In two of my books (30 Minute Web Guides: Getting Started Online & 50 Biggest Website Mistakes) I talk about buying domain names, choosing a domain name, and domain name mistakes, but 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 a challenge enough but then when you do some research and look at keywords it complicates it further.
Then after you do all of the research you find the domain name you want is not available so you research a bit more.
The domain fail I had or have, is with a fun side project I'm doing. I got too "cute" with the name and it makes perfect sense to me but then I heard some other people say it and say oh that's cute it makes sense.
I ask them, why they think that and I'm like "no, that's not my intent."
So, 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 would be designs I've either drawn or created digitally. I also wanted Tees or T-shirt,
When you have to explain the domain that should be a warning sign and you then should probably second guess it anyway.
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 is people are interpreting the "nicity" part for nicety bring nice, kind friendly. Which is okay as people that know me know that I try to be kind as much as possible.
And 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, show my artwork, or some of my beliefs. Just to be safe I also purchased the domain name frankstshirts.com and have forwarded it to the site as well.
How To Avoid Domain Name Mistakes Yourself
The following is a list of things I normally check before purchasing a domain. With having been online for over twenty years now I've ran into several of these the hard way. 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 typo's happen.
- Can it be plural? If the domain can have an s on the end is 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. Actually 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 now in my domain 😮 lets look at it again. webgraphicsexplained.com 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 as well. I really wanted the domain WordPress Strategies.com but when combining I had three S's in a row. This could cause confusion for someone typing in the domain as it will most likely be misspelled. Yes I bought it with only 2 S's as well.
- Check to see if there is a trademark associated to the domain. It is better to look a head of time to see if the domain you're wanting to buy may be followed by legal action. Sadly, I've ran into this one as well. 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 led to also rethinking a company name as well.
- 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 ran 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 but caused some major delays in the project that I was hired to help with.
- Is there Bad History? This goes right along with the previous. Check backlink reputation there are several services where you can check this and maybe covered in a future post. By having negative backlinks this can cause you poor rankings in search engine listings. Also, check with the way back machine (archive.org) to see what history shows for that domain there as well. While this can be restored over time is it a battle you want to deal with?
Also, one final thing I will say about domain names. I have seriously purchased hundreds of domain names in my time online. Many I never used because I thought it was a good idea and then realized 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 give it time and thought about it?
- Do you really have the time to give to this domain property to at least make it pay for it's self?
I hope that you've found this useful. Just like anything else worth doing, be sure to do your homework and get it right the first time. While many mistakes can be overcome, you have to make the decision if it is worth your time, effort, and resources.