I received an email the other day asking an interesting question, one that many new and aspiring webmasters might want to know the answer to, so I thought I would share it with all of you here in hopes that the answer might shed some insight for you as well.
Dear Kelli, I’m starting a new website and a friend of mine who has been rather successful on the web in the past told me to make sure that before I start my new site I pick the right domain name because a good domain name on its own can add value to my website and that later on if I ever decide to sale my website the domain name alone could add significant value. What is the best kind of domain name to get? Can you give me any advice on this?
This is a great question that many new webmasters have and yet the answer can get rather complicated. But not to worry, because I can break it down for you. So to start we will assume your target market is the US. If not then you want one of those foreign domain names and that is really out of my area of expertise. But moving on with the US folks …. there are many types of domain names you can get .com, .net, .org, .biz. .info, .cc, .us, .mobi and the list goes on and on and on and on – yet despite all the available options the only domain name that really has any value would be the dot com.
Notice I did not make mention of the .xxx domain extension? This is for very good reason. Besides the controversy surrounding them, there are some very sound and practical reasons you don’t want to get one of them. First and foremost they are far to expensive. Why pay $100 for something when the others only cost $10? That just doesn’t make sense. Beyond the price, many countries have already flat out blocked access to all .xxx domain names so if you develop a website using it, some visitors may find they can’t access your website. And it’s not just foreign traffic either … some states have already begun to discuss legislation to block or at least partially block access to it. So now you’ve spent all of this money for your great domain name that people can’t visit. Then there is the sponsor issue. While not all websites are created to make money, many are and if you hope to one day get sponsors for your website then you have to consider the controversy with the .xxx domain names and the fact that a long list of companies won’t have anything to do with any website that uses a .xxx. So this means they won’t don’t business with you or sponsor your website, or buy ad space, etc. So in the end, the .xxx domain name just doesn’t make sense to use.
Now moving on, let’s talk about the domain names you can consider. The most valuable we know is the dot com but what about the others? Common sense tells us that a .mobi is only for a mobile website and people always tend to ge the .mobi version of their dot com. So say you are ILoveYouKelli.com then you would get ILoveYouKelli.mobi for the mobile version of your website and redirect all of your mobile traffic that comes to your dot com over to your dot mobi site so we are going to take the .mobi out of the mix from this point on.
So that really leaves us with the following ….
Yes there are others you could get but come on … we all know they aren’t worth the money it cost you to register them! So out of all of the extensions listed above we know that the .com is by far the most valuable but what about the rest?
Most people will tell you that if it’s not a dot com, then it’s not worth it. But that’s not always true. Sure most of the time it is but not always. It really depends on the type of site you are creating or the domain name itself. kelli.net is a great domain name, yes Kelli.com is far better but it wasn’t available and for the type of site it is, Kelli.net works fine. But as much as I love my site, in the end the dot com version would have been the most valuable.
Let’s look at another example … I have a website dedicated to porn star Audrey Hollander. The domain name AudreyHollander.com was taken (by her) so based on the type of site it is, what would be the best option? I could have gone with .net but .info seemed far more fitting, as the site was filled with information about Audrey Hollander. So while typically the .net version of a domain name would rank more valuable that the .info, in this particular case the .info was more fitting and as such would be more valuable.
A domain name should be short, include real words (Goodalopolus is a one word domain but it’s not a real word so the value isn’t really poo). A domain name should not include dashes or digits (sorry but ILoveU4eva.com is never going to be valuable). A domain name shouldn’t include abbreviations either. So using these rules, AllForYou.com is far more valuable than All4U.com.
Short (as possible), real words, no dashes, no digits, no abbreviations.
Always go with a dot com when possible. Anything that isn’t a .com, .net. or .info really doesn’t have much value at all. Seriously … don’t waste your time with any of the other extensions at all. The only rare exception would be a URL shortening service so a domain name with the .cc or .us would be fine. But beyond that I can’t imagine a situation where they would have any value.
Out of the 4 domain names below, love dot com is obviously the most valuable but I Love You is just as valuable as Love You, despite it being slightly longer. I Love You Forever is the least valuable of the bunch but it would still be more valuable than LoveU.net or LoveYou.biz.
So now you know the secrets to buying a good domain name. Keep it short (as possible), always try and go with a dot com, use real words, avoid dashes, digits and abbreviations and you should be fine.