Welcome to Shaun Luttin's public notebook. It contains rough, practical notes. The guiding idea is that, despite what marketing tells us, there are no experts at anything. Sharing our half-baked ideas helps everyone. We're all just muddling thru. Find out more about our work at bigfont.ca.

What makes a good domain name?

Tags: web, marketing

In the small town of Salt Spring Island, some people see me as a computer expert, because I write software for a living. The field is so massive, though, that it isn't possible to be an expert on everything. That includes a good domain name.

There is a joke that a good book title is the title of a good book. That's probably also true of domain names. That said, here are a few criteria that seem to be important:

  1. Make it short. Less than ten characters is best. Few will remember theonlinemarketplacefortents.com; tentmarket.com is better.
  2. Make it easy to spell. If you tell your friend to visit berkshirehathaway.com, ze may never find it. Use short, easy to spell words instead.
  3. Avoid acronyms. Look at bcspca.com - you probably know what it means; that said, this exception probably proves the rule. Use whole words.
  4. Avoid words with spelling variants. E.g. the spelling difference between behavior and behaviour will lose you business. Use activity instead of behavior and you will receive more business.
  5. Make it location unspecific. This is important if you plan to move your business. It might be odd to visit saltspringrentals.com if your business is now in Chicago. rentalspot.com is better.
  6. Choose an appropriate suffix. Suffixes are also known as top-level domains. The most popular are listed here and below is a description of some of those.
    1. .com Intended to mean for-profit business, it has become the main suffix that all websites use. Use this if it is available.
    2. .co Intended to mean Columbia, some sites use it as a .com alternative.
    3. .biz Intended as an alterative to .com.
    4. .org Intended to mean non-profit organization.
    5. .info Intended to mean informational resource.
    6. .net Intended to mean any umbrella site for a set of related sites.
    7. .ca, .au, .uk These country specific codes are a good alternative when .com is unavailable.
    8. .rentals, .bike, .xxx These newer suffixes are growing in market acceptance. Many new suffixes are listed here. If one exists that fits your business, then it is a good alternative if .com is unavailable.

That's how I answer the question: "what do you think of my domain name?" If you've met those criteria, and your domain name is available, then I think your domain name is pretty good. Buy it.