Picking a domain name — a helpful list

technology

My friends have been telling me that “BLADAM” is a yucky name.  Bummer.  So I’ve shopping for a new domain name, and it’s not easy!  So many things to think about, and so many damn evil squatters (but that’s a different issue).

And I thought hmm, I’ve been mulling over so many guidelines and best practices in my mind, I might as well share them!  So, without further ado, here are some of my thoughts.

  • Clear pronunciation: You—and many others—are probably going to mention the domain out loud.  Is it blADAM or BlaDAMN?  Is it PenIsland or… ahem :o.
  • Spellable: Is it lasnik or lasnick?  spendia or spendea? Mind your homophones, too.  Was that 4you or 4u or foryou.whatever?  q or queue?
  • International meaning: Do you want your domain to mean “smelly” in a popular non-English language?  Probably not.
  • Brevity: osteoporosishealing may convey exactly what your drug does, but—forget spelling—try fitting that on a business card!
  • Unspamminess: No matter how clever you think you are, some-domain-name-like-this.whatever will look like spam.  Honest.
  • Got .com?: You may have found a fab .net domain name, but what if your clients/potential customers keep mailing the .com version?  Uh oh!  Try to get both, at least if you’re in the U.S.  Old habits die hard, unfortunately!
  • Brand matching: If everyone knows you or your company under one name, choosing a cute marketing word as your domain name may not fly.  People will probably still type in companyname.com into their browser.
  • Cost: Some random TLD (e.g., .ly) may have their registrations on sale this month, but what about when you renew?  .com and .net (and the TLDs of big countries) will likely stay reasonably affordable.  .vanity TLDs?  Possibly not.
  • Legal stuff: Using a major (or even minor) brand’s name in your domain name may seem like flattery, but it may get you nowhere but in trouble.
  • Expandability: Isn’t it a good thing that Amazon.com didn’t start off as books.com?  This also means “BlogOfFred.com” may be a bad idea if you think you might add a wiki or forum later.  Or, more importantly, if your name’s not Fred.

Any items I forgot?  Post YOUR thoughts and ideas below 😀

P.S.—If you’re searching for domains, check out DomainTools and domai.nr, two of my favorite sites in this space.

17 comments… add one
  • Jaemi May 10, 2009

    I’ve been pondering similar issues. The domain my blog sits on right now is the title of the blog, which worked well at the time, but I no longer identify with said name. In addition, given that I’d like to get into web design, trying to ever host a portfolio on it would be a bit awkward. It seems to make more sense to try to get a domain where I could do both. Or at least to concentrate on the “more important” professionally expandable domain name for now, and worry about the blog if and when I decide I want to write it again. It’s hard. Even though I have a fairly clear idea what I want to do with the domain, and that I do want it to be expandable, picking a name sucks.

    Your points are all good. I’m not sure I thought of them all, either. Of course in my case, spellable is more difficult. Presuming you can spell my name, you’d be all good. And one would hope if I give you my domain, you know my name. But I know people who get it wrong often. However, I’m not going to go around trying to buy up every variant of Jaemi…..that’s just not plausible for little old moi.

    My real issue is just of my options, what to end jaemi -with-. I think my main choices are .net info and .us …although it might just be the latter two. And through my current registrar, of those two, only .info is an option. It would probably suit my needs just fine as well, it just seems so lifeless. If that makes any sense.

  • Graham May 10, 2009

    Those are good guidelines, but most of them aren’t that important for personal sites. I actually think “bladam” is just fine for you. It’s probably as close to your actual name as you can get with such a common name, and it’s easy to spell and remember. I don’t think pronunciation is an issue, since it’s just regular “adam” with “bl” in front (which is how you can head off spelling questions when giving it out verbally, as well).

    On the other hand… what language does it mean “smelly” in? 😀

  • Joe Devon May 12, 2009

    lasnikweb.com

  • Adam May 12, 2009

    Jaemi, you definitely understand where I’m coming from re: the trying to fit a broad bunch of stuff in one domain name :-D.  And yeah, I agree that trying to buy all the jaemi in the world would be tough.  And jaemi-?  Hmm… tough one!

    And yep, Graham, good points.  Re: “smelly”… er, that didn’t apply to my domain names (I hope!), but was just a colorful way to emphasize potential trans-linguistic challenges in naming :-D.

    JohnT… interesting timing! I just started playing the game Portal :D.

    Jillian… at least some people (like you and Graham and others) got and appreciate the meaning(s) of bladam!  re: real name… some bastard squatter claimed adamlasnik.com the day my boss announced (on his blog) Google’s hiring of me.  And I can guarantee you, the squatter does NOT share my name ;-).

    And Joe, thanks for the suggestion!

  • ayo May 15, 2009

    I was lucky to get my name dot com

  • Jaemi May 18, 2009

    Since I was running out of time (my old domain registration expires Saturday, I bought jaemi.info. It seemed the best of the options open to me at the moment. Now I just have to make sure to do something with it.

  • tiffany May 22, 2009

    I am lucky to get my name dot com.haha

  • David May 24, 2009

    You could have done this:

    ad.am/lasnik

    but that domain has gone and I don’t think you can buy 2 character domains anymore.

    You could always use this one:

    adaml.as/nik

    😛

  • Paige May 27, 2009

    Well, I don’t think your domain name is yucky!  I thought it was “short” for Blogging Adam!  Kinda like “blog” is “short” for “weblog.”  I like it!

  • mason May 27, 2009

    I’ve heard many nicknames over the years. Bladam is not the worst i’ve heard.

  • Marlene May 28, 2009

    Those are good tips for choosing a domain name, but I don’t see anything yucky about the domain name you have chosen.  Remember that “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

  • cody May 31, 2009

    Bladam looks like it fits you!!

  • Bang Del Jul 2, 2009

    Bladam is a very good name, unique, easy to remember, simple and easy to say it. But may be less good for a domain associated with doing business online. It seems less familiar 🙂 But I believe, with a short name, people will easily to remember your name. Thank you for the tips, very useful for me. I will select a suitable domain name for me.

  • Timo Sep 21, 2009

    Nice compilation, but unfortunately it is almost impossible to get a domain name like this these days.

  • id Oct 17, 2009

    I would like to get id.com 🙂 But i think it is quite impossible for now till the end xD

  • Emo Oct 30, 2009

    No offense, but I thought bladam was a clever combination of blah (as in blah! blah! blah!)(that might be the part that offends you – sorry) and your name, adam. I didn’t give it much thought and would never criticize you for the domain name you chose unless it was blatantly offensive or vulgar.

  • aion kinah buy Nov 3, 2009

    I would suggest if possible, get all generic top-level domains. For instance, suppose your domain is bladam, buy bladam.com, bladam.net, bladame.org, bladam dot whatever you can think of.

What do you think?