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Articles  >  Marketing, advertising and search engines optimization  >  Practical advise on choosing the domain name

Rashly bought domain name for future website is not always reflecting the project goal but also does not contain semantic modularity at all. At the same time a competent approach to the domain name choice can bring not only additional visitors, but also can become one of the most important parts of marketing campaign....

Certain trends in website developing have been formed by this time already. The similar resource address application is a sign of good competence, good tone and developer's professionalism.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator) in the internet is a definition of a specified resource (for e.g. page, site or server). URL includes net protocol (ftp://, http:// and so on), domain name (ibm.com, shop.com.ru) and the document address within the limits of a given server (/index.html, /images/button.gif).

It is accepted fact that domain names have a few levels. All levels are separated with dot. The numbering goes from the right side. For e.x. in the name www.shop.ru, "ru" is a 1st level domain (or zone), "shop" is the 2nd level and "www" is the 3d one.

Historically it was established that "www" prefix was used in a domain name which in turn was a domain name level with one unit higher from the source quantity. This way they wanted to specify the content type with the indicated address, i.e. HTML- document. Nowadays this rule is out of date however it is still traditionally used. A fine-tuned server should output the same information whether "www" prefix is present or not.

Internet address is indicated in business cards, newspapers and over the air for the purpose of advertising. In this case regardless of the way the information is transmitted the domain name should be indicated including "www" prefix, because the user usually gets it out of the content. With this prefix being indicated it is clear that this is actually a website.

The main criteria for choosing a domain name

The following criteria should be considered choosing a domain name:

  • Shortness
  • Catchy
  • Easy to pronounce
  • Easy to write

With time following the shortness criteria is getting harder.... In the long standing domain zones (com, net, org) one can consider a success finding a free domain name from any 5 symbols or any meaningful word with larger quantity of letters. There is a possibility to purchase a domain name containing 3 symbols in some national domain zones.

Besides, when researching psychologists noticed that namely 3-symbol domain names are more memorable than 2-symbol ones.

A wide-spread form of making profit is build on getting domain names for the purpose of reselling - cybersquatting. People engaged in such activity are called cybersquatters. There were cases when domain names were sold for more than a million dollars. The average price for domains containing the name of some mythological idol in ".com" zone reaches 50 thousand dollars. Even 5 years ago most of these domains were free for purchasing and cost about $35 a year.

Keyword usage in the domain name

Correctly chosen domain name plays very important role for the success of the project. Visitors often get to the site just guessing its name having some idea about the existence of a service or a trade mark. Perhaps somebody has already visited the source and wants to remember it with the purpose of re-visiting. That is why if your company name is difficult to remember it is recommended to register a few domain names with different interpretations. In general the number of domain names can be unlimited.

Many people sometimes try to get memorable domain name to the detriment of shortness. Thus you can consider the domain name "center-of-the-world.com" successful, because it is a very widespread English word combination.

To check if the domain name is suitable from the point of pronunciation you have to imagine that you dictate it over the phone. In this case all possible inconvenience and misspelling will come out.

Avoid using some letters and numbers similar in sound with other words. For e.g. the domain name SERVICE4U.RU can be similar to SERVICEFORU.RU, SERVICEFORYOU.RU and some more similar variations. Or you would have to register all possible its variations.

You can check if the domain name you want is free and also to get the list of just released names using for e.g. www.webnames.ru site.

Abbreviation usage

Try not to use abbreviations. Not every user can remember the correspondence between the company name and its abbreviation name containing just first letters from the full name. In case of some abstract "MinSelHosPisheProm"one shouldn't give the domain "MSHPP.RU" name (same with MCXPP.RU).

In such cases the most acceptable variant will be the name containing offered services or products. For e.g. "KAPUSTA.RU" OR "CABBAGE.RU. And certainly you shouldn't solve the problem point-blank - MINSELHOZPISCHEPROM.RU.

Language aspects

With present circumstances the language aspect is a big question. There are a lot of service agencies nowadays which offer the national language domain names. But this decision is not widespread because of mispronunciation and lack of the single standard supported by the developers of client's programming equipment. As a matter of principle one can take Russian name written in Latin letters. Here you also have to take into account the "phony" rule. For e.g. in the case of COCKA.RU and SOSKA.RU the second variant is preferable because by ear most people will interpret namely in this form. In other cases the domain name registration the target audience language in Latin letters is often justified.

You have to be sure that the name is written correctly from the spelling point of view weather it's the target audience language or the English one. In exceptional situations the domain name can have the meaning which is not supposed to. It's very important for the resources which have a few versions in different languages.
Please check the meaning of words and their combinations the domain name includes in every given language.

It important to know that the "_" sign in a domain name is not allowed but can be used in URL. The domain name phrase shouldn't also be divided with the hyphen sign "-". Users cannot always remember was there a minus sign or not or where was it.

All the above given recommendations are not applied if the company name is a well-known brand and trade mark. And you would almost certainly have to accept the need of its full copying to the domain name with all the rules applied.

Choosing the domain name zone

At present the list of available regional domain names includes (RU - Russia, BY - Belarus, UA - Ukraine and others) and the list of "standard" domains (COM, ORG, NET, new INFO and from November, the 7th, 2001 - BIZ). So which to choose?

Your choice should be based on the future project specifications:

  • Sites, which target audience is global without any territorial connections with English language are registered in the corresponding "standard" domain subject to its purpose (COM -commercial organizations, ORG - other organizations, NET - network organizations, INFO - informational ones, BIZ - business ones and so on).
  • Sites which have any language but English and target territorially connected audience are registered in the corresponding national zone.
  • Sites containing local information and event description, or selling something on the local level are registered in the country domain zone regardless of the language aspect.

If you purchased a domain name which does not meet the above mentioned requirements try to change the project content (which is impossible) or register another domain name.


Given in this article advices can be kept as just advices. But most of the rules given here in the form of recommendations were sharpened for years. Sticking to these recommendations will help you to get additional inflow of visitors because your project will be easy to find and contain a small amount of information about your company. You can also gain more predictable and effective work of other network services such as for e.g. search engines. You can use them or not however when analyzing the policy of leading companies concerning the URL projecting one can come to a conclusion that the given rules are followed strictly and appear to be a part of marketing policy.


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Sergey Volosevitch,

Last projects:  Contact lens, Ekaterinburg

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