One of the first things needed when creating a website, is a domain name. It’s also something you don’t want to chance. So be sure to read up about what it is and how to choose, to ensure you get it right.

The 3 parts of a domain name/ url:

1) Before the dot, Sub-Domain (www)

2) Between the dots, (the main name)

3) After the dot. (suffix)

Basic Domain rules we can't change:

  • No spaces are allowed.
  • It is not case sensitive. So Capital Letters or all small case, will end up at the same place.
  • Hyphens, dashes, numbers are allowed. 1-2
  • Special characters are not allowed :,( !, @, #, $, %, ^, &, <, * etc
  • A maximum of 63 characters. (I honestly hope I will never need to type such a long domain name)

Avoid confusion at all costs:

Your domain name should be your website name. Don’t confuse the users, make it easier for them to find your website by keeping your domain name the same.

Keep your domain name as simple as possible, so it can easily remembered and easily type it correctly. Use words spelt in their normal way, to make it easier.

Generic or Branded?

Where generic names may work well, a branded name can go much further.   A viewer is more likely to think of the brand and go straight to it, other than searching for it generally. When they think of it generally, they tend to go to the search engine’s first, and if your website had good, valuable content about subject, chances are you will come out top anyway.

Dash or not to dash?

Many years ago, when we registered a domain for PC Mag, the domain was already taken, so we added the dash (hyphen) to get the domain name, and so PC-Mag was born.

I cannot say I never regretted the fact, having to explain “-“ all the time. And how many times one forgets to add the dash, I cannot say. The only thing one can do to help prevent this, is to ensure the name was always written with the dash.

But, on the positive side, we got the domain name we needed. Also, Search engines (and humans) can read the words easier because they split up with the dash than one continuously long word. And so, our dashy domain name is over a decade already and still going strong.

Which suffix to go for?

  • .com: International
  • .co.za: South African
  • .org: non-profit organization
  • .gov: government
  • .net: network resources
  • .edu: education
  • The list goes on and on.

The variety is there for good reason, as different suffix should be suited to each website specifications.

If the website is international one, then the .com is the best choice

If you website is local, then .co.za is the better than a .com. As it immediately tells users you in South Africa. (or whichever country suffix you have chosen)

So, there are a lot of things to consider, and choices to make, ensure you make the best choice, that will draw viewers to your site.

If you requiring further assistance, feel free to contact me.

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