Selecting a Domain Name

Several things come into play when selecting a domain name. The name must be easy to remember, contain no hyphens, be relatively short, not easily confused with other domain names, describe what your website is about, and end with “.com”.

Select a domain name that is easy to remember. Names like, while not very descriptive are easy to remember. You probably do not expect a visitor to come to your website just once. I’m sure you will want your visitors to return often.

Selecting a domain name that is easy to remember is a key factor in getting visitors to return to your website.

Select a domain name that contains no hyphens. The first domain name I registered contained a hyphen. That was over 7 years ago. I told everyone about my website and gave them my domain.

When I later saw them, they told me they could not find my website. What I learned was the hyphen confused most people.

Stay away from domain names that contain hyphens.

Select a domain name that is relatively short. Keep your domain down to 20 characters if possible. Long domain names are hard to recall, tedious to type, and easily misspelled.

Select a domain name that is not easily confused with other domain names. In some cases this can be good if the other site drives relevant traffic to your website.

However you do not want relevant traffic leaking from your site.

Select a domain name that describes what your website is about. This is almost always a good idea. Funny, easily remembered names like GoDaddy can also be good. With a non-descriptive domain name you will have to brand it. Branding a domain name may be difficult.

I prefer descriptive names because they do not require as much branding and are associated with your website theme.

Select a domain name that ends with “.com”. I cannot stress this enough.

I shared with you the experience I had with my first domain because of the hyphen.

Guess what? It was a “.org” domain. Not only did the hyphen confuse people, the “.org” compounded the problem. Almost everyone went to the “.com” of the name.

This can also work in your favor. I was looking for tax forms several years ago so I went to Well, was I surprised. There was an ad for Turbo Tax. I thought it was odd that the government was selling Turbo Tax. Then I realized I was on the wrong website.

I’ll bet the owner of is getting a lot of traffic because people automatically go to the “.com” instead of the “.org”.

As you research domain names you will find most of the good ones are taken. You will have to get creative. You can still get good domain names. Recently I was at a meeting when someone shared he had just bought Pretty good name. I just bought I find it harder to find domains today than I did 3 years ago.

If you apply these simple suggestions you should do fine when selecting a domain name.

Keith Smith

Hi, I'm Keith Smith. I built my first website in 2000. A lot has changed since then. I've been a freelance PHP developer since 2006. If you would like to reach out to me visit my contact page click here to go to my contact page or feel free to call me directly at 480-748-9893. Look forward to hearing from you soon!!

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