Guide to Good Forums
The Dreaded Domain Decision
Author: Spektral of Talkpark.net
If you're reading this guide right now you're probably trying to either pick a name for your site or you're baffled as to what you should be doing after looking up all the names you thought of and realizing the domain is already taken.
If you're creating your own website, I suggest taking a look at my other guides which include tips on getting your site started, creating your forum's boards, and creating a custom skin for your board.
Naming Your Site in Three Easy Steps
Believe it or not, coming up with a name can be a very difficult an tedious task. There will undoubtedly be loads of names you come up with but I guarantee most of the good ones are already registered domains. When naming your site is CRUCIAL that you can purchase a domain that is the same. When you'll be coming up with ideas, there will be three things you will do for each one.
1. Think of a possible name.
2. Create 2-5 different variations of this name.
3. Look up all the names to see whether or not a domain is available.
The most integral part of creating your site's identity is figuring out its name. It is widely accepted that a good name is never more than two words in length and ideally three or less syllables. However, those names tend to be registered already so it's unlikely that we will find a good .com that fits these parameters.
Which is why most webmasters today are following a new trend: made up words. It sounds silly but that is our goal. Silly names stick in people's heads. Take a look at some great sites on the web: Google, Stickam, Meebo, Yahoo, Yaxay, Hulu, Kotaku, 4Chan, and Omegle. All seemingly random but certainly hard to forget.
Toss words around in your head. Here are a few I thought up while writing this guide: Twanza, Swistick, Yappigo, Twinster.
It's quite simple. One strategy is to take different words and create anagrams or to mesh the words together in awkward ways. For example, if one was considering opening a website oriented on video games, the name "Ideoga" may be considered as an option.
Made up words also lend themselves to logo design quite well because you're not constrained to whatever is in the name.
If you choose to go the direction of real words, however, be sure that the name coincides with the theme. The name should encapsulate the entirety of what your website is.
For my site, a general chat site that focuses on member interaction within posts, I decided to go with the name "Talk Park." A park is generally considered a place you go to relax as well as a place in which you can delve into social interactions so this made a good fit. The word "Talk" is an obvious choice because when you talk you are exchanging thoughts and ideas and that is exactly what a forum is about.
.net? .com? .me? What do I choose?!
The simple answer is: .com
The complicated answer is: good .com domains are extremely hard to find. If you're considering running a serious business, making profit off of your site or making it into a commercial success, I suggest getting a .com as well as a .net.
The second choice is a .net domain. Many of these are also hard to find but there is a lot more availability. Once again I will use my site as an example. The .com extension for TalkPark costs an upward of $2,000 USD (a premium domain name) while the .net version sold for the standard price. Ideally, I should have chosen a name that would have been available in .com form but I wasn't as experienced at the time.
Now, should my site succeed, I can safely purchase the premium name knowing it's worth the investment.
Other extensions should generally be avoided. However, some popular extensions rising in value are: .me, .tv and .biz. As always, .org is a decent second or third choice as well.
I went a bit above and beyond and purchased TalkPark.net/.org/.info as well as TalkParkForum.com. The idea here is to protect the name. If you do this make sure that you choose one primary URL and use it and only it to link to your site (this is a major factor in a good SEO).
Once again, good luck with your new forum/website and as always I do hope the above has been helpful.