“I’m struggling to settle on a domain name! The one I want is already taken. Are hyphens ok? What about using a .biz or .net or .co? Help!”
Have you ever asked questions like these? We get them in the forums and emails all the time. It’s time we shared our honest advice and stories on it.
In this episode we get into all the important domain name issues like choosing a TLD (.com, .co, .net, etc.), dealing with trademarks, choosing registrars, hosting, competitive research, etc.
And below I list off a bunch of topics (and the time in the podcast we mention them) as well as a boat load of tools to help you. Enjoy!
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“YOUR DOMAIN NAME MATTERS—but not as much as your business still being around in 5 years ”
How To Pick a Domain Name:
Here’s a list of factors to think about when you’re picking a domain name. Be sure to listen to the conversation above for insights about each!
- TLD (Top-Level Domain) Considerations — (7m). .com, .co, .net, .xxx, .ninja, .guru, .wang! Lots of things to think about here.
- Not sure what to pick? — (14m) You might not feel super strong about it. Steve Jobs didn’t (and neither did I about Fizzle). Listen for those stories.
- What feels shady? — (17m) Throw a bunch of ideas on the board and give it the sniff test.
- Just pick one! — (19m) Barrett makes a good point about how to quit bitchin’ and start stichin! (I don’t know if that saying works… maybe if you’re a tailor?)
- Competition — (21m) Are there other competitors? Do a search! You don’t want to build your house on a plot someone else owns. (Also, be careful where you search.)
- The difference between domain registrars and hosting providers — (23m) See below for some more info.
- Exactly what to do (based on the number of domains you’re buying — (24m) See below.
- Chase’s recommendation on if I was starting a site right now — (28m) They didn’t even pay for this.
- DON’T pick names that are trademarked — (32m) Search for trademarks at USPTO.
- How to find a defunct trademark! — (35m) Be sure to give this part about Shinola a listen. Trademarkia.
- DON’T use hyphens and punctuation — (40m) Unless you’re Guy-Fieri.
- Go with you’re hunch — (41m) trust yourself.
- DON’T chose something that’s hard to spell — (41m) Does it pass the telephone test?
- Avoid long domain names — (43m) …
- Be careful of words that run together (and spell something you didn’t intend) — (44m) Jared’s Ex dot com.
- Be careful of how words sound together — Fish sticks.
- Remember: none of this domain name stuff is the important part — (46m) A great domain name won’t save a bad business idea and it won’t do all the hard work for you.
- Keywords — (51m) What are the people searching for? There’s an art to this. “Processing Computer Systems” vs “Apple.”
- YOUR DOMAIN NAME MATTERS — but it matters less than if you’re still working on this thing in 5 years.
The Free Business Name Evaluator Worksheet!
We created a new resource for you to solve the ancient problem of finding the right name!
Where to buy domains
1. First timer: If you’re not already into WordPress, just go with Squarespace. 24/7 support, beautiful themes, reliable, professional, etc. If I was starting today, I would go this way (and I’ve been designing websites for 10 years).
2. First timer + WordPress: If you want to use WordPress and don’t own a bunch of domains just go to Bluehost ($3.95/mo discount through that affiliate link) and buy your domain there and setup your new website! (They make it real easy.)
3. Intermediate: If you own a handful of domains (or plan to) buy your domains through one of these. You’ll be able to setup your hosting with anyone.
- NameCheap. This is what I use.
- Hover. Nice and clean.
- GoDaddy. Ugly history, but better now.
- Google Domains. Why not?
- More Options: our 2015 hosting guide.
11 Domain Name Tools
I’ll list these out in order from those I like most to least. If you know of any others, please share them in the comments!
For each of these I did a search for “Mustache” and sometimes a few other words so you can see the results they delivered.
Domain Name Evaluators
The 10-category name evaluation worksheet — a free worksheet we made at Fizzle to help you evaluate any name you come up with by 10 important categories.
Name Generators & Domain Checkers
Ready or not, here come the new Internet top-level domain names | ZDNet — “On February 4, you’ll be able to get Internet domain names with such new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) names as .CHEAP, .NINJA, or .SEXY.”
Steve Jobs: How Apple got its name. Computer – YouTube — “We decided we’d call it Apple Computers unless someone suggested a better name by 5 o’clock. Partly because I like apples a lot, and it comes before Atari in the phone book.”
Fizzle Web Hosting Guide 2015 — “Planning a new website or blog? Looking to upgrade your existing site? We’ve got you covered with this hosting guide.”
USPTO Search for Trademarks — Search for trademarks.
12 Rules for Choosing the Right Domain Name – Moz — “I’ve listed 12 tips I find indispensable when helping people select a great domain name.”