An effective domain name plus a bunch of user-centered content are a greate treasure that invites users to visit a website again and again.
About a couple of days ago, I got an email from a visitor who, by criticizing my choice
of domain name, actually proves that I have an effective one. Let me share with you
his email message while I discuss the main topic for this post: “How to come up with an effective domain name for your website.”
Since he never disclosed his real name (for reasons only he knows), I’d like to call him “Original Guy” just for the sake of giving him a name. His email reads:
BOBO KA! (YOU’RE STUPID)
GAYA GAYA KA NAMAN SA WWW.JOELONSOFTWARE.COM
(YOU’RE IMITATING WWW.JOELONSOFTWARE.COM)
GROW UP PARE!
(GROW UP PAL)
The text in parentheses are my English translation to the original Tagalog message.
Now, that’s a nasty email, you might say. But focusing on the behavior of Original Guy as he wrote that message is not the topic of this post. I’ll leave that up to the psychologists. My opinion on that one is this: all of us, at some point in time, actually experiece some kind of temporary insanity. For Original Guy, it happened at 2 o’clock on a Wednesday afternoon last week.
BACK TO THE TOPIC:
Having an effective domain name is already a selling point for your business website.Every Internet-savvy business person knows it and is dying for it. That’s why it’s getting harder and harder these days to get a domain name that fits just right for you. Just about every word in the English Dictionary is already registered. Try search one for yourself and you will see what I mean.
If having an identity on the Web is crucial to your business, consider the following tips in coming up with a good domain name:
1. Simple. I cannot emphasize this highly enough. By simple, I mean something that is easy to read and write, and consisting of only a few words (not more than three).
Take this domain name as a bad example:
That’s a mouthful. Why would people even care to visit your website if reading and writing your domain name is already a painful process?
2. Sticky. That’s another way of saying your domain name must be memorable. Not just something easy to remember, but also something that is hard to forget.
3. Sells. From the first look of your website, it should be easy for visitors to tell what exactly they can expect to get from you. Are you into consulting business? Do you want to spread the Good News in the most high-tech way? Want to be known as an authority in following the whereabouts of Britney Spears? It should be obvious for people to know what you are apt to by just looking at the domain name.
Actually, this last one is more of a suggestion than a rule. For all we know, Amazon is a river deep into the jungle of Brizal, how come they choose it for a domain name? Certainly, the guys over there at Amazon.com know something else.
MY OWN DOMAIN NAME, CarlosOnWeb.com
How about CarlosOnWeb? Effective or not? As far as I can say, it is effective. You see, I have passed all three criteria! Why not, I have personally set it myself.
Is it simple? Of course it is!
Is it sticky? I bet! Are you reading Joel On Software just like the Original Guy? Well, the bad news is that Carlos On Web sticks in your memory even more. Try to convince Dr. Hannibal Lecter to take a handful of your brain and Carlos On Web will still stay in your
memory after the operation.
Does it sell? I think it speaks for what I do. I am a webmaster and web developer selling my services and blogging about the my experieces. Of course there are wrong grammars and erroneous spellings, but in all honesty, I never noticed them. I probably will not be able to modify them.
How about originality? It is certainly a big plus and a nice virtue to have. But rememeber you are competing with a worldwide audience in getting an original name. Just when you think you have come up with an original name, someone has already registered it a long time ago. Who is original now, you or the one who registered it first?
Don’t spend a lot of time pretending that you are original with an idea. Strive for simplicity, stickiness and selling factor. Play with words beautifully. If you do, you’ll be a poet using your imagination creating poetry out of your domain name.
One more note: The early visitors of this website will remember that I once had a page stating that my domain name is not original and in fact patterned after Joel On Software whose blog I became I addicted with three years ago. (As a matter of fact, I bought two of his books.) Too bad, I already removed that page and I will never put it back again.