How To Choose A Domain Name
Using the right domain name is key to your website’s success. If the domain name isn’t catchy enough or is too complicated to type, visitors will not want to visit your site.
While you can always change the domain name later, it will hurt your brand and affect your site’s rankings on SERPs. Therefore, finding and setting up the right domain name the first time around is extremely important if you want your site to succeed.
In this post, we discuss tips to help you come up with a good domain name for your website.
How to Choose the Perfect Domain Name
Your website’s domain name is a crucial element of your website for many reasons:
- Since the URL is the first thing a visitor sees, it is the site’s “first impression.” A good, catchy URL will make a positive, lasting impression, but the wrong URL will send visitors away.
- Having a niche keyword in your domain name can improve SEO.
- A domain name is a branding opportunity, and a catchy name can help your business become recognizable.
Here are ten tips for finding the right domain name:
1. Pick the Right Domain Name Extension
According to Domain Name Stat, 37% of all domains on the internet use the “.com” extension.
This is because the “.com” domain extension is by far the easiest to remember and one that most internet users are familiar with.
That’s not to say that using a “.org” or “.net” extension is a bad idea. On the contrary, many websites have those domain extensions and attract thousands of visitors.
That said, getting a “.com” extension is the safest bet since people tend to remember .com sites more easily. Steer clear of quirky extensions such as “.space” and “.pizza” since they are difficult to remember and not as catchy as “.com.”
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2. Choose a Brandable URL Over a Generic One
The domain name is what leads visitors to your website. For this reason, you must think of the domain name as the foundation of your business and brand.
Choosing a creative, brandable domain name will help your website stand out in an ocean of competitors that have generic, unmemorable domain names.
Generic domain names don’t get recognized because they’re usually stuffed with keywords. Think about it:
If you were presented with a choice of the following three websites to visit, which one would you want to visit:
The third URL stands out because it represents a brand that stands for something, giving it a trust factor. On the other hand, the other domain names are generic and don’t mean anything.
To find a brandable domain name:
- Create new words: Think about Google and Facebook weren’t real words when the founders came up with them. However, they were catchy, and they stuck.
- Use existing words: Dreaming up a new word for your website can be challenging. Instead, you can pick up a thesaurus and look for intriguing words that match the theme of your brand.
- Use a domain name generator: There are dozens of domain name generators available online that you can use to create a brandable domain name. All you have to do is input the keywords and your ideas, and it’ll spit out a solid domain name.
3. Shorter is Better
Generally speaking, the shorter the length of your domain name, the easier it is to pronounce and remember. According to a report by Gaebler, the average domain name length of the top one million most popular websites is 10.1 words.
Interestingly, the most popular websites on the internet tend to have between six and seven characters in the domain name.
When picking a domain name, aim for keeping it between 6 and 14 characters long – the shorter, the better. Getting a good domain name can be tricky since many short domain names are already taken.
However, if you can’t find a short desired domain name for your website, make sure that the name is brandable.
4. Ensure the Domain Name is Easy to Type
Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, CNN – all of the most popular websites have a domain name that is easy to spell.
When looking for a domain name, make sure that your visitors can type it without having trouble spelling it. An easy litmus test for your options is to tell ten friends about the domain name. If your friends are having trouble spelling it or you have to spell it for them more than once, the domain name you’ve chosen is too complicated.
You can either simply the domain name or try to create another name.
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5. The Name Has to Be Easy to Pronounce
In addition to selecting a name that’s easy to spell, the domain name must not be too complicated for the average Joe to pronounce.
The idea is to ensure that your visitors can talk about your site in casual conversation. If the name rolls off the tongue easily, the site may attract visitors by word-of-mouth. An easy-to-pronounce name also ensures that you can share your domain name with prospective customers with ease.
To see if the domain name of your choice is easy to pronounce, you can use the same litmus test we spoke about earlier.
Write down the potential domain name and ask ten of your friends to pronounce it. If all your friends get it right, you have a winning domain name in your hands.
6. Avoid Hyphens and Numbers
Having numbers and hyphens in a domain name makes it difficult to type. The domain name “facebook.com” works because there’s no hyphen in it. “Face-book.com” is not easy to type or spell out for somebody.
We imagine that the hyphen would only make talking about the website more awkward and less cool.
A domain name with a number will sound weird to say aloud, and one with a hyphen will make it difficult to type. So stick to having just letters in the name. Also, avoid using doubled letters since it increases the chances of typos.
7. Think About Using Keywords in the Domain Name
If your website is about cooking, using words like “recipes,” “cooking,” and “food” in the domain name will indicate to visitors that your site involves cooking.
In addition to giving visitors that don’t know about your site context, having a keyword in your URL will also improve the website’s SEO. However, you must approach adding a keyword to your domain name carefully.
Stuffing a keyword in your domain name at an awkward spot will make it sound generic.
If you decide to use a keyword in your domain name, putting the keyword at the beginning of the name is a good idea. Placing the keyword right in the beginning has a significant positive impact on your website’s ranking on SERPs.
To find keywords that you can use in your domain name, use a tool like Google Keyword Planner or Ahrefs Keywords Explorer.
8. Only Use a Name You’ll Like in the Long-Term
The name of your website is what will define your brand and business for years, if not decades to come. Changing the domain later down the road will hurt your brand and rankings, costing you a lot of money.
Remember that you’re in it for the long haul when choosing a domain name. For instance, if you run a small business that sells tea that helps people sleep better, a domain name such as “nighttimetea.com” will work great.
You must consider that your business may want to expand its reach online by engaging in digital marketing activities such as email marketing and PPC advertising. The domain name must be catchy for these efforts to bear fruit.
Also, remember to consider if you want to pin yourself down to a specific niche or not. If you want to expand the website beyond a niche, avoid using a niche keyword in the domain name.
9. Check If the Name is Trademarked or Used
You must check if the domain name is trademarked or someone else is using it. In addition to checking on search engines, look for the name on social media websites.
Building a brand can be challenging, and you will want to use the same name for the brand on your domain, email address, and social media handles. Doing this will help visitors become familiar with your brand and help prospects find it across the web.
Don’t use a name that has a trademark already to avoid legal issues. You could run a search for the name you have in mind manually or use a tool like Knowem.
The tool will search your domain name on 500 social networks and the entire USPTO trademark database and help you ensure you’re in the clear.
If the domain name you came up with is taken, you can slightly modify it. If that doesn’t work, you will need to come up with another name.
10. Use a Domain Name Generator
You should now have a rough idea of what words you should use in your domain name. Some names you come up with will be taken or trademarked already, while others won’t “sound” right.
It’s easy to feel stuck when coming up with a domain name. Using a domain name generator is a great way to get un-stuck. All you’ll need to do is pop your ideas and keywords into the generator, and it will turn them into available domains that you can use right away.
Best Places to Buy a Domain Name
There are dozens of trusted domain registrars on the internet that can help you find the perfect domain name. However, picking the right registrar is important since it can be challenging to move your domain later.
Like web hosting is offered at different prices, domain registrations are also offered at varying prices. Domain registration can cost you between $9 and $24; however, you can get a free domain if you sign up with the right WordPress hosting company.
Where Should You Register Your Domain Name?
The domain name often dictates the success of a site. So, it is critical that you carefully choose your domain name and use the right domain registrar.
We’ve highlighted the best domain registrars in the next section.
Most Popular Domain Registrars
Domain.com is one of the best-known domain registrars in the market, offering top-level domain names at reasonable prices. Finding the right domain will be easier with its smart search feature.
The premium domains available on the site and the management tools supplied make it one of the most reliable domain name registrars around.
You can also trust Network Solutions, a company that’s been in the industry for 25 years and has helped individuals and businesses register over seven million domains. The award-winning customer service and affordable prices make it the go-to domain registrar for many.
GoDaddy is by far the best-known domain registrar worldwide. Managing over 63 million domain names and trusted by over 14 million customers, this is the right option for both new and seasoned webmasters.
Choosing a domain name can be particularly tricky, even more so if you haven’t done it before. However, it shouldn’t be as challenging with the tips mentioned in this complete guide. Remember to keep it simple – if there’s a creative idea to be had, it will strike you.
Keep applying yourself and consider how a name might sound to you a year, five years, and ten years from now.