I bought my first two domain names in 2000.  I do not recall the first name.  The second was for a Christian website named Christian-Home.org.  That domain name was a real learning experience.

Back in those days a domain cost $40 a year so mistakes were costly.

I learned two things from my early domain history.  In the case of Christian-Home.org, there was two things that confused people.  One was the hyphenated name and the other was the extension of org.  People repeatedly told me they could not find my website.  In talking with them I was able to determine they were dropping the hyphen and / or  not using the extension of dot org, instead using dot com.

Today I recommend a couple simple rules when choosing a domain.

Choose a name that best reflects the theme of your website

For example, If you are a real estate agent try to use a term that is your city or region and contains a real estate related term as well.  In an effort to create a really good domain I like to start by doing some research to determine what people are searching for.   And then create a domain name based on that research.  A domain name that is an exact match to a search term is the best.  How to determine what people are looking for is outside the scope of this article.

Don’t hyphenate

Creating a domain that does not contain a hyphen is the lesson I learned in 2000 when I bought and tried to use Christian-Home.org  Back in the day and maybe even now hyphenated domain names were confusing and hard to remember.

Always go with dot com

Another lesson I learned from trying to use Christian-Home.org.  I work on the web daily so you would expect that I would not be confused by a non-dot-com domain, right?  Wrong – a while back I was trying to print some tax forms when I went to irs.com instead of irs.gov.  Imagine my surprise when I saw advertisements for TurboTax.  My first thought was the Government was selling TurboTax.  Then I realized I was on the wrong website.  Choose a dot com or risk losing traffic to the dot com version of your domain.

Select a domain that is easy to spell

You may reduce the number of visitors to your website if you choose a domain that is not easy to spell.

Select a domain that is short

Short is always good.  Who wants to type in 60 or 70 characters so they can visit a website?  There may be an exception like a company name, however long domain names should never be the norm.

Catchy domain names are easy to brand

Look at GoDaddy.com.  Catchy and easy to remember.

Domain names that are easy to remember add great value

Sometimes it is better to choose a domain that is easy to recall and that might be a little catchy than one that contains search terms.

Choosing a domain name is not to be taken lightly

Your domain is an integral part of your web presence.  I suggest taking some time in choosing the correct domain for your web presence.  Choosing a domain name should not be taken lightly.