Domain names are the real estate of the Internet. Just as a good location is vital for a bricks and mortar business, a good domain name will be the corner stone of your website’s success. But how to identify them? Below you will find the 7 characteristics of good domain names.
1. They are short
Good domain names are short. It is not a coincidence that all the three-letter and four-letter .com domains are already gone, and that the five-letter ones are going fast as well.
There is no definite number of characters that you should aim for, just remember that the shorter the better. If you really need some guidance, try to go below 10 characters, and never exceed 20.
As for the number of words, one-word domains are gold, two-word ones are good, three-word domains are average, and above that it is usually a bad idea.
Example: Quotes.com is a superb domain and probably worth millions of dollars. ProQuotes.com is a good two-word domain worth thousands of dollars. ProQuotesNow.com is an average domain and could be used for a website. YourProQuotesNow.com is plain worthless.
What kind of impact will a domain name have on the success of the website hosted there? There are basically two schools of though around the web.
a) “The domain is not a big deal” school: those people argue that while a good domain can help on the success of a website, it is not an important factor, because people are increasingly using browser bookmarks and subscription tools like RSS feeds, removing the need for them to remember the name of the website that they want to visit.
b) “The domain is vital” school: those people argue that despite bookmarks and RSS feeds, domains still play a very important role on the success of the websites built upon them. A good domain, therefore, can be the difference between a successful site and a flop.
If you ever tried to register some domain names you probably know how difficult it is to find something that has not been registered yet. You start with an idea for a cool website (excitement), then you narrow down a couple of keywords (more excitement) and suddenly “Damn! Who the heck registered that already!” (anger)…
A couple of weeks ago I published a post where I recommended to avoid free email services like Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo! when sending out business emails, because it makes you look unprofessional. It looks like I struck a nerve there, cause the discussion that followed in the comments was pretty heated.