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Publication date:31-08-2021
Updated:09-12-2021

8 things you shouldn't do when choosing a domain name in 2021

A domain name is the cornerstone of your website and often plays an important role in the choice of starting entrepreneurs and innovators. Many people think that your domain name has a lot to say about the success of your website. But is that really so? Here are 9 things not to do when choosing a domain name.

A domain name is also a very important part of the marketing of a website in the 21st century. A simple name that conveys the nature of the website or company can help position you among the millions of other websites already available. This list contains 8 things not to do when choosing a domain name in 2021

01) Do not buy domains from parties that display 'gambling', '18+' or 'narcotics' on the sales site.

Domain registration of these types of domains can be risky. Especially if you don't know who owned it. If you ever want to buy a domain name so much that you want to approach the seller, first check whether gambling games, casinos and 'adult content' have been present on the site.

Domains have a history and you can easily check it via the Wayback Machine for example . Search engines tend to include the history of a domain name in all algorithmic calculations. If the previous owner showed ads or content in these categories, you should be able to detect it through the Wayback Machine. It can take a long time for a domain to recover from the 'gambling' and 'adult' labels.

02) Make the extension of your domain no part of your company name.

When you're starting out with your company's online business and marketing, it can be tempting to create a domain name with the company name fully embedded in the domain extension. You will then get domains such as:

  • youtu.be
  • live.ly
  • abc.xyz (Google's parent company)
  • bit.ly (Url shortener, handy!)
  • active.ly

Involving the domain name extension seems like an interesting way to get more attention - it's striking and surprising, but it can backfire for the start-up.


03) Use as few hyphens and numbers as possible.

Use as few hyphens, plurals, and numbers in your domain name as possible to improve user readability. For example, consider the extra minus signs (-) to space words. If you really need them, use 1-2 at most. Why?

Imagine that you want to communicate the following domain name to someone over the phone: dit-is-niet-handig.nl or  domain4you.nl ... That is indeed not all that useful. You don't want to have to explain where the dashes are, nor say you mean the number 4 instead of for / four. Those lines don't make it any easier. This really only applies to your main domain. In general, the shorter the better.

04) Don't check if the first domain name you think of is available.

First try a few different combinations of the domain name until you find one that works and don't get too distracted by doing the 'validity check' right away. Then, if you find a domain name you like, check if it's available. 

The reason for this is simple: you are distracted by suggestions, because the possibilities are endless. A single entrepreneur feels compelled to turn to algorithms for help. But we advise you to do this only at the end if you know what you don't want in any case. Therefore, make your search for the perfect domain name your own project first, in your own head and own world. Take your time, because it's worth thinking for yourself and doing your own research.

05) Don't only use your own imagination when coming up with a domain name.

Okay, maybe we should explain this one. The emphasis here is mainly on 'your own fantasy', because that of others may also be used! Please note: here again, do not do this until you know well what you don't want in any case. Present the domain names to your favorite web designer or web developer and ask to pick 1 of them.

Do the same with your family or best friends: they all have something useful to say and perhaps a combination of elements is a good solution for you.

06) don't reserve all different variants of your domain name.

This is really no longer necessary. It's not a bad idea to reserve a few different variations of your domain name, such as the .com/.nl/.org variations; but this is not necessary for the new extension variants such as .agency, .media, .club and so on. We call these the 'luxury' extensions.

Of course it also applies here that some luxury extensions are more suitable for certain purposes and others less so.  When creating variations for your website, consider only reserving the extension that is absolutely necessary. Reserve some variants to make it as easy as possible for potential users to discover your website and throw the rest away. Spend that money on ads or other useful things!

07) Don't force including keywords in your domain name.

Processing keywords in your domain name is no longer necessary. In the past, it was sometimes thought that it was essential to create Exact Matching Domains (EMD) for improved findability, but this will no longer be the case in 2021. In fact, it can sometimes even damage the credibility of your company. It can make your company appear less professional online.

But there is another side to the story: the search engines...

The ability to quickly analyze content quality has made us more demanding consumers. It is now very easy to find something with a single search. In the current online world a la 2021, including keywords in the domain name is not only unnecessary; but also risky. Search engines such as Google can penalize EMDs or in the least consider them equivalent.

Prefer to spend time on high-quality content.

08) Do not worry about the SEO when choosing your domain name.

There are plenty of domain name providers out there, but when it comes to choosing one that will bring you great success, make it a priority to talk to the people around you and make sure your findability is your website no worries.

Many of our conversations with prospects focus on findability right from the start. However, findability is a logical consequence of an investment in your website. If you make something beautiful and pleasant out of it, you will be found! Your domain name doesn't belong in the world of findability, so leave that part to us. As soon as you've got your hands on a really nice one, contact us: we will register the domain name for you and host the website on a state-of-the-art server.

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