Choosing a domain name for your website these days isn’t as simple as you might think. A nice article on Web Guild today highlights some of the issues and provides some tips in choosing a domain name for your website. From the article, a 25 point checklist in choosing a domain name:

  • A to Z considerations (in directory / visibility terms, aardvark beats zulu, baby beats yup…)
  • Don’t be silly with the placement of the dots (that’s you I’m talking about, Delicious!)
  • Avoid negative connotations (depends on the target market of course, but in general this is a good idea…)
  • Punchy or plain weird FTW (hey, if you want memorable, why not try something a little off the wall?)
  • Avoid initials / acronyms (did anybody ever ask you “WTF does ROTFLOL mean?”)
  • Available on social media platforms (obviously handy if you can also bag the name on Twitter, Youtube, Digg, etc)
  • Avoid numbers (looks cheap, I hate textspeak, and using numbers also leads to spelling questions)
  • Multinational spelling (avoid z and s issues, for example… optimize / optimise)
  • Aesthetics (some letter combinations work better than others, as logo designers will no doubt testify)
  • Sound (does it roll off the tongue?)
  • Make it easy to pronounce (lest you have to spend big to educate people on how to say it…)
  • Cheap (why spend $28,000 on a ‘premium domain name’ when I can build you a whole business for that amount? There are some exceptions to this rule!)
  • Flexibility (it’s good to build in a little room for movement, in case your business changes direction)
  • No hyphens (we recently lost the hyphen in our brand name, and it caused all kinds of headaches… punctiation is to be avoided)
  • Singular (plurals suck nine big ones, especially when the singular alternative is out there)
  • Target market friendly (you must do some research and canvass opinion, lest you get it badly wrong)
  • Synonyms (think about related words and phrases associated with your sector, but don’t get too obscure… you shouldn’t need to explain yourself)
  • Keywords (if possible it is wise to include at least one strategic keyword; multiple keywords joined together do not always make for the best brand names)
  • Meaningful (but not necessarily descriptive! Remember to allow for flexibility. Dallas Carpets, last I heard, was not solely based in Dallas…)
  • Domain name must match the brand name (obvious, no?)
  • Unique (easy to track growth and watch your brand go viral via Google etc; avoid trademarks; it’s nice to have ownership of a new word / verb etc)
  • Available in .com and other key extensions (go for the set! You can do it!)
  • Short (up to 67 characters are allowed but at a brand level it is best to stay short, lest people start abbreviating your brand name…)
  • Easy to type (reduce guesswork. If anybody asks ‘how do you spell that’ then you might have failed…)
  • Memorable (only time will tell, but aim for something that is immediately memorable. If you forget about it the next day it may not be the best sign!)