Every person who’s planning to launch a new website has virtually infinite range of possible names to choose from. However, some people do a lot better job at it than others.
The most challenging part here is that the best way of picking a name for a website is to have some previous experience, and when you’re launching your very first website, then you obviously have no experience at all.
Here’s a list of common mistakes people make when choosing a name for their sites, and how no to make them yourself.
1. Going with what you like
Everybody, and I mean everybody starts brainstorming by listing some things that they simply like.
The most important rule when launching a site is this (and it doesn’t matter whether we’re just picking a name or selecting the design): Your site is not for you, it’s for your visitors.
Therefore it doesn’t matter what name you like, what matters is what name will get the biggest response from your target audience.
I mean, calling your site something wacky is nothing bad as long as this wacky name has some sense in it and conveys some kind of message to the visitor.
2. No keywords
Keywords are what runs the internet … really. People use keywords every day on Google to find relevant content and websites.
New visitors won’t search for your site by its name, chances of that happening are next to nothing. But they will search for some key-phrases that you can mention inside your articles.
One of the best practices when selecting a name for your site is to go with your main keyword and add some branding elements to it if necessary.
You can find some valuable keywords by using a tool like Google Keyword Tool or others. Then take your main keyword and try to register a .com domain with it. If it’s taken, either consider going with a different keyword or add a suffix and try again.
3. No brand
Essentially, the only thing you have online is your brand. At first, people will memorize you by some characteristic elements. And it doesn’t have to be something big. Sometimes just a number or two additional characters is enough.
For instance, there’s a site online called “tutorial9.net.” The name is very simple and it shows very clearly that the site is about some kind of tutorials. The “9” creates a brand making the site recognizable.
4. Web address and name mismatch
This one seems like a simple thing, but you’d be amazed how many people get it wrong. There’s really no point calling your site differently than your registered domain.
People will simply not get a grasp on the situation and input your site’s address incorrectly 10 out of 10 times… Okay, maybe not so bad, but it will create a lot of confusion nonetheless.
Always, and I mean always, make your site’s name and its address the same.
5. Too long or too difficult
The name of your site must be memorable. Period.
Your site’s name has to do two things: (1) it should convey the main message of the site, indicate the topic and such, and (2) it should be easy to memorize.
There really are no other tasks for the name itself. The less characters you use to achieve this, the better.
As a rule of thumb, if your name is longer than 20-25 characters, it’s too long.
Crafting a name for your site is more of an art than science. You have a very limited space to work with and you need to pack it with keywords, branding elements, and additionally send a message to the visitor regarding what the site is about.
I’m not saying that following this advice will determine your success (there are many popular sites with names that make no sense), but it can surely give you a head start on your competition.
What’s your approach when selecting a name for a new site? Feel free to share.
Karol K. (@carlosinho) is a blogger, and freelance writer, interested in doing business over the internet. Check out his posts and articles about running an online business at newInternetOrder.com.