Choosing the right name for your site...

The role of a domain name is to give not only an address on the web but also a recognizable identity to your website

It is important to have an identity that will be used, known and recognized. When you are building a site on the Internet, you need to predict the questions your readers will be asking, and cater your response to them... The same applies when you choose its name.

The criteria for naming a website

When selecting a good domain name you need to meet the following criteria:

  • Short and descriptive. 
  • Easy to read, easy to say aloud, easy to remember and easy to spell.
  • It needs to make sense: it should represent your brand, or use descriptive keywords.
  • Serve as an object of communication to guide readers.
  • Last but not least, it needs to be available!
A simple name that reflects the content of your website will serve you better than a more complicated name. A simple test is to read your shortlist aloud. This will give you an idea of how well the domain name will be communicated to others. 

What letters are authorised in the address of website ?

A domain name can be composed of 1 to 69 character, numbers or un-accented letters. The only typographical sign that are acceptable are  _  .  -  
Typically a domain will need to have four or more characters as all of the single, double and triple character domain names have been registered. 

Please note that upper and lower case letters hold no distinction:

  • and are one and the same.

The hyphen is permitted so that domain names can be easier to read. It helps words stand out. It also allows the use of domain names that are similar to ones that already exist. 

  • is easier to read than 
  • can replace
  • If is registered may still be available
Remember, you can have more than one domain name. An ideal approach for the examples above might be to have a domain name without dashes that redirects visitors to an easier to read domain name that has dashes. 

Creating a brand will help protect your interests on the web

There are two main options when choosing a domain name.

  1. Choose a domain name that describes the content of your site.
  2. Choose a domain name that will become your brand, trademark or organization.
A major challenge with the first option is that a domain name that utilizes the keywords that describe content, may have already been taken.

With the second option, the domain name may not be an explicit explanation of the content. 


  • Imagine that John Smith is a plumber in Denver. He could choose the domain name but this does not tell readers anything about his business.
    He could also try focusing on his occupation as well as giving information about his location. It is probably also a good move for Google.

It is essential to check that your desired domain name is not already used as a brand. To do this, simply search with Google.

 It is important that you check with the intellectual property body, for example patents and trademarks, that deals with your country. This will ensure that you are not using a name that violates others property rights.

.com .org .net: a multitude of extensions, how do you choose?

Extensions fall into two broad categories. 

  1. Generic extensions
  2. Geographic determinations. 
The content of your website and your target audience will determine which extension you should choose. The extension of your domain will determine the scope of your website.
  • Generic extensions: .com for sites showcasing commercial activities, .org for sites representing organizations, both having a global presence and an international image of the activity they present.
  • Geographic extensions: for example .us for sites in the USA or .fr for sites in France. This also gives information about the language the site will be presented in.
Acquiring number of different domain names, differentiated by their extension, can be a good strategy to target different locations or to simply protect your web activities from malicious competition.

• • •
You may of course ask yourself if you should keep the free extension or actually buy a domain name of your own. Here a page to help you determine exactly this.