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Six Tips for Choosing the Perfect Freelance Domain Name | Freelance Sprout | Find, Start, and Grow Your Dream Freelance Business
Read the six part series on creating a freelance business plan
 

Six Tips for Choosing the Perfect Freelance Domain Name

Date January 30, 2008


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If you’re setting up a new website, or changing the name of your existing one, choosing a good domain name could be the difference between success and failure.

Below are six tips on how to choose a domain name that will attract visitors to your site, and keep them coming back.

1. Don’t pick names with hyphens or any other “special” characters

“Blog-city” is confusing. “Blog~City” even more so. People remember words as sounds, not as shapes. Don’t make the mistake of paying for a lot of advertising and all the while giving your competitors the traffic. No matter how bad you want a domain name, choose the less confusing one. Clarity trumps pride every time.

2. Don’t use adjectives that might ever be used in the adult entertainment industry

“Hot” is so not hot. “Sexy”, “big”, “wild” — all adjectives you need to steer clear from. Also avoid references to race names like “Asian”, “white”, “black” or any kind of sexual preference like “gay”, “straight” or “bi”. It only takes one slip by a customer — landing at an inappropriate site — to burn your credibility and bury your reputation.

3. Don’t use words that sound like other commonly used words

No “AcmeToyz” or “KrazyMuzic”. People will hear it as “AcmeToys” and as “CrazyMusic” and remember it that way.

4. Avoid wacky domain extensions. A dotcom is the best domain

If you are in business, it’s the only domain. Remember commandment #1 — don’t send traffic to your competitors by trying to promote another domain extension.

5. Stay away from sub-domains

People who aren’t technically savvy don’t get the concept. To them, any Web address starts with “www” and ends with “.com”.

6. Make sure that the translation from pronunciation to spelling is unambiguous

For example, “Kings” is a better domain name than “Kingsley” because the latter can be misspelled very easily.

The essence of these rules?

A domain name should not need follow-up instructions after “X” tells “Y” about it. Meaning — “X” should not have to say “Go to Blog dash city dot net”. Oh yeah, don’t forget there’s a dash between the blog and the city. And it’s not .com, it’s .net.”

Contrary to popular belief, choosing a business name, and matching domain name, is a very important step in starting your business. Your online image could be your most critical branding mechanism.

Must your domain name be the same as your business name? Absolutely! Always try to find the domain that matches your business name—exactly.

If you can’t find a good, matching domain, consider shortening or combining the business name to come up with a domain. This is critical. Whatever you choose, don’t make the domain name longer that your business name.

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