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How to Test Domain Names - Step by Step Guide

How to pick the best domain name is a topic every Internet entrepreneur faces.

But the best answers are not always from "your gut".  Actually testing domain name alternatives can yield higher quality, more objective answers.  And those answers often disagree with your intuition!

For years I've recommended domain selection criteria like:

  • Memorability – If users can’t remember your name, they can’t tell their friends about it.
  • Spellability & Hearability – If users can’t spell your domain, they could become someone else’s.

(See this "How to Pick the Best Domain Name" video from 2010 as an example.)

Even better than guessing is testing and getting 3rd-party opinions on a new domain name.

But it's one thing to say "you should test different domain names before you buy one".  It's another to share a step-by-step guide on how to do it cost-effectively as this post did:

Click to read Justin Wilcox's excellent step-by-step guide to creating and deploying an affordable survey strategy for domain name feedback. 

I especially like the Mechanical Turk suggestion.  When he was writing about how to survey people, etc. I was automatically asking myself "where is he going to get responses".  But he answered that question well (although I'd be a little concerned that the M'Turkers may not be precisely representative of the audience he wants his site to attract...)

Still, Mechanical Turk would be quicker and easier than PPC ads like from Adwords. 

As you can see, hard numbers are an excellent counter to wishy-washy intuitions about business topics like this.

Everybody please note that this testing technique doesn't just apply to domain names either.  I can see easy application for your new company names, book titles, slogans, logos, ad copy, sales graphics, etc. etc.



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