Would Amazon be one of the biggest companies in the world if it was called Cadabra? Would eBay be eBay if it was still called AuctionWeb? Maybe, maybe not, but it’s impossible to overstate the importance of choosing a good name for your site. It can make or break your site, and by extension, your business. These days, your domain name is your brand, so choose wisely. Here are some tips on how to choose the best domain name for your site.
The web host you choose will likely offer a domain registration service as well. You’ll be able to type your ideas into a text box on their site, and it will tell you whether that domain is available, and if so, how much it will cost.
You may find that your first few ideas, the ones you think are best, are already taken. This is especially so if you’re looking for a .com domain. Nearly every word in the English language has been registered as a .com already. Many 2-word combinations have been registered too.
That said, if you look hard enough, and think creatively, you’ll find the domain name that is right for you.
Match it to Your Brand
If you already have a branded business, then your domain has to match it. Ideally, you’ll have already thought this through when you were naming your business.
If buying up the exact domain for your business is impossible due to availability, then you can add an extension to it. For example, if you own a car repair shop called Taylor’s (because your name is Taylor), you probably won’t be able to buy up the domain taylors.com. However, you may be able to get taylorscarrepairs.com or taylorsbodywork.com. Experiment to find out.
If you’re a local business, you could try putting the name of your locality in your domain name. taylorskingston.com may still be available.
There are exceptions to these rules. Google did fine with a made-up name. However, even sites like Facebook and YouTube have a slight hint to what their product is in their brand name.
Make it Memorable
The best brand names and domain names stick in your mind the first time you hear them. Instagram, Paypal, Uber. You’ll never forget them. You want a domain name that resonates in the same way.
- Keep it simple.
- Make sure people can spell it the first time they hear it. Don’t change the spelling of a word everyone knows just because it’s available as a domain name.
- If you are making up a word, make sure it can have only one possible spelling.
- Avoid numbers and hyphens. They just confuse people.
- Keep it as short as possible. The more letters in your domain name, the harder it will be to type, especially on a phone.
Using keywords in your domain name can help with audience recognition, so do it for your customers. Plus, if people link to your site, having a keyword in the anchor text does boost your SEO.
Best Domain Extensions
The best domain extension is .com, and it has been since the beginning of the internet. It comes with a certain prestige. Secure a .com extension for your domain.
There are other options though. If you’re a non-profit then .org is the more prestigious suffix. Country specific suffixes, such as co.uk, are more than sufficient if you’re happy to be associated with that country. Finally, there are Donuts Domains, which offer more specific business suffixes, such as .agency, .house, .design or .guru. You can really stick out from the crowd with a suffix like that.
When choosing your domain name, make sure you stay on the right side of the law. Don’t steal anyone else’s brand. Don’t adapt anyone else’s brand, or slightly misspell anyone else’s brand. If there’s any chance your brand will get mixed up with anyone else’s, you’ll be hearing from lawyers.
Safeguard against people straying too close to your brand. Typosquatters are unscrupulous types that buy up domain names that are slight misspellings of popular websites’ names. If you slightly misspell YouTube or Amazon, for example, you’ll be sent to a different site, which is usually full of ads. You can thwart the typosquatters by buying up misspellings of your own domain name.
You can also buy up several extensions of your domain. For example, buy your .com domain, and then add .co, .org, .net, and any other extensions to keep your domain name secure. Web hosts usually offer a discount for buying a package deal like this.
The final tip is to be quick. If you’ve thought of a good domain name, chances are someone else has thought of it too. Don’t waste time. Secure it before they do.
If you follow these tips then you’ll find the right domain name for you. What you do with the rest of the site is up to you. Do you have any advice on how to choose the best domain names? Leave us a comment to let us know.