Keep it short. Keeping your domain to twenty characters or less is a good rule of thumb when creating your domain name. If your domain name is long and complex, your potential customers may misspell and have a hard time finding you.
Next, keep it simple and obvious. Something my father taught me and taught again in vocational school is KISS-keep it simple stupid. Your domain is your brand. If you are creating a portfolio or personal site, using your first and last name is a great way. And if you're a business, use your business name. Now if you operate under a larger name, but operate your brand under a shortened name or different name, then using your brand is the best way to go.
Avoid the numerals, underscores, and hyphens if possible. Sometimes this is not possible to do if the name you are using is already taken. Then sometimes you may have to use the hyphen. Also, there have been situations when a number is in your business name. Say 3 is in your business name so that it could be The 3 Days Shop, your domain might look something like 3daysshop.com, I recommend that you purchase threedaysshop.com also. Having both domains does not add on much expense, and both can be utilized for one site. Whichever domain you decide to go with and the market is up to you, but know when potential clients look for you, they can find you with either domain name.
Research It. This can be used in your discovery stage when trying to come up with a good name. After you come up with the domain you like, research that name again to make sure there is not going to be confusion with potential customers. It could also cause you some trademark and copyright issues.
Register your domain names for multiple years; this does a couple of things for you, it helps your SEO. Search engines look at the length of registration to help with the legitimacy of your site. The second thing is it is one less thing you have to worry about next year, and it's already done. It may sound like a small thing, but when you are a small business owner, small things pile up quick. Now I know money is tight and sometimes every dollar saved is a big help when you are starting out in small business. If you only do a one-year registration starting out make sure you utilize social media to help make up the difference in your SEO.
Use keywords and get creative. If the domain that you want is already taken, you might be able to use a specific keyword or a specialty side of your business to tie in with your business name to create your unique business name. Using .com in your domain is still the most popular way to go, but there is a slew of other options now available out there such .net, .co, .me and so on and so on. But make sure the extension you use is appropriate for your brand or business. If you have a unique name, you may want to consider picking other domain name options and extensions along with your domain. This helps protect your business or brand. These could be parked or even used as a blog or splash page for marketing purposes later on.
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