How to choose a domain name: 10 expert tips
Choosing a domain name is like choosing a company name — it requires a lot of thought and consideration. Your domain name is your identity on the web. You want to make sure you choose a name that not only fits your business but is also easy to find and promote. But it can be hard to know what makes a good domain name. If you need help choosing a domain name, read on.
What makes a good domain name?
A good domain name is unique, short, and easy to remember. A good domain name avoids using other people’s trademarks, complicated words and words that have similar spellings to other words (too/to for example.)
Let’s go into more detail about what makes a good domain name.
How to choose a domain name
- Choose a domain name that is short and easy to type
- Choose a memorable domain name
- Choose a domain name without numbers and hyphens
- Consider using keywords in your domain name
- Choose a domain name that targets your area
- Consider a branded domain name
- Research your domain name
- Secure your domain name fast
- Choose an appropriate domain name extension
- Protect and build your brand
1. Choose a domain name that is short and easy to type
Finding a domain name that’s easy to type is critical to online success. If you use abbreviations (u instead of you) or unusual spellings (xpress instead of express), it might be harder for customers to remember the name of your site. This an important consideration when choosing a website name. Think of the biggest names out there and you will see how short and easy they are. Apple, Tesla, Google.
2. Choose a memorable domain name
There are millions of registered domain names, so having a domain that’s catchy and memorable is essential. Once you’ve come up with a name, share it with close friends to make sure it sounds appealing and makes sense to others. Tesla is a perfect example here. An automobile company that produces electric cars and named after Nikola Tesla, the inventor of the design of the modern alternating current electricity supply system.
3. Choose a domain name without numbers and hyphens
Numbers and hyphens are often misunderstood — people who hear your website address don’t know if you’re using a numeral (5) or it’s spelled out (five) or they misplace or forget the dash. For the sake of simplicity, it’s usually best to avoid numbers in domain names. Hyphens also complicate your domain name, making it harder to remember and type.
4. Consider using keywords in your domain name
You might want to use keywords that describe your business and the services you offer. For example, if you’re a plumber you might want to include the word plumber in your domain name. However, it can be hard to find a suitable domain name which includes keywords. Plus, even if you do find a keyword domain name that’s suitable, it isn’t guaranteed to give you a search engine rankings boost. On the upside, it will let people know what you do.
So, if you are a travel agency in Dubai, try and have tourism, travel, tours, Dubai, or UAE in your domain name. Might help when searched online.
5. Choose a domain name that targets your area
If your business is local, consider including your city or area in your domain name to make it easy for local customers to find and remember.
As with including a keyword in your domain, it may be hard to find a suitable domain which includes your location.
However, it will let people know that you operate in their local area. This is common for international schools. Think of the schools in your area and you will realize what we mean.
6. Consider a branded domain name
As it’s difficult to get a good domain name that includes a keyword and your location, you should also consider opting for a branded domain name.
This is the approach taken by most of the world’s biggest online businesses (think Amazon.com).
Don’t get too hung up on whether your branded domain name sounds like it’s the perfect name for a business site. After all, how many people would have said Amazon.com was a good domain name for a business website before it launched?
If you decide to opt for a branded domain name, you’ll still need to make sure it follows the other rules we’ve laid out in this article.
You can use GoDaddy’s domain name generator to help you create a branded domain.
7. Research your domain name before choosing it
Make sure the name you’ve selected isn’t trademarked, copyrighted or being used by another company. It could result in a huge legal mess that could cost you a fortune, as well as your domain! You can find out who owns a domain using this tool.
An example about this is Cristiano Ronaldo’s brand name CR7. CR7’s brand and domain name were owned by someone else long before Cristiano Ronaldo decided on the name and had to settle a law suit against him by the original owner in the US. So make sure the name you are choosing is not trademarked by someone else.
8. Secure your domain name fast
Domain names sell quickly. Thankfully, they’re also inexpensive, so register a domain name as soon as possible. If you’re having trouble finding an available name, domain registrars like GoDaddy will suggest alternative names during your domain name search to help you find the perfect domain name. This is probably the most important of our domain name tips – if you’ve found one you like, get it as soon as you can or someone else might snap it up!
Try it now!
9. Choose an appropriate domain name extension
Extensions are suffixes, such as .com or .net, at the end of web addresses. These can have specific uses, so make sure to choose one that works for your business. The .com domain extension is far and away the most popular, but it can be tough to get a short and memorable .com domain name because it’s been around for so long. However, there are loads of other domain extensions available, so why not consider something other than .com?
There are geographic extensions, such as .london, and industry-specific extensions such as .coffee. If you need help deciding which domain name extension to use, you can learn more about generic top level domains here.
10. Protect and build your brand
To protect your brand, you should purchase various domain extensions, as well as misspelled versions of your domain name. This prevents competitors from registering other versions and ensures your customers are directed to your website, even if they mistype it.
Image by: Jess Bailey via Unsplash.