A few times I’ve heard people ask advice about picking the right domain name. It typically goes something like “well the .com is taken, but I can get the .net for $10” or something similar.
My advice? NEVER go with anything other than a “.com” for anything that you care about. If you’re building scraper sites, go wild with .us or .info’s all you want, but if the project in question is anything you want to last or build a brand around, ALWAYS go with a dot com, even if you settle for something not quite as stellar.
Problogger is a good lesson. Darren had to wait years, put forth a lot of effort, and pay over $4000 for the .com version of Problogger.net. Seomoz.org is linked to as “seomoz.com” over 2,500 times (but at least they own the .com and can redirect it).
For any non .com that I regularly visit, I often type in the domain name and hit Ctrl+Enter, which automatically takes me to the .com. I’m not alone in this. If you have a non .com, you’re sending a ton of your traffic to whoever owns the .com. Plus your mom will probably always go to the dot com.
If you want a short domain but still want it to include your keywords (definately not all situations, but a lot of our smaller projects fit this scenario), here’s a list of prefixes and suffixes you can use to help you find more domains that might be worth registering:
(Ex: “guitar strings” would become “bestguitarstrings”, etc.)
Feel free to suggest any others to add to this list.