Choosing a Good Domain Name

You’ve decided you want to start a website, either for your business or a personal site. Now what do you do? If you guessed that finding a good domain name was at the top of the list, you’d be correct. This process can be somewhat daunting, so we’ve come up with a list of guidelines to help you pick a good domain.

Generic vs. Branding

Generic domain names are usually dictionary words with a broad range of applications, e.g., Books.com, Coffee.com, Golf.com, and so on. Generic domain names are great because they can lead to direct navigation traffic. This means that people in search of these specific things can bypass search engines entirely. These generic names are often very expensive.

But if you’re an everyday Joe looking to build your personal or company brand, choosing a domain name that matches your brand is the way to go. This not only increases your branding, but it will make it easier for your visitors to remember your name. Your brand is also what sets you apart from everybody else, so having a unique domain name that matches your brand will do the same for your website.

Just think if youtube.com went with something like streamingvideo.com. Not very memorable is it?

Hyphens Begone

In researching what others have said on this topic, I came across my new favorite domain name:

http://www.the-name-i-wanted-was-already-taken-so-i-used-a-lot-of-dashes.com/

Sure, it’s a little snarky, but it gets the point across. You want to avoid using a hyphen in your domain name if you can. It might be slightly better for SEO, but it doesn’t look very good and it can make your domain name harder to remember. It’s also harder for someone to verbally recommend your website if there are one or more hyphens in the domain name.

Keep It Short and Simple

Get creative! Try using two really good keywords; three or four if you must. Once you start using five or more keywords things can get a little ugly. Again, you want your visitors to remember your domain name, so you want it to be as easy as possible to type.

However, keeping it short doesn’t mean you should resort to acronyms, especially if those letters spell anything funky.

You also want to be conscious of using keywords that share the same first and last letter, like hattricks.com or doggroomers.com. Sometimes you may not have a choice, but be aware that those double letters can be confusing.

Embrace Alternate Extensions

Despite what some domain purists may tell you, alternate extensions are your friend. In a world where most of the good .COM domains are already registered there are plenty of other options available to you.

  • Have your own video production company? Try using companyname.tv.
  • For a personal blog or resume site you might try using .ME or .IM to add a personal touch.
  • Non-profit? You might go with a .ORG domain.
  • If your business is only based in a specific country, why not use that country’s ccTLD (.US, .MX, .CA) to represent your business?

When it comes to alternate extensions you want to try and avoid using what are called domain “hacks”. This is when you use the domain extension to complete a word in your domain name. Sure they look pretty clever, but they don’t do much for you in the “easy to remember” category. Some examples of hacks would be: aweso.me, ilovefrenchfri.es, ridiculo.us, etc. There’s a reason delicious.com switched from del.icio.us, nobody could remember where the heck the dots went!

Be Careful With Trademarks

To quote Elmer Fudd “Be vewy, vewy careful.” Trademarks are no laughing matter and if you register a trademarked name, you can bet that the lawyers will be after you.

Check Your Spelling

It’s always a good idea to double, or even triple check your domain spelling before hitting that purchase button. Sometimes you think you’re getting a steal, but upon a second glance you realize you just registered pronnight.com instead of promnight.com. Doh!

The moral of the story is to get creative with your domain name. You want something that is unique, simple, and memorable. But remember, be careful not to step on any trademarked toes and always check your spelling!

Name.com Homepage Gets a Facelift!

Okay, so maybe it’s not a full facelift, but we did smooth out a few wrinkles and clean up a few blotches. Now the homepage is looking nice and refreshed!

We’re currently testing a couple different versions of this page, so the one that you come across may not look like the screenshot above, it may look like this:

If you get this page, nothing is wrong, it’s very intentional. At least that’s our story and we’re sticking to it. 😉

Naturally, the most important part of this is your feedback. So far the response has been really positive, which we’ll admit is a nice ego boost, but we’ve also received some good constructive criticism.

What are your thoughts? Do you like the new direction? Dislike? Why? We’d love to hear from you!

"I’m" Special!

We’re happy to announce that we’re currently running a super sweet special on .IM domains. For a limited time you can register and renew for the low price of $6.99!

This special pricing will be available through this fall, so you have plenty of time to come up with a good name or two, or ten. Perfect for your personal site, blog, or email, now’s your chance to tell the world how special you are with your very own .IM domain.

After all, you’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and doggone it, people like you!

Go Team Name.com!

Team Name.com

We came, we saw, we conquered the Tour De Cure Colorado!

It was a gorgeous day in Longmont this past Saturday and everyone had a blast on their different rides. Of course, I’m the only one who literally had a “blast” when I got a flat shortly after my halfway point. But the Tour staff were a great help and got me back on the road in no time.

Our Name.com jerseys caught the attention of quite a few people and we even ran into an enthusiastic customer out on the road, which is always a pleasure..even if we are sucking wind at the time.

Great ride, great cause. We’re really glad we participated. 🙂

Helping You Search Better and Faster!

Recently we’ve made some changes to our search page that help you search for better domain names faster. Most of the changes are subtle, so you may not even notice them. Of course, that is until we explain them all in 3, 2, 1…

Updated UI

We’ve added better paging and tabs to the search page for better navigation through your search results. In addition, you will now see suggested, premium, expiring, and internationalized domain names (IDN’s) next to your search results.

You will also see backorder options for domains that are currently not available. So if the .NET accompaniment to your .COM is taken, you can place a backorder for it now in case it ever does become available. And remember, we always give a full refund if you end up not getting your backorder, or if you cancel your order at any time.

Smarter Searches

We now use GeoIP technology to identify your location and show the appropriate TLDs based on that location. So you’ll see in my search that the .US domain is the third option after .COM and .NET because I am based in the United States.

As mentioned above, we now show relevant domain suggestions based on your search along with premium, expiring, and IDN domains that are related to your search.

Speed Improvements (Technobabble)

Some of the not so visible improvements we’ve made include:

  • Improved AJAX backend and Javascript interface
  • Fully supported asynchronous searching (we load the results as we get them instead of blocking the page while waiting for a slower registry)

All of which mean we can deliver your search results much faster. After all, it is our goal to provide the best tools we can to help you find the right name as quickly and painlessly as possible.

Have any feedback on the new search page? We’d love to hear it!

Nominate Us For a R.E.C.S.S.!

Yes, R.E.C.S.S. is quite the acronym and it stands for “Recognition for Excellence in Customer Service & Support.” A few customers have already nominated us, and for that we humbly say thank you.

If any of our readers out there have had a good customer service experience with us, you can nominate Name.com in either the “Online Service Provider” or “Hosting” categories here. If you haven’t had a good experience, then we certainly want to hear about it. We ask that you send us an email telling us what happened so that we can learn from it and improve our customer service going forward. Either way, we thank you very much for your input and support!

Riding For a Cause

This Saturday a team from Name.com will be riding in the Tour De Cure Colorado. The Tour is a ride that takes place nationwide and benefits the American Diabetes Association, we’re really excited about participating!

Six Name.com employees, including yours truly, will be partaking in the event and as you can see we’ll be sporting some pretty awesome cycling jerseys as we ride around scenic Longmont, CO. In addition to the swanky jerseys, Name.com is also proudly sponsoring the funds each rider has to raise for the cause.

We invite any local Name.com fans to come cheer us on, or even join us for a much needed beer after the ride. Cheers!

Question: Funniest Misspellings?

Happy Monday! We’re feeling a little inquisitive again, and this time we’d like to hear about some of the funniest misspelled domains you’ve registered.

Does this sound familiar? You think of an awesome domain name, you find that it is still available, and with the swiftness of a fox you push that checkout button…only to find out that “elite” does not in fact have two “L’s” in it.

Unfortunately this happens to the best of us. We want to know what some of your funniest misspellings have been, and just like last time we’ll give out $25 in account credit to a random commenter. So bring on the comments!

Security is Serious Business

Anyone that has had one of their accounts (bank, online, or otherwise) compromised knows it can be a total nightmare to try and resolve. It’s not just an annoyance, it can leave you feeling violated and vulnerable. This can especially be the case if somehow this happens to your domain account(s). Now whether you’re a domainer or a small business, your domains can be your livelihood, and it’s important to secure your domains as best you can to ensure no one else can get their grubby little hands on them. Enter Name.com and a nifty little service we have deemed NameSafe.

The NameSafe VIP service is part of the VeriSign Identity Protection (VIP) credential system and it adds two-factor authentication to your account. This means that in addition to a username and password, you must enter a unique, randomly generated code in order to log in. This provides a second, stronger layer of security on your account, and if someone without this credential tries to log in as you, their IP will be blocked after a certain number of failed attempts.

This VIP credential comes in the form of a credit card sized card that fits in your wallet, a key fob, and you can even download applications for your Blackberry, iPhone, or Android device. The service itself is free, but the card credential will run you $30, the key fob $10, and the mobile applications are completely free. Even if you decide to go the $30 route, it’s a small price to pay for the peace of mind of having your domains and your identity protected.

What happens if you lose your credential? Not to worry, our support staff can help you get back into your account. It will be a minor hassle, as you have to contact us, fax a copy of your ID, etc., but this is only to ensure that the owner of the account is trying to gain access. After all, protecting your domains is just as important to us as it is to you.

If you’d like to learn a little bit more about the NameSafe service, you can check out our product page.

Awesome WordPress Resources to Make Your Website..Awesome!

WordPress is a thing of beauty. An open-source blogging platform that gives you complete freedom to quickly and easily create, update, and manage your website. The only downside to having that much freedom is that it can get a tad overwhelming. Below is a list of WordPress resources we’ve stumbled across in our internet travels, and we hope you find them as useful as we have.

WordPress Codex

WordPress has done a great job of putting together this extensive knowledge base that covers just about everything you can imagine in relation to WordPress.

WPBeginner

Great beginner’s guide to WordPress.

Lorelle on WordPress

Fantastic resource from one of the volunteers that helps out with WordPress support.

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress Hacks And Customizations

Great blog post featuring links to various sources that show you how to customize your site.

Theme Lab

A nice collection of free and custom themes as well as a nice general resource for WordPress.

Free Theme Layouts

A new personal favorite of mine.

WooThemes

Awesome premium themes for people with a little bit more of a budget.

Plugin Directory

If you want to add something to your site, chances are there’s already a plugin for it. Trada also has a good blog post on a few plugins to help get you started.

WordPress Hacks

A site for the slightly more seasoned WordPress user.

We Love WP

A gallery of slick looking WordPress-powered site and a nice source of inspiration.

Page.ly

If you’re self-hosting your WordPress site, Page.ly is an awesome service that takes away all of the hassle.

WordPress Publisher Blog

Helping you get the most out of WordPress.
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The list can really go on and on, but these links should be enough to help get you started. If there’s anything you’d like to add, let us know in the comments!