In two of my books—30 Minute Web Guides: Getting Started Online and 50 Biggest Website Mistakes, I talk about buying do- main names, choosing a domain name, and domain name mistakes, yet I still had my own domain name fail.
Picking the right domain name can be a challenge. Whether you try to incorporate your business name or product name can be challenge enough but when you do some research and look at keywords it complicates it further.
And normally, after you do all of the research, you find the do- main name you want is not available so you research a bit more.
The domain fail I had is with a fun side project I’m doing. I got too “cute” with the name. While it makes perfect sense to me, I heard some other people say it and then say, “oh that’s cute! It makes sense.”
I asked them, why they thought it was cute, and thought, “UGH, that’s not my intent!”
Apparently, I didn’t do enough research and went on my own gut instinct. I will make it work because I have a lot of branding using it already and it’s on printed material.
The domain I choose was Franknicitees.com. I wanted it to have my name in it since they the designs would be ones I’ve either drawn or created digitally. I also wanted tees or t-shirt, in the name.
In my mind, it made perfect sense. My thought was combining the word frankness which means “open and sincere in expression; straightforward:” with the suffix nicity as in synchronicity.
What I’m getting from others is that they are interpreting the “nicety” part for nicety being nice, kind, friendly, which works out because people that know me know that I try to be kind as possible.
With that being said, I think 99.9% of the t-shirts could be classified as that. A few are on the fence on the side of sarcasm, but most are meant to be funny, positive. They show my artwork and some show my beliefs. Just to be safe, I also purchased the domain name FranksTshirts.com and have for- warded it to the site, as well.
How To Avoid Domain Name Mistakes Yourself
The following is a list of things I normally check before purchas- ing a domain. With having been online for over twenty years, I’ve run into several of these the hard way. With some, I just didn’t follow my own rules because I really wanted the domain.
- Is it spelled correctly? It’s important to double check this before buying—typos happen.
- Can it be plural? If the domain can have an “s” on the end, are both available? You can easily park one over the other.
In one case, I found a competitor had a domain that an “s” could be added to. Actually, it sounded better with the s! I purchased the plural version and redirected it to a lead generation page for my site.
- If it is multiple words combined together, does it spell something else? For example, I have the domain Web Graphics Explained when combined together it’s webgraphicsexplained.com. If you look smack dab in the middle, the word sex is there. This may or may not cause issues with being marked as spam.
Also, when combining multiple words together, do you get two of the same letter together? I had this happen, as well. I really wanted the domain WordPressStrategies.com, but when combining I had three “s” in a row. This could cause confusion for someone typing in the domain as it will most likely be misspelled. So, yes, I bought it with only 2 “s”, as well.
- Check to see if there is a trademark associated with the domain. It is better to look ahead of time to see if the do- main you’re wanting to buy may be followed by legal action. Sadly, I’ve run into this one too. A word in the domain was covered by a trademark and I received a nice letter to add to my swipe file in case I ever need a cease and desist letter. I was able to come to an agreement with them, but it also led to rethinking a company name.
- Does social media come into play? If this is a domain that you plan on using as a brand, check the top social media services to see if that name/brand is being used already. This can cause brand confusion which leads to lost leads and sales.
- Was there a previous owner? This one I’ve run into with customers in the past. They purchased a domain that had some bad history of spamming and other activities that caused a bad reputation for the domain. It took some time, but we were able to get it cleaned up. It caused some major delays in the project though.
- Is there bad History? This goes right along with number 6. Check back-link reputation. There are several services where you can check this. By having negative back-links, this can cause poor rankings in search engine listings. Also, check with the way back machine (Archive.org) to see what history shows for that domain. While this can be restored over time, you have to decide if this is a battle you want to deal with.
Also, one final thing I will say about domain names. I have pur- chased hundreds of domain names in my time online. Many I never used because I thought it was a good idea and then real- ized it may not have been. So, here is another list to consider before buying a domain name.
- Will buying this domain achieve my end goal?
- Is this a want to have domain or need to have domain?
- Are you buying impulsively, or have you given it time to think about it?
- Do you really have the time for this domain to at least make it pay for itself ?
Just like anything else worth doing, be sure to do your homework and get it right the first time when it comes to purchasing do- main names. While many mistakes can be overcome, you have to make the decision if it is worth your time, effort, and resources.