea of why this is difficult, imagine saying your domain name to somebody. If it’s got a number in it – especially a low number – people may not be sure whether to type ‘5’ or spell out ‘five’ to get to your site. If they choose wrong, they might miss your site entirely. Even if they land on your site, they may wonder if they have the right company and bounce away.
 
Using numbers might be acceptable if it’s a number like 24 since few people will assume that they need to write it out. But, in general, you want to eliminate guesswork and make it easy for people to get your URL right the first time.
 

2: Eliminating Vowels

 
Another common mistake people make during domain registration is eliminating vowels to shorten their business name. While this can work for large companies with substantial marketing budgets, it can be the kiss of death for small companies.
 
For example, what if you had a business called Merry Cow and you decided to eliminate vowels for your domain name. First, you’d need to decide whether to count Y as a vowel. You’d probably leave it in because it makes the name of your business clear, but it’s still going to be confusing to people to type in mrrycw.com to get to your website.
 
Simplicity is the key. Make it easy for people to remember your web address, and they’ll be more likely to recommend you to friends.
 

3: Using a Weird or Difficult Spelling

 
It can be very tempting, when choosing a business name, to pick a strange or memorable spelling. It’s a lot like naming a child. You might think it’s cute to spell your child’s name in a new way, but your child might not thank you when they experience the frustration of constantly having people misspell their name.
 
You can sometimes get away with cute spellings, but make sure to test your ideas out before you commit to them. The last thing you want is for people looking for you to spell your domain name wrong and wind up on someone else’s site, instead.
 

4: Using Homophones

 
Homophones are very popular in business names and, if used correctly, they can be quite memorable. However, if you’re not cautious during domain registration, you may run into the same problems that you would with an alternative spelling. By that, we mean that people may end up on the wrong website.
 
There are exceptions, of course. If you choose a play on words that’s easy for people to remember, you might be able to get away with using a homophone. Here are a couple of examples:

  • A shoe store could use a name like “Sole Sisters” because people associate the word “sole” with shoes and are unlikely to confuse it with “soul.”
  • A bakery could use a name like “Flour Girl” because people associate the word “flour” with baking.

 
That said, be careful that your meaning is clear. If it’s not, choose another domain name.
 

5: Adding Hyphens

 
In some countries, like Germany, adding hyphens to domain names is common. However, it’s a risky thing to do in other places.
 
If you have a domain name in mind and it’s taken, you may be tempted to add hyphens so you can still use the name. Using our above example, we’re talking about the difference between solesisters.com and sole-sisters.com.
 
The problem with hyphens is that you’ll need to mention them when you tell people your domain name. People are likely to forget them and may end up on the site of the competitor who took your first choice. Think twice before adding hyphens during domain registration.
 

Bonus: Violating Trademarks

 
Here’s a quick bonus item for you. Before you commit to a domain name, make sure that you’re not violating a trademark. You can do a quick search at Trademark247 to find out.
 

Conclusion

 
The best way to avoid the mistakes we’ve outlined here is to give your new domain name a test run before you commit to it. How? Just call some friends and tell them the name you’ve chosen and ask them how they’d spell it. If they all get it right, you’re good to go – and if they don’t, you still have time to choose something that’s not confusing.
 
To learn more about Localnode’s domain registration services, click here now.

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