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The Four Qualities of Great Domain Names

A great domain name brings lots of good customers to a web site. That is a simple sentence, and it deserves some further thought. This article will discuss what it means to be a good customer, and give some examples of great domain names that attract those kinds of people.

Guides new visitors in

Let's start by picturing a new visitor, one that will eventually become a good customer. This person arrives at the web site ready to make use of the site. The person understands what the site offers even before arriving, and is in the right state of mind to work with the web site. In other words, a great domain name primes the visitor for a good experience. A great domain name answers the first two questions that occur to a new visitor:

  • What does the website do?
  • How does it do that?

Here are some examples of great domain names that answer those two questions immediately. Before seeing the web site, it is obvious what the new visitor will find there and how it will be delivered.

  • travelocity.com
  • airbnb.com
  • 99designs.com
  • ofoto.com
  • okcupid.com
  • epicurious.com
  • paypal.com

With these questions already answered, the domain name has introduced the web site and told the person what to expect from it. This is the first critical function of a great domain name: qualification. Without it, the visitor lands on the page with no idea about what to do, and must absorb all the material at once. With qualification via the domain name, the visitor understands the purpose of the web site, and gets a head start towards using the site.

Purpose is one thing, style is another. A great domain name sets the right tone for the web site. It also sets expectations for the visitor, as in:

  • playful or formal
  • quick or detailed
  • free or paid
  • social or personal

To summarize, when considering a domain name's influence on new customers, keep in mind the two aspects of qualification: description, and tone.

Compatible with search engines

Many people find web sites not by name, but through search engines. There exists an entire industry of search engine optimizers, and here is our understanding of how a domain name works within the generally accepted guidelines. A great domain name contains keywords that users type into search engines. There are two reasons for this. The first is that the search engines consider exact matches between the search keywords (entered by the searcher) and the words in the domain name (chosen by the web site owner) when determining the relevance of the web site to the searcher's request. The other reason is that as other web sites around the web create links, the most common words put into the anchor tags is the domain name. So if you anticipate searchers to use specific keywords when looking for your web site, you should try to include some of those keywords in your domain name.

Brings back returning visitors

Good customers return again and again. A great domain name facilitates repeat visits by being memorable and easy to find. Great domain names create vivid pictures in the minds of visitors that are easy to recall. They can also create catchy phrases or sounds. They are easy to spell, easy to type, and easy to pronounce. A great domain name instantly reminds the visitor of the positive aspects of the web site. The name and the experience are tightly matched in the visitor's mind, so that when the visitor asks "what was the name of the website about XX, with the distinctive XX style?" the answer should be obvious and will remind the visitor of the web site's purpose and style.

Available for purchase

Finally, a great domain name for you is one that can be owned by you. Many excellent domain names are already in use, or offered at prices in the tens of thousands of dollars. We believe there are plenty of great domain names unregistered, and that's why we built DomainJig to help people find them. DomainJig creates domain name ideas and checks their availability. Even if a great domain name is owned by someone else, it can be worth the effort to contact the owner and negotiate a sale and transfer (and we will cover that process in another article another day).