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5 Mistakes People Make When Choosing a Domain Name

Made a mistakein picking a domain name
Think you’ve found the perfect domain name for your new website?
Make sure you don’t make one of these big mistakes.

1. The domain doesn’t pass the “radio test” or is hard to spell.

The “radio test” simply asks if someone will know how to spell your domain name if you tell someone the name at a bar or they hear it over the radio. Domains that have cute spellings or are missing letters are difficult for people to remember and type correctly. To see if your domain passes this test, call five friends and tell them the name. Can they spell it?
An episode of NBC’s 30 Rock made fun of website names that mean one thing but sound like another. In a 2011 episode, Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski) named the website JennasSide.com. Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) pointed out that it sounds like a completely different (and unfortunate) word when spoken.

2. The domain says something different.

SpeedofArt.com and TherapistFinder.com might seem like good domains for an art site and therapist directory, respectively. But if you change the capitalization, they say something completely different! (Think about it.)

3. It has a trademark problem.

It’s important to not use a domain name that infringes on another company’s trademark. You might think you came up with a creative domain for your new business, but what if another business uses a similar name for the same type of company?
There are a number of databases you can check to look for trademarks, such as Trademark247.com.

4. The domain name uses a country code domain that isn’t global.

Have you seen a domain name that ends in .tv, .co or .io? These two-letter domains are what’s called country-code domain names, and each one is assigned to a country. .Tv TLD is for Tuvalu, .Co domain extension is for Colombia and .Io domain names are for British Indian Ocean Territory.
Because these domain names have been adopted by many websites that aren’t specific to these countries, Google treats them the same as generic domains like .com when it comes to figuring out the location a site targets.
Google treats other country code domains, such as .uk for the United Kingdom, as geographic indicators. So unless your site targets people in the United Kingdom, you probably shouldn’t use a .uk domain.

5. It has a double meaning.

There’s a lot of slang out there these days, and even the cool kids can’t always keep up.
Before you pick a domain, make sure that the term doesn’t mean something else in slang or a foreign language. Check out UrbanDictionary.com for the latest slang.

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Andrew Allemann avatar

Andrew Allemann

Andrew is the founder and editor of Domain Name Wire, a publication that has been covering domain names since 2005. He has personally written over 10,000 posts covering domain name sales, policy, and strategies for domain name owners. Andrew has been quoted in stories about domain names in The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times and Fortune. More articles written by Andrew.

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