How to Choose a Good Web Domain Name

A question I am frequently asked is “How do you choose a good web domain name for a blog or project you’re working on? What factors do you take into consideration? What’s a deal-breaker for you?”

Here’s my answer.

My unbreakable rules for choosing a domain are:

  • No hyphens. Been there. Done that. Regret it to this day.
  • No numbers. Do I spell it out “five” or is it the number “5″?
  • Nothing difficult to spell. Although I once was really excited about using a domain with the word “catalyst” in it — I found that no one could spell the darned thing.
  • Domain must end in .com. I don’t bother with other endings.
  • Domain must NOT have any copyright names in it. I would not recommend using “Google”, “Disney”, or any other company name in your URL or prepare to be “ceased and desisted”.
  • If I’m looking to sell the site down the road, it must be generic enough. For instance, I wouldn’t buy “” to talk about my favorite football team if I planned to sell the site ever, because I’d have to find someone named Nicole – or who wanted to call themselves that — to buy it.

And my big, bad unbreakable rule.

  • It must pass the Oprah test.

What exactly is the Oprah test? Well, I picture Oprah saying it out loud. “Today I have with me, Nicole Dean, author of Blah blah blah and owner of”. Is it memorable? Easy to spell?

It’s not just the Oprah test, though. It’s the Willie Crawford test, too. If I’m in an interview with Willie Crawford and he introduces me – I want people typing or writing down my URL easily – and remembering it long after the fact.

You can’t do that with

Why is this Important?

A difficult domain is actually wasted opportunity and wasted traffic slipping through your fingers. If you’re promoting via audio or video (in webinars, iTunes interviews, on BlogTalkRadio, live radio, TV, or even your own podcast) – you need a domain that is EASY to remember. It has to make it into the person’s ears and to his brain and stick.

Plus, honestly, it’s a credibility issue. Would you really buy something from I hope you wouldn’t even think of getting out your credit card for a site like that. SCARY. And would you feel comfortable referring it to your friends? Not a chance.

What impression is your domain giving of you?

How to Avoid the REALLY Bad “Oh My GOSH I CAN’T BELIEVE I DID THAT” Web Domain Names?

I’ll also touch on avoiding really bad ones.

Oftentimes when you search for domains you read what you want to see. I recommend you type the domain in all capital letters and show it to a friend before buying. For instance, ending a word with “s” before the word “expert” can all of a sudden be misinterpreted.

So, I’ll give you the same advice as I give my friends who are expecting a baby. Run the name by your most juvenile, dirty-minded friends – before signing on the dotted line. You’d be amazed at how something totally innocent can go bad in a big hurry.

I hope this has been helpful. I look forward to seeing YOU on Oprah!

Nicole Dean is the FUN online business coach. If you’d like to see more tips about choosing a good domain name, check out this post: How to Choose the Right Web Domain Name. Once you’ve got your website up, you’ll need lots of traffic. Be sure to check out Nicole’s free course:

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About Nicole Dean

Nicole Dean is a Published Author, Popular Speaker, Successful Blogger and Podcaster, and a Business Consultant to really smart people.

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