Why domains are important...
Domains are a big part of your brand's presence online, from customer trust to browser trust, to even search engine optimisation (SEO), domains will always matter.
For these reasons, it is so important to have a strong memorable domain name that is easy to understand verbally and represents your brand well!
A few of the better-known registrars have seen their publicity as an opportunity to pull in more profits. I don't recommend settling for a high price when so many registrars offer very competitive domain name pricing nowadays, rather than paying $20+ for a standard .com, registrars like my go-to (Dynadot) offer these for around $10 making it a lot more affordable and financially sustainable!
When a domain is registered, it's final, so double-check the spelling to be sure it's correct. No one likes having to live with a misspelt domain name!
Should I use dashes?
While dashes are available for use in domain names, most would avoid the use of dashes, they clutter the name up and make it more difficult to hear and type the domain name. The use of a dash can also affect the memorability of a domain and make it more difficult to recall as little as minutes later whereas a domain using simple text can be more easily remembered because there are no additional special characters.
What about numbers?
While numbers are more widely supported in the community, I would still advise avoiding numbers unless they appear in your brand name, avoid names like mjdws1.com, while a username like @mjdws1 might slide on Twitter or another social network, it's not the same with domains, domains should be unique and for this reason, try to avoid using random numbers to make a domain for your brand, the right domain is out there somewhere and you'll find it after a short time searching!
Short and sweet.
Keep your domain name short and sweet, like this section.
I recently spoke about free domains in my last blog post and why they can be a big red flag no matter how good of a deal they may seem! I'd recommend reading into that if you want to know more about the topic of free domains and how they break your bank balance even more than standard domain registrations. But if you're still not convinced... well take a look at this other recent post to find out how you can get 52+ free domains every year.
.ga, .gq, .tk, .ml and .cf...
Free domains ending in these TLDs are one of the things new developers and brands come running to, hoping for an easy start. However not only is the registry extremely difficult to use they have been known to terminate domains mid-registration and sell them off to the highest bidder... not good for the security of your brand and its traffic!
Slow DNS servers...
DNS is the technology linking a domain with a host server, without fast DNS websites can take an age to reach, fast DNS is imperative for every website! I always recommend using Cloudflare for name servers, not only do they allow you to use a range of tools for free but their DNS is lightning fast and supports extremely fast updates of a range of record types, making it a perfect choice when managing a domain.
Protect your name!
Protecting a name is costly for sure, but registering as many domains under your name as possible to protect the name and stop others from cloning your site is key, if you can, aim to get at least your main TLD (usually .com) and your country code TLD, for instance, iregisteredadomain.com and iregisteredadomain.co.uk and if there's still room in the budget, .net, and .org as well as other popular TLDs within your industry are great ones to claim to protect your brand name!
Not activating SSL...
Most hosting services offer free SSL certificates nowadays, just like Let's Encrypt has begun providing. Having an SSL certificate active removes most chances of an unsecured alert popping up before a user can access the genuine page content. The display of an unsecured site alert immediately knocks down trust like a bull in a china shop! Activate SSL and make your site's visitors feel safe and assured when accessing your site.
What you should do...
Register your domain with a trusted, competitively-priced registrar like Dynadot.
Make sure to get the spelling right, once a domain is registered, it's here to stay - for a year at least anyway.
Aim not to include dashes in most situations to improve memorability and keep the domain name looking sleek!
Keep it short, abakersguidetobakingcakesandcookiesandbrownies.com might seem cool to you but how many people can remember that?!
Avoid free domains, read here to find out why they're actually costing you more than standard paid domain registrations.
Don't be tempted by .ga and its freebie friends, they're not secure and are not worth it in the long run!
Use fast DNS servers to keep your website's load speeds faster than lightning, for this I recommend Cloudflare.
Keep your brand name protected by registering your domain name with more than one TLD to prevent site clones and scammers!
Use SSL; make your site visitors feel safe when visiting your site by using SSL to offer them encrypted access.
This issue includes a range of facts and opinions, all opinions are my own and all facts should be individually checked before coming to a conclusion on the best value for you yourself.
This issue includes referral links. I receive credit when you use these, they will also provide you with the same amount of credit. Dynadot referral links only provide free credit when you spend upwards of £8/$10. I am not paid directly to promote this service.