In an age when we’re sure to go right to a search engine to find content on the web, you might think that choosing the right domain name for your own website is only of minor importance. At least when it comes to achieving top rankings in the search results on Google and other search engines, the domain name is only a small piece of the puzzle.

Still, a website’s address remains one of the key factors affecting the success of the site. It would therefore be a big mistake to neglect the process for choosing the right domain name. We’ve put together a list of a few things to keep in mind when registering domains.

1. The domain ending
The first choice to make is the domain ending you will use. While domain endings are a dime a dozen, it would make sense for a Swiss company that markets products to Swiss customers to choose a .ch domain (Confoederatio Helvetica, i.e. Switzerland). If your products and services are geared more towards a global customer base, you might consider a .com ending. If your goal is to exude exclusivity and Swissness, you may want to consider a .swiss domain during the decision-making process. It should be noted, however, that .swiss domain names are only available to legal entities listed in the commercial register and headquartered in Switzerland.

Ultimately, the choice of the domain ending is also a matter of credibility. While exotic domain endings such as .dj or .cc don’t have any concrete disadvantages, a website with a domain ending that is suited to the place of origin is sure to make a more respectable impression on visitors.

2. Select the right domain name
The domain name should reflect what is actually found on the website. For this reason, a company website should include the name of the company or, for example, the product it sells. In the case of creative names, the domain should be easy to remember and easy to spell. Word-of-mouth only works if the mouths are actually able to communicate the domain correctly. And if you have to spell your e-mail address – which, of course, also includes the domain name – five times for the customer to get it, then maybe the name isn’t exactly ideal.

3. Short and to the point
Long domain names have very few advantages. Or maybe you are one of the few who can remember the domain
llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.co.uk – incidentally, the longest domain according to the Guinness Book of Records – off the top of your head? Exactly. In contrast, short domain names are easy to remember and share – and they’re also much easier to enter using mobile devices.

4. Special characters? Not ideal.
For several years now, is has been possible to register most domain names and endings with special characters such as umlauts. The question remains as to how useful this actually is. For one, many users are already comfortable with the “long form” (“ue” instead of “ü”) when entering a domain name: have you ever tried entering a domain name with an ä, ü or ö using a different keyboard layout such as French? This requires additional effort when entering domains with special characters or umlauts when you’re in a foreign country. But if you must register such a domain, always make sure to register the “long” version (e.g. with “ae”, “ue” or “oe”) as well.

5. Respect trademarks
Just like when you are designing a website, copyrights and trademarks must also be checked when choosing a domain name! Using officially trademarked brand names, city names, book titles, software, games or films will most likely result in legal problems. Not only can that be very expensive, it also means that all of the effort you put into preparing your application for the domain name will have been a waste. We also recommend checking the trademark database of the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property or consulting a lawyer if you have any concerns.

Of course, these five tips only scratch the surface in terms of things to remember when choosing a new domain name. By the way, you can find out right away whether the desired domain name is available by going to our domain search page.

Do you have any other good tips for choosing domain names?

Tips for choosing the right domain name

Thomas Brühwiler

Thomas Brühwiler is Hostpoint's Head of Communication and also responsible for all activities in the social media field. He was already typing on a Commodore 64 in his very young years – he used to copy pages of BASIC code from magazines. Often he had to accept that the program didn’t run because an error had sneaked into the jumble of characters. Today he cannot imagine his life without computers, in spite of those experiences.

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