Hello my name is Laila and I am a domainaholic.
(Cue: Hi Laila!)
I have dozens of domains registered under my name. Of all those domains, I’ve only actively worked on around 5.
Of those 5, I only update 3.
I have a really bad habit of getting ridiculously excited over some tiny idea that bubbles in my brain and I’ll immediately think “holy cow this is going to make me a bazillion gajillion dollars!” So I go out and buy the domain for it immediately.
Some of those ideas have remained in my head, others have been erased.
Most of the time when I get round to working on a website, after a few hours (sometimes in just minutes) I’ll realize what a dumb idea it was because:
- it would require an entire team of people to get it to work or
- I find it exhaustingly boring to continue
According to recent stats, there are 284 million registered domain names. In order for you to stand out, you’d better pick a good one.
That being said, here are five things you should know before registering your domain.
1. Keep it Simple
Your domain should be easy to:
When I was brainstorming domain names for my children’s website I thought to myself, “I’ll keep it simple and call it Kids Talking.”
Do you know what that looks like as a URL?
www.kidstalking.com – Your one-stop resource for pedos.
Homaigod. That’s how I ended up with childrenspeakfunny.com
Steer clear of having a domain that has a word ending in the same letter that the next word begins with: www.sucessstoriessecrets.com
Likewise, watch out for abbreviations. There’s a property developer in Malaysia called “Mammoth Empire Property.” Sounds pretty impressive and grand right?
Their URL is www.meh.com.my
I shit you not.
Also, I recommend staying away from hyphens/dashes. You don’t want to lose traffic because people forgot to add the dash in your URL.
E.g. www.amazing-stay-at-home-moms.com (it’s also a pain in the ass to type dashes). Go with www.amazingstayathomemoms.com if that’s your thing.
I mean, imagine telling someone in person to check out your website at “amazing dash stay dash at dash home dash…” Yeah, fuckit.
Another red flag, number substitutions instead of words. E.g. www.weightloss4less.com I don’t know, personally when I see a number in a URL I immediately think it’s some scam product. Keep it classy, use actual words.
Unless the numbers are actually part of your brand like www.learn123.com (totally pulled that out of my ass.)
I think the only exception to this rule is if you buy the domain of your actual name i.e. www.lailazain.com Yup, it can be a pain telling people where they can find me because both “Laila” and “Zain” are either unfamiliar some or have multiple spellings to others.
Hopefully if you are branding yourself, people will know who you are and using your name would be the easiest, best option to go with.
2. I Like .coms
If you’re going to pick any other extension other than a .com, you’d better have a damn good reason to.
Such as, branding purposes.
For example .fm is actually the domain extension of the Federated States of Micronesia, but it works incredibly well for radio stations because well duh. Hitz.fm is the most popular station in Malaysia and they’ve got the domain to go with the brand.
For Belgium, the domain extension is .be Imagine starting a really edgy online sex store with the domain lu.be I love it. But I’m not even gonna try checking if that website exists. Not interested in having a computer virus tyvm.
Another reason to not pick the .com could be because the domain you wanted was already taken, but “Hey look! The .net is available.”
I really have to advise you against taking that .net.
If the .com is already taken, it’s likely being used and likely generating traffic and likely in the exact same niche as you. If you tell someone to find you at everythingisawesome.net, they will more than likely go to everythingisawesome.com because .coms are more common. And you will lose your lead. To your competitor.
3. Being Creative vs Being Direct
If you run a business, it’s likely your business name is unique. But if you’re starting an online business and your domain is the first step to naming it, I suggest being direct over being creative.
- Take my kids’ website as an example: Children Speak Funny.
- What is it about? Children who speak funny.
- Where can you find it? ChildrenSpeakFunny.com
That’s being direct.
Being creative? I don’t know, CuteKidsAndGiggles.com? I kinda like that. No idea what it’s about, but I kinda like it. It’s not a good example.
Another website I really love is This is why I’m Broke. The URL is www.thisiswhyimbroke.com. The content is a bunch of products you can buy online that are equally ridiculous in nature and price.
For example, toilet paper made entirely out of gold that retail for $1.4million.
4. Don’t Get Sued
This is pretty straight forward and obvious. Watch out for copyright and trademark.
Using super unique brand names like Google, Samsung and Starbucks in your domain name is going to get you into trouble. At best, they’ll send a cease and desist letter to you meaning you’ll have to take down your site and all your time, effort and money will be wasted; at worst they’ll sue you and you’ll be fucked.
If you are specifically setting up a website because of a certain trademarked brand then be smart about it.
Writing this might get me into trouble… Hmm…
Oh well! I will just delete this portion of the post if it does.
So, back to getting around using trademarked names… Gaming guides are a big business. A new game is released, lots of people play it, lots of people get stuck at certain places, lots of people are willing to pay money to be better, faster, earn gold, level up blah blah blah.
Let’s say that game is Candy Crush. You want to create an online gaming guide about Candy Crush that shows people how to get past hard levels, get more boosters, get higher scores or whatever. If you tried to purchase CandyCrushGuide.com you’d probably get into trouble. Because Candy Crush is coprighted.
Instead, you could purchase c-crushguide.com. Not illegal. But just watch out.
To be safe, just stay well away from trademarks and copyrights and build your own brands instead 😉