How do I find a domain name
Finding a domain name: tips and information
1. Registered brand name
There is an abbreviation right in advance. If you have a registered trademark, the perfect domain name already exists. Because what could be more natural to call the website the same? From a purely legal point of view, others are not allowed to use this name as a domain because you have the trademark rights to the word. Now all you have to do is pay attention to details like umlauts and hyphens. And what do you do when your brand's domain is taken? It is best to contact the owner and seek legal advice if necessary.
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2. Structure of a domain
In the first step, let's take a look at how a domain is structured, because all domains have the same structure and consist of three parts. At the beginning there is the third-level domain such as "www." Also called a subdomain, followed by the second-level domain (name) and at the end is the top-level domain or also called TLD (.de / .org / .com…). The name and the appropriate TLD must be defined for the domain. Structure of the domain:
- Third-level domain (www.)
- Second-level domain (.xyz = name)
- Top-level domain (.de / .org / .com / ...)
3. DENIC, ICANN and Co: Domain administration
For some time there have been over 1500 TLDs. These are each managed by different organizations. If you take, for example, the TLD .com or .org, then ICANN is behind it. You can find an overview of this with the domain allocation conditions on our website. The allocation for the German TLD takes place via DENIC. All owners of domains with the ending .de are registered there. Since the GDPR, these entries are no longer public, but can only be viewed under certain conditions and with an application.
DENIC itself writes: "The domain contract is concluded between the (future) domain owner and DENIC once the registration has been successfully completed by DENIC." The order is usually placed via a DENIC member. The organization itself is only responsible for the registration takes place according to the motto "first come, first served". The domain owner has the following obligations:
- Provide correct information during registration and any changes.
- Show a valid address in Germany.
- Ensure the technical requirements for connecting the domain.
- To take over the costs according to the price list.
It is important: DENIC is at no time obliged to check "whether the registration of the domain for or its use by the domain owner violates the rights of third parties." This means that everyone who wants to register a domain has to deal with the requirements. If the rights of third parties are affected, the domain owner can receive a warning and is liable in the event of a violation.
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4. Specifications for domains from DENIC
The basic conditions for domain names can be found on the DENIC website. Here you will find brief, concise and very general information for domain names. Basically, the following should be fulfilled:
- Letters (A-Z)
- Numbers (0-9)
- Hyphens are allowed, but not at the beginning, end or in the 3rd and 4th positions at the same time
- No distinction between upper and lower case
- Maximum length is 63 characters
This is where you can be creative and find your domain name. However, not every address meets the legal requirements that we explain in the next point.
5. Legal aspects for domain names
According to Domainchecker, a potential desired address has not yet been assigned. This does not automatically mean that you can use this name. It is just a check of whether it is available and whether it can be registered. In addition, there are various legal requirements that must be complied with. We would like to point out that the following points are no substitute for legal advice. The domain name may:
- does not contain any brand or product names.
For example, it would not be legally permissible to secure the "www.goldbaeren.de" page. In this case, Haribo can issue a warning if the name "gold bears" is protected. If the desired name corresponds to a unique brand or product name and the domain is available, there is only one way: You can obtain approval from the trademark owner. In any case, this should be available in writing.
- do not contain any foreign company names.
If we stay with our example "Haribo", the own domain name must not contain the word. As soon as a name is registered in the trademark register, this should be avoided. This also applies to hyphen combinations.
- does not contain celebrity names.
If your own name corresponds exactly to the name of a celebrity and you would like to operate a website under your own name, you should obtain written approval or look for an alternative. The latter in order to stand out with its product and range. It happens that company names match a surname. In this case it can be checked whether the full name can be used as a domain.
- Does not contain titles from magazines, films or software.
In this case, the titles or names are usually protected by trademark law. If such a name is used with a similar offer, it can quickly lead to confusion. Therefore, such names are among the no-gos.
- does not contain city names, authorities or government institutions.
It is permissible to give your domain a local reference and to add the location such as “anwaltxy-hamburg.de”. However, it must not be given the impression that it is the official website of the city of Hamburg.
- not be a domain with a typo of the points just mentioned.
It is also illegal to fake a domain with an obviously deliberate typo for company names, celebrities, magazines, and so on.
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How do I check whether my desired domain complies with the legal requirements? There are three steps that give an indication of the rights:
- Enter the domain name once in the largest search engine. This gives an initial indication of trademark or name rights or what is already available for this term.
- Inquire about the trademark rights of the desired address at the German Patent and Trademark Office. Here the link!
- In case of doubt: carry out a similarity test through a lawyer and have it confirmed in writing.
6. Tips for domains from an SEO point of view
After DENIC's requirements have been complied with and the legal aspects have been considered, there is still a very important aspect in the end: the SEO perspective. Because even if Google has downgraded the importance of the domain for the search engine result, it still plays a role and a few points should be taken into account.
1. The seasoning lies in brevity
The saying goes probably best. When it comes to domain names, keep it short. Keep the term as simple and short as possible. To do this, you have to put yourself in the user's shoes. A short, crisp domain is much more memorable and gets stuck straight away.
This also plays a role for subdomains. Because the longer the ROOT domain, the longer the URLs of the individual websites. If this is short, it will be displayed in full in the search results and, if necessary, increase the click-through rate. A short domain has advantages in many ways. Rule: as short as possible - as long as necessary
2. Use of keywords
For a while it was very popular to have an exact match domain (EMD). This means that the domain exactly matches the search term. So if someone is looking for gold bears and Haribo's domain is also called “goldbaerchen.de”. This necessity has largely been abandoned today. Because search engines want above all to show relevant content, so that the content of the website is much more important than an EMD.
If the brand name does not correspond to the right keyword, it must still be possible to work out a corresponding search engine placement with good content. The main keywords should not be "squeezed" into the domain in a hurry. This works more like keyword spamming and can even have a negative impact on the ranking.
3. The right TLD
A number of TLDs are now available. You can find an overview of the most common top level domains on our website. But does it make sense to give a shop the TLD .shop of the same name? Or because it is a blog to choose the ending .blog? At first glance, this may seem generic, meaningful and resonant. Basically, two factors play an important role here: the target group and multilingualism.
Ask yourself who the target group is and what they can expect? If the target group is used to entering the ending, confusion could arise if the ending is different from the usual one. In this case it makes sense to use the most common TLD. And multilingualism: If the website is provided in different countries, it makes sense to choose a “neutral” TLD such as .com or .org. Individual country mandates can be added to these.
4. Bye umlauts?
According to DENIC, umlauts or accented characters are permitted and browsers can also display them. Still, stay on the safe side by avoiding these signs. So instead of “bäum.de”, “baeume.de” is better. If you have a company name with an umlaut, it is best to secure the domain with "ä" and "ae". A name like “René” in a name domain is also better written without an accent. Don't underestimate the power of the target audience here. What will potential site visitors do? This question should be the focus.
5. The use of hyphens and filler words
The only permitted “special character” is the hyphen. This can be used to symbolize the separation of two words. Search engines recognize and separate the individual words without any problems. But here, less is usually more. A hyphen is recommended. More than 2 is not recommended. Domains with a string of hyphens appear anything but serious even to normal users.
If possible, do without filler words. But it can make perfect sense. If, for example, a service or quality should be highlighted: der-beste-zahnarzt-hamburg.de. The filler words then also indicate the number of hyphens. If the number of words is reduced to a minimum, there will be fewer hyphens.
6. History of a domain
A website was already registered for many domain names. This has achieved a ranking and a reputation on certain topics. Before you finally decide on a domain, you should take a look at this reputation / age. This can have a positive or negative effect on content, ranking and backlinks. For example, here is a link to check the age of the website.
7. Common mistakes when choosing a domain
And to keep in mind the points that are important, let's turn our eyes and see what the most common mistakes are when finding a domain name.
- domain name too long
- Keyword spamming
- worthless TLD
- too many hyphens
- Danger of confusion of the domain
- Domain with umlauts
- History not taken into account
8. Finding a domain: We'll summarize
As you can see, simply thinking about a domain, entering it in Domainchecker and getting started is very brief. Too many pitfalls are waiting on the way. But how do I find the right domain with so many concerns and things to consider?
Get rid of all guidelines and recommendations. Start by writing down what should be the main topics of your shop or website. Then do a brainstorming session and collect all the terms freely. For this you can also get 3 terms from friends and relatives or make a vote.
Perhaps this will result in appropriate word combinations that hit exactly the core of your business. Have you found a unique domain that will also fit in the future? Wonderful. Take it and check firstly whether it is available and secondly it stands up to the tips discussed so far. If it can do both, you've found your domain name! Congratulations!
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