We have all been there. Perhaps you registered the wrong domain. Perhaps you found out later that the domain name you chose wasn’t all that hot. Either way, domain name registration mistakes can cost you.
If you are a webmaster, then you know that domain name registration is one of the most important things to do for your site. It’s also one of the most common mistakes that people make when they register their domains.
The problem with registering a domain is that it can be very easy to overlook some of the details and miss out on some key information.
From making sure that you create a catchy enough domain, to ensuring that your domain does not include too many hyphens, there are several things you can do to make sure your new domain is more memorable.
1. You Are Using Numbers Instead of the Word Version of the Number
While it may seem like something creative you want to do, using numbers instead of words in the domain like “something4something dot com” could be counterintuitive. Even if you find it smarter to use numbers, there are a great many other people who would find it challenging and difficult to use. It can even be more difficult to remember what the domain name should be, especially if you use it in advertising.
When it comes to ease of use, using numbers is at the bottom of the list. People will simply go from your site to another that’s easier to use.
A great rule of thumb when considering numbers in your domain name is – do they signify a year? Are they part of an event? If so, make it clear for your users so they know exactly how to type your domain name out so they can arrive on your site.
2. You Are Using Excessive Hyphens
The domain name should consist of one, two, or three words only. Two words separated by a hyphen are considered a single word. For example, “this-domain.net” is one word whereas “this-domain-name.net” is two words.
If somebody hears your domain and they hear it as two separate words, they will probably type it without hyphens. You want your visitors to type your domain correctly the first time around. They might not even notice the difference between “this-domain-namename.com” and “this-domain-nammamee.com”.
You could make it easier for your visitors by adding a dropdown menu next to the input field. Users could select whether they prefer to see your domain as one word or two words. This way, they don’t have to worry about typing the correct number of hyphens.
3. You Used Trademarks in Your Domain Name (On Purpose or by Accident)
If you’re looking for a new domain name, it’s probably best to check out the domain names that already exist. After all, there are thousands of domains registered every day, and most of them aren’t worth anything. But what about those rare gems that do actually make money? If you’re lucky enough to find one, don’t just grab it without doing some research into whether or not it might infringe on someone else’s trademark.
The good news is that you can easily find information about a particular domain name online. You’ll see a lot of data about the domain owner, including contact information, social media accounts, and even reviews from previous buyers. However, it’s important to remember that you shouldn’t rely solely on public records. For example, if you find a domain name that looks like it could be infringing on another company’s trademark, it’s still possible that the owner isn’t aware of the infringement.
In fact, according to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), over half of all trademark disputes go unresolved because the parties involved simply didn’t know each other. So, while it’s tempting to assume that anyone who owns a certain domain must be completely clueless about the issue, it’s better to err on the side of caution.
4. Your Domain Name Contains Hard-to-Spell Words
If your domain is hard to pronounce, most likely very few will take their chance and type it into the address bar. You can see why otoacousticsemiologist.com is not registered. But many domains that include ‘otology’ (ears, nose, throat), such as otosurgeon.com, exist.
This is not necessarily related to how long the domain name is. Syzygy.com is a good example of a short, difficult to spell domain.
You can easily find out if the domain you are considering registering is easy to use. Ask a friend to spell it back or email it to you. Or better still, ask a bunch of your friends to do the same thing, whether over the phone or in person. Ask them to spell it back to you or send it to you by text, IM or email. If they all say it is correct, then anyone should be able to spell the domain correctly.
5. You Included Homophones In Your Domain Name
Homophones are words that sound alike but have different meanings and spellings. They are common in English, and they (very often) lead to confusion for some people. Unless you want to risk confusing your audience, you should avoid them.
A couple of examples are there, their, they’re, and it’s/its. There, their, they’re are all words that sound the same but they have different meanings. There is a word referring to the location of something/someone. Their is a possessive word (meaning “their things…”).
And it’s is a compound word for “it is”, while “its” is yet another possessive word, the possessive form of “it” (meaning “belonging to or having an assocation with it”…) Also, break/brake, where break refers to “taking a break” and “brake” refers to the action of a car’s brakes, or “braking” in some other form.
Another one is new vs knew. New refers to the age of a person or thing, and knew is past tense referring to knowledge somebody else had at one point in time.
Unless it is very clear what the domain name should be, you should avoid homophones. For example, if someone types www.rightwritethere.com, they might be confused because they think the website is about writing. If someone types www.breakthebrakes.com, they might think the website is about brakes.
You should avoid homophones if possible, or you can register two domain names, either with each word, or with each word spelled differently. Then, you can redirect one of those domains to the other. In this case, if someone types www.writesright.com, they may be redirected to www.rightwrites. com. And if someone types www.breakbrakes.com, they may be redirected automatically to www.breakbrakes.com.
6. You Registered a Very Long Domain
Long domain names can be clever. You can use a very long domain, like momthisishowtwitterworks.com, or even a sentence, like thisishowtwitterworks.com. But in the general case, long domains are difficult both to remember and to read. They are also not a good marketing practice because people tend to ignore them.
In fact, there is one exception where long domains can work well. This is when you want to make sure that your domain name is memorable.
For instance, if you run a blog about cats, you might consider registering catbloggingisamazingandawesome.com instead of catblogging.com.
But, beware that longer domains can be very hard to read for some people.
The problem is that most people do not know what a domain name is supposed to look like, so they cannot tell whether it is too short or too long. So, just keep it simple.
Also, a long domain name isn’t always a good thing. In fact, some experts say that a domain name shouldn’t exceed around 15 characters. But why, exactly, is a short domain name better?
Many people are searching for information online, and they’re doing so on mobile devices. This means that they’ll likely use an on-screen keyboard to type out your domain name. If your domain name exceeds 16 characters, it may be too much work for them to type out.
A longer domain name can also cause problems when someone types it into a browser address bar. For example, if someone searches for “www.example.com,” they might accidentally go to another website named www.exemple.com. Or, worse still, they could end up on a malicious website that looks just like yours.
And finally, a long domain name may not look very appealing on marketing material. After all, most people don’t think about how many letters make up a web address. They see a pretty picture and assume that everything else is fine. So, try to keep your domain names short.
7. You Did Not Check to See if a .org or .net Equivalent Exists
If you want to launch a new website that targets a specific audience, it might make sense to choose a .org, .co.uk, .in, etc. domain name. However, there is a good chance that someone else has already taken this name. You must check if the name is already registered with the .net or .com TLD.
The reason why we suggest checking both extensions is because some people use the .com or .org TLD without being aware that they could end up registering a similar domain name. For instance, let’s assume that you want to open a website called JohnDoe.lawyer. You can easily find out whether the name is already registered by typing johndoe.lawyer into the address bar of your browser. A more efficient way to multiple extensions, however, is to use a website that can check the whois of a domain name in bulk, such as: https://bulkseotools.com
You can avoid such situations by simply adding the .net or .co.uk extension to your desired domain name. If you do that, you will be able to register the name without having to worry about another person doing the same thing.
8. You Neglected to Check the Domain Registration History
If you want to know what happened with a certain domain name over the course of time, check out Whois records. These show everything about the owner of a domain name, including their contact information, email address, phone number, mailing address, IP addresses, where the site is hosted, and other information.
The Whois database is free to access, but some registrars charge a fee for accessing additional data like WHOIS lookup, domain ownership verification, domain age calculation, and others. Some companies offer a premium version of their Whois tool where you can look up domains without paying anything extra.
Looking at the registration history can help you determine if there are any problems, or if you have potentially picked up a fraudulent domain name. One such service that you can use if you want to examine the domain name’s history in detail is domainiq.com. This service provides you with detailed information about a domain name’s particular history, including who may have owned it in the past decade (or more). This kind of tool can be useful for finding out issues that may indicate a stolen domain name or a fraudulent domain name.
The last thing that you want to do is find that you have purchased a stolen domain name. By making sure that you have performed a check of the domain registration history, you could potentially avoid this disastrous issue.
9. You Forgot to Check for Any Of the Domain’s Old Content
If the domain you want to purchase has been registered in the recent past and has been deleted sometime ago, or if you want an already existing domain, you can use archive.org to see what kind of content that domain may have published through the years (if anything).
This is a very useful tool because it generates snapshots of millions of sites every time it detects a big change. Depending on the site, there are several snapshots available each day, and sometimes each week, and they can give us a good idea what the site used to look like.
However, this check is not related to our previous history of the domain, nor does it mean that the domain is safe to register. Instead, we are checking the content that the domain used to display.
The perfect domain for your site could have published legal content, or even something else entirely. But this content may have been different from the one you are looking for, or it may have had some sort of issue. For example, it may have contained images of child pornography, or it may have hosted illegal gambling activities.The history of your domain is important, and this is one step in performing your due diligence on a domain that should not be ignored.
You don’t want to waste your money buying a domain that has issues like the above. You must know what kind of content it used to show, otherwise you could risk losing a lot of money.
10. You Did Not Check for the Existence of Similar Domains
A lot of good domains have been registered so far, and there will probably be many more coming soon. You might want to register a domain name that is very close to an existing one, but still different enough to avoid confusion. For example, if someone searches for “mydomainname.com”, you could try registering “yourdomainname.com”. This way, you can try and trap traffic that goes to the original domain, by people who may be typing the misspelling, while avoiding having a similar domain name, which will cause confusion among your visitors.
If you do decide to use a similar domain name, don’t just add “the” or “an” to the beginning of the domain name. Try adding something like “www.examplesite.com”, , “wwwexample.com” or “www.example.com”. These changes won’t look too different from the original domain name, but they will definitely help you stand out from the crowd.
Try to avoid registering a domain name that sounds too generic. People searching for common terms such as “travel,” “photography” or “guitar” will be able to easily find what they’re looking for, without getting confused by seeing dozens of sites offering exactly the same thing.
11. You Opted for the Wrong TLD (Top Level Domain Extension
There are countless different TLD extensions that you can register your web address under, including ‘.org,’ ‘.net,’ ‘.info,’ ‘.biz,’ and many others. While there is no wrong TLD, it is important that we choose one that is appropriate to our site.
For example, if you have set up a website for a school you might opt for .edu, because it is considered a good fit for educational purposes. However, if you want to start a blog about fashion you might go for .blog. But, .com is the most common TLD, and for good reason. If you’re not sure which extension to use for your site, you may want to use .com, assuming that the other TLDs are not available.
You may also want to think about choosing several different TLDs. This way you could either create complementary sites (such as blogs) to use them, or you can register those that you think will gain lots of traffic in order to direct them to your main URL.
12. You Chose a Domain Name That’s Too Similar to Another Website
Many people make the mistake of choosing a domain name that sounds too much like another site. They think it’ll give them credibility, but it just makes things confusing. When someone Googles your domain name, they’re going to see a bunch of sites that are nothing like yours.
If you do choose a domain name that is similar to a well-known brand, try to find out whether there is already a trademarked version of your chosen domain name. If you find a match, it could mean trouble.
For example, if you wanted to register the domain name big5sportingshoes.com, you probably wouldn’t want to use the same exact name as a company called Big Five Sporting Goods. You would risk infringing on their trademark.
So how does this affect you? Well, if you’re thinking about registering a domain name that sounds similar to a popular brand, check to see if there is already a trademark for that name. If there is, you’ll likely run into problems.
13. Your Domain Name Includes Characters Other Than Letters
When you’re working with domain names, there’s a lot of room to make mistakes. When it comes to numbers, hyphens, and underscores, you might find yourself spending a great deal of time explaining how things work. This isn’t just annoying; it’s costly. If you want to save money and avoid headaches, consider taking a letters-only approach to URL design.
For example, say you’ve got a product called “The Big Book Of Doodles.” In this case, you’d probably use something like this: www.thebigbookofdoodles.com. But if you wanted to include a number, you could do this: www.thebig25bookofthedoodles.com.
This is why using random numbers is never a good idea in your domain name. Also, Moz’s SEO factors in their Moz Pro tool indicate that numbers randomly added to domain names can look very spammy. So, be careful with doing this unless it can be added to achieve a good effect.
Mistakes Can Happen, But, That’s Part of the Game
Making sure you get your domain name right from the start can create great dividends towards your money-making destination online.
By ensuring that you consider things like how your domain name sounds, how it looks, and how it appears in place, you can make sure that all of your users will get the full benefit of your domain name.
What will your next domain name be?