Tips for choosing domain name from experts

Avoid trademark problems

Once you've decided on your top choices for your site name, make sure you are not violating anyone's trademarks. To check within US, visit uspto.gov/trademarks and do the search before you register the name. It is always good to check now because this could kill a great website and business down the road. Also, if you are going to include some big name product, such as Twitter or Facebook, review their terms and conditions. Most will not allow you to use their name in any part of your domain. - Ogi Djuraskovic - FirstSiteGuide team


Make it memorable

Word-of-mouth marketing is still the best of all. If you want to help your brand spread faster, make your domain easy to remember. Having a great website won't matter if no one can remember your domain name. - Ryan Shelley - Search Engine Land


Go after .com

When it comes to extensions, being unique isn't always better. While new extensions like '.me' or '.pro' may feel hip and eye-catching, '.com' is still the easiest to remember and most often used. In fact, _ of all websites use a '.com' extension. If you can't get the '.com', go with other well-known extensions like '.co' or '.net' or '.org'. Then plan on acquiring the .com in the future. Of course, you'll need to check who owns the .com first. If a big brand already owns your preferred .com, you won't be able to afford to buy it from them down the road. Unless you make mega bucks. But what about those country-specific extensions, such as '.nl' for the Netherlands, or '.de' for Germany? These are perfectly fine if you're not planning to do business outside the country you select. For instance, the .ca extension is great for a Canadian company operating solely in Canada. - Denis Pinsky - Forbes


Register Your Corresponding Social Media Handles

Social media is key these days - whether we like it or not. The average web-connected human spends one hour on Facebook every day, and, in total, Facebook gets 2 billion visits a month. That's BILLION. What I'm trying to say is: People are much more likely to check what's going on with your brand on Facebook than by actually visiting your website. This is just one of the reasons why you absolutely have to have your professional profiles set up on the most popular social media sites. Whenever possible, get the same handles as your domain name. If these are taken, be creative and use some suffixes or prefixes. Some options: now, daily, hq, get, app. For example, my fictional Lotterio.com brand could go by LotterioHQ on Twitter. - Karol K - Winning WP


Choose '.com' first

Up to 75% of all websites are '.com' domains. It is still the preferred extension and the easiest to remember. If your number one name choice isn't available, then try your second choice before accepting other TLDs. Remember that some browsers accept address-only entries in their address bar. If you type just the domain name (and who knows how many of your users will just do that?) they will return, by default, to the '.com' site. - Ogi Djuraskovic - FirstSiteGuide team


Use a Thesaurus for Domain Name Ideas

Okay, so no matter what I say about picking a domain name that's brandable, simple, has a good ring to it, is easy to memorize, and so on and so forth, the fact of the matter is that coming up with a truly good name is hard. Sometimes, you'll easily go through tens of different terms before you settle on that perfect one, while other times nothing will seem good enough. In that case, Thesaurus.com can be the secret weapon in your arsenal. The site will help you find synonyms and also provide quick definitions to help you not to make a silly mistake by building your domain name around a word with a meaning you've misunderstood. Note: As I mentioned above, it's not advisable to just go with a standard, dictionary word as your domain name, even if it comes from a thesaurus. Always add some modifiers to it, or turn it into something original by changing a few letters here and there. - Karol K - Winning WP


Make it unique

Your domain is part of your brand. Making sure it stands out is extremely important for you and your users. Having a domain that closely resembles another popular brand is never a good idea, as it can lead to confusion. Be careful that you're not trying to be too unique, however. Forcing an alternative spelling of a common word can lead to big trouble. An example cited in the book, 'The Art of SEO: Mastering Search Engine Optimization,' is that of the popular image site Flickr. When the site founders established their domain, they did not use the standard spelling, flicker.com, and they may have lost traffic as a result. They ended up having to purchase the correctly spelled domain and have the additional domain redirect to Flickr.com. - Ryan Shelley - Search Engine Land


Don't fall for trends

Just because something is trending now, it doesn't mean it always will. Copying what someone else is doing can lead you down the wrong path. Stay away from odd spellings and lots of hyphens or numbers. Keep it simple, focused and easy to remember. - Ryan Shelley - Search Engine Land


Make sure the name is available on other social media sites

When picking your domain, check other social media sites to make sure it's available on those sites too. If you use the same name on your blog and on Twitter, Facebook, etc., it solidifies your brand and makes it more memorable. My favorite tool to check your name across all networks at once is Namechk. Another tool is called knowem? (hat tip, Kikolani) but as of this writing, they don't check Instagram for you which these days, is a must. - Amy Lynn Andrews


It's okay to append or modify it

If your domain name is not available, it's okay to go out and add a suffix or a prefix. It is okay to use an alternate TLD extension, like we talked about previously, and it's okay to be a little bit creative with your online brand. For example, let's say my brand name is Pastaterra. Maybe I've already got a shop somewhere maybe in the Seattle area and I have been selling pasta at my shop and now I'm going online with it. Well, it is okay for me to do something like ThePastaterra.com, or PastaterraShop.com, or even Pastaterra.net. With these rules in mind, I would love to hear from all of you about your domain choices, domain name biases, and what you think is working in 2017. Hopefully we'll see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care. - Rand Fishkin - Moz


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