We often wonder if choosing just the right domain name is really that important. Maybe the name is what you make of it. On the other hand, what you make of your blog, or business, may depend on the name you opted for in the first place. Choosing a domain name is probably the most important step in establishing your online identity.
Your domain name is a first impression for the visitor. A bad name will hardly send visitors away if the content is attractive, but a good and strong one can make an impression to the visitors and make them feel related to your blog or website.
In this article, we bring you the essentials on how to choose the best domain name for your product, blog or business. It’s a guide and reminder in just a few steps.
It is difficult to tell the right order of these steps, as there are many intersections, so read through carefully, in order to come up with a domain name that is perfect for you.
Also Read: How to Manage Your Domain Names?
Pick a short name, easy to type and remember
You are looking for a domain name that is short, easy to type and remember. Statistics show that top domain names are around 6 characters long.
By the year 2017 the majority of domain names you can think of with up to 8 characters, will appear to be already taken. Maybe you must invent new words or simply look for a bit longer name. Anyway, it will be a good idea to keep your domain name under 15 characters of length.
Long and complex words, even if containing keywords, are harder to remember and more likely to be misspelled or mistyped. This will result in losing out on traffic. Most visitors would not even bother trying to remember your complex domain name and will simply search for the related topic, product or service instead. Naturally, search results could take them to your competitors, depending on search engine optimization.
You should avoid using words with multiple spelling or slang, unless your target audience is familiar and easily corresponds with it.
So, remember: keep your domain name short and easy to type!
Conduct a Research
In the era of brand names, many words are trademarked or copyrighted. The name you choose for your domain might as well be, without you knowing about it. To avoid legal issues, loss of your domain and even financial fees, once you have a shortlist of your domain name ideas, do a research and make sure none of them are trademarked or copyrighted.
Get your friends that may also be your audience involved into the creative process. You may even want to conduct a research at one point.
Keywords in Domain
When choosing a domain name, you should try using keywords that can easily be associated to your business, product or service. Keywords can help improve your SEO, but it is going to be very difficult to find a domain name with targeted keywords that is not already taken.
The dark side of using keywords is risk of choosing a domain name that is generic and lacks the personality. To make it stand out, it requires a lot of creativity in combining keywords with other words, or even inventing new words.
Unique and Brandable Name
It is your domain name that visitors remember, share or use to find you. This makes it the foundation of your brand or service.
To stand out in an ocean of domains, your name must be unique and brandable. Generic names built around keywords are hard to remember as they have no real meaning.
It may be a good idea to research other entities in your niche for originality and creativity of their domain names. You might get great inspiration, or at least examples of bad domain names.
Avoid Hyphens and Numbers
There are several reasons why you should avoid hyphens and numbers in your domain name. Let us remind you that your name needs to be short, easy to spell and pronounce. Well, both hyphens and numbers stand in the way of this as they are often misunderstood.
Using a hyphen because the name you wanted is already taken is probably the worst thing you can do. It will be promoting your competitors to all people who fail or forget to type the hyphen. You better go back to the brainstorming process in search for a new domain name rather than reaching for this quick but harmful solution.
As per numbers, you should avoid using them as people who hear your web address will not know if you are using word (four) or a numeral (4).
Your domain name should be brisk and snappy, and the use of hyphens and numbers will do the exact opposite.
Avoid Doubled Letters
Words with doubled letters are not any worse than those without them, it’s just that words with doubled letters are having a tendency to be misspelled, thus leading to loss of traffic.
Believe it or not, .com is still the best extension you can get.
Today, you can choose from dozens of domain extensions. They can be related to the type of your entity (org, net, edu) or country you are based in (uk, eu, jp).
New, more creative, generic domains like .land, .cool, .guru, .rocks and similar might be very tempting as they offer an opportunity to register names that are highly relevant and short.
You can also choose to take more domains or a domain with more than one extension. If you decide to do so, keep in mind that you do not need to build a web site for each of your domains. All you need to do is redirect all your additional domains to your primary website.
Here are the most commonly used domain name extensions:
- .co: an abbreviation for company, commerce, and community.
- .org: non-commercial organizations and nonprofits.
- .net: technical, Internet infrastructure sites.
- .info: informational sites.
- .biz: business or commercial use, like e-commerce sites.
- .me: blogs, resumes or personal sites.
Trivia: The extension .me is the Internet country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for Montenegro. Still, due to its meaning and use in English language, list of possibilities when used as domain name extension is practically unlimited. Montenegro is making millions of dollars earning on yearly basis from these two letters. Only in 2016 there were more than a million domain names registered with this extension from all over the world.
Bottom line: Go for .com, if it is available, and if it’s taken, try .net, or .org. If none of these are available, you better choose another name, rather than one of the less common extensions.
Whether extension you choose to register, it is worth taking in consideration purchasing private domain registration. This is beneficial if you want to hide your personal information such as name, email address, phone and address. If you want to find out more about private whois and private domain registration, please read our guide. Domain privacy does not come for free; depending on domain registrar, it will cost $3-$10 per year per domain. At domain registrars such as NameCheap, you can use coupon codes to get free domain privacy or purchase it for a very low price ($0.99 per year).
Your blog, product or business might be narrow-defined at the moment you start your online presence, but you should be open minded and think long-term.
Maybe you are a passionate music lover, so you write a music blog covering concert and album reviews, interviews with musicians and similar content. You can easily choose a domain name that is music related and hit the road with it; but what if in the future you meet a soulmate, equally passionate about movies, or arts and sculpture. To include these new topics, to a music blog would be rather strange.
So, when choosing a domain name, try to be a visionary. Think big and try to come up with the name that is every bit good for your current area of interest or coverage as it will be when you eventually extend in the future.
Check Domain Name Generators to Get Ideas
If you search the web you will come across a number of name generators. Domain name generators are artificial intelligence programs, which mean they are not perfect. It may very well happen that you don’t find your domain name using them, but they can get creativity flowing in your head and boost the brainstorming process. The ideas and suggestions you receive from domain name generators might lead to a jackpot. A while ago we have gathered a list of top 10 domain suggestions tools that might help you get started.
Do Not Hesitate
Once you have chosen the domain name, you have to act fast. Domain names sell quickly and you may happen to lose it if you hesitate. Even if your content is not ready, you should register your favorite domain name(s) as soon as possible, as they are quite inexpensive.
If you are starting a blog or personal site, it may be the best to use your own name. Companies with multiple brands may decide to build specific websites for each brand or product group rather than putting everything under the company’s name.
After registering your domain and purchasing a good hosting service, you will need to point your domain to your hosting account by changing the domain name server at your registrar. In one of our guides we explain what is a Name Server and how it works.
Choosing a domain name is not an easy task. You need to demonstrate originality, creativity and vision. Arm yourself with patience and give this process some time.
Conduct a survey among your friends and colleagues, and let it stay overnight. Sometime a name that looks and sounds perfect at the end of a long and exhausting process may turn out to be bare and dull the very next day.
As soon as you have chosen your domain name, checked its availability and made sure it is not legally trademarked or copyrighted, go for it!
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