Choosing the right domain name for your website

If you’re looking at starting a website from scratch and already have an idea of the community you’re going to be targeting the website at then you’re in a wonderful position of being able to find a domain name that suits before you launch your website.There are a few different schools of thought on what to do when picking the right domain name for your website however here are my suggestions, some will be obvious but it’s worth getting the obvious points lined up in a row to make sure you’re covering all the main questions you should ask yourself;

Is this domain relevant to my community?

Picking the right domain name from scratch is something some people worry about a lot while others just don’t put that much value on the domain itself but are more interested in the content and traffic.Coming somewhere between these two opposites is a solid approach. Try and find something that your community will immediately recognise is something they would be interested in. Having keywords that you’re targeting for SEO in the domain is good but shorter domains are easier to type in for repeat visits so the decision becomes a pay-off between those two factors.If you’re hoping to have people type the domain directly into their browser at some point, try to steer clear of using hyphens “-” and never use abbreviations.Overall, you have to be comfortable with the domain name yourself as it’s going to epitomise your website’s front to the world.

Would a localised domain be better to target my community?

For example in New Zealand it’s a good idea to be using a .co.nz however if you’re targeting Australia the best option is a .com.au. While there are exceptions to the rule in every case, localisation is a good idea.

Is there a domain I could purchase that would be worthwhile?

Generally I would not suggest purchasing a domain to build a website on as there are still plenty available (particularly local .co.nz domains) that will be relevant to your users that will not cost you more than standard registration.One situation where this may be useful is if there is a live website already that has been around for some time building content and links from a community that matches your new venture. If you can find a site for sale such as this (rare but worth looking into) you’d be best to work through a domain brokerage service such as sedo as there are more than a few dodgy domain sellers out there who will promise the world and not deliver.

Have I asked some other people for their opinions and/or ideas on the domain I’m thinking of registering?

Feedback from people who are likely to use the website (or at least other people in the industry) is invaluable. Someone else may see something in the domain that you didn’t see which has happened is some rather embarrasing corporate blunders in the past!

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