Let’s start from where we left off. How on Earth do we land the best domain name?
Some of the requirements for the perfect domain:
- To be short – between 3 and 10 symbols sounds perfect.
- To be comprised of one single word or two, at the maximum.
- To be easy to remember, read, and write.
- To avoid using dashes and symbols the writing of which may be interpreted in a different way.
- To be .com or .bg – or both, if possible.
- To avoid identical alternatives with other suffixes (for instance, you have the .bg domain, while the .com domain belongs to a competitor).
- To avoid using non-Latin alphabet.
Despite the above-mentioned rules, there are many successful projects the names of which do not meet any of these requirements. Google, for instance, was a name that was wrongly spelled. They wanted to register the Googol domain but Sergey Brin and Larry Page made a slight spelling mistake and they did not have any money left to register another one.
If you already have a registered domain, there is no need to rush to change it, if it does not meet all these requirements. Here is why:
TeenProblem.net – These are two words, which is not good according to the theories of the perfect domain. The address suffix is .net, which makes it even more dis-likable following the success formula, and last but not least – it is not the shortest name possible. However, the website has 90% market share in its segment and managed to realize the biggest public deal in the Bulgarian internet in 2007.
NasamNatam.com [English: Here and there] – The domain has many symbols, two words, the dash between the words is deliberately omitted, and according to the experts, this should be too confusing for the consumers. Yes, but this is the Number 1 Tourism Website in Bulgaria according to Gemius and it has preserved its top position for more than eight years. An interesting fact is that there is a website with the same name but with a dash between the words and yet it does not attract misguided traffic because of the correct positioning of the brand and the optimization.
Peika.bg [English: Bench] – A website for travelers. It also has a rarely used Bulgarian letter in it. In addition, this name has nothing to do with the topic of the website, which is tourism. However, it stakes on a non-standard name, which is easily pronounced and remembered, just like Pepsi and Kodak. The result is clear – the major rival of the No 1 website NasamNatam for more than four years and probably the next No 1 in the near future.
The above-mentioned examples aim at showing you that the name should be funny, memorable, and relatively easy to write, but you should not restrict yourself following the rules about the number of symbols and words, type of words, or suffixes. If you have a good idea, it can start with almost any domain. Just for comparison – you may find many websites with domains that are seemingly perfect but yet they can hardly get into the Top 100, or Top 1,000 of any chart.
Brainstorming for website’s name
Many people, who lack experience, think of the name of a website as if they should come up with a name for the local pub. They invent a name, they visualize it with yellow letters on red background, they file the idea to the designers and programmers and… there is always a problem. This is due to the fact that often the name you have come up with is already used and respectively unavailable.
How can you find out whether the name is free or not? At many lectures I have attended I have heard the following answer: just type the name-of-the-website.com and if nothing opens then it is free. This approach is wrong because many people purchase names and keep them in order to sell them later or they do not launch anything until they develop their project completely.
The strategy that has always worked for me is the following:
1. Invite friends at the office or at home for a drink. The more eccentric persons are more than welcome.
2. Open a file to write down the proposals.
3. Open www.bluehost.com, click on domain and get ready to search.
4. List the name proposals you think should be available and check them on the above-mentioned website. If there are successful hits – write them down. If there are not – you will receive numerous proposals from your friends, who will devote themselves to the task for hours, offering different options and combinations. You should check every relatively good proposal on Bluehost and then write it down in the file.
At the end of the proposals and checks marathon, you will have a shortlist of the best shots that you can possibly use. Then you will have to choose one name after putting them to vote among the people, on authoritarian principle, as you personally choose the name, or drawing lots.
I have taken part in this process hundreds of times and I can tell that it really works. What is more, this way you also generate names for other interesting projects that you may decide to realize in the future.
We should not miss point 5. You should buy the name immediately after you have made your choice. There are too many consumers on the internet and the risk of someone snatching it from right under your nose is very high. That is why when you choose the domain you want and that is free, the registration process should be started in the very next minutes. In the worst case, you are going to lose a small amount of money. The alternative, however, is that you may lose the domain that will make you a millionaire.
Buying a used domain
Often on the internet you may come across domain trade and speculations. There are even Facebook pages that sell domains, as well as websites that are real domain exchanges. Many businessmen consider it a personal failure, if someone else has registered the name they have chosen and they are ready to pay USD 1,000 or even USD 10,000 to own it, so as to skip the brainstorming I described above. This is the easy way, and I must confess that it is working.
In this case, however, the price is not the most important factor. There is something you do not know, and namely – what the real story of the domain is. It is possible that the same address hosted a website that was sanctioned by the search engines, or that it was a website committing crimes, sending spam, pornographic materials, or was used for other purposes that you cannot find out and know about. Your website may “inherit” all these negatives and the only solution is to change the domain. And if you are superstitious enough, you should be aware of the fact that many of these domains used to be owned by businessmen that have gone bankrupt. Although I am not superstitious, the thought of having bought a sinking ship would make me feel very insecure in this adventure.
Web studio, freelancer, or do-it-yourself
You will find it hard to choose whether to work with a web studio, a freelancer or develop your website on your own, although you have no idea how to do it. You may also combine all three methods in one. The truth is somewhere in between, while the stages you will have to go through with these three options are different. That is why, with no intention to be exhaustive, I will briefly introduce you to what has to be done in these three situations, what obstacles you may be faced with, and what you should be beware of. It is best to scare you off in the beginning and thus save you the money and nerves later.