How to Choose the Perfect Domain Name

Choosing the perfect domain name that makes an impression is important, it can say a lot about you or your business. It's something you really need to get right! Here's our top 15 essential tips to consider..
How to Choose the Perfect Domain Name

You need a domain name to launch a website. A domain name helps people to identify and locate your website/brand. It is that simple.

What isn’t simple is choosing a domain name. Every website owner has experienced the difficulty of coming up with a domain name. Coming up with ideas can be challenging, but coming up with the perfect domain name for your website can seem impossible.

Relax. We are here to make the impossible possible. That is why we came up with this guide on how to choose a good domain name for your website.

How to Choose the Perfect Domain Name for your Website

#1.

Use The Right Domain Name Extension

There are over 1500 different domain name extensions to choose from. These include:

  • .eat
  • .xyz
  • .mobi
  • .smile
  • .cool
  • .vip
  • .design
  • .shop
  • .me
  • .tech
  • .club
  • .life

Do you get the idea? Well, unless you are in the market for something funky or exotic, stick with the .com domain name extension.

how to choose the perfect domain name

Why?… Most people atomically add a .com to every website name they hear. It is that simple.

Despite the increase in alternative domain name extensions, .com domain names account for almost 70% of all domain names. This isn’t an absolute rule, but there are plenty of reasons for it.

  • Memorability: If you want your domain name to be memorable, then you should go with .com
  • Website traffic: If you have a popular domain name, someone might register it with a .com extension and divert your web traffic


What if the .com domain isn’t available, or you want something different?. Then consider .org, .net, or your country-code domain name extension.

  • .org – is a good choice for not-for-profit organisations.
  • .net – works well with websites that involve a lot of interactions among users.
  • .uk – is a good choice for websites that want to target audiences in the UK.


Although exotic domain name extensions have their uses, for general purposes, stick with .com or your country-code domain name extension.

#2.

Consider registering the other main TLDs

After you’ve got the main TLD (.com) in the bag, you should consider getting the other TLDs.

  • Prevent fraud: Fraudsters are on the prowl for websites they can clone. They then go on to use the cloned websites to steal money from unsuspecting visitors. To prevent this, register all the main TLDs associated with your domain name. If your primary TLD is .uk, consider registering the .com and .co.uk TLDs.
  • Keep your options open: In the beginning, you might decide to stick with a .co.uk website. After all, you are targeting UK audiences, and that TLD works fine. Suppose you choose to go international or focus on another country in a few years and then notice the TLD associated with that country is taken. By that time, you would have to spend more money than you would if you had simply registered the TLD.
  • Increase site traffic: Imagine your preferred domain extension is .co.uk. Then you realise everyone thinks your website ends with .com. You could keep telling people it’s .co.uk or you simply register the .com and direct it to your .co.uk website. This way, you won’t lose web traffic.


Depending on your budget, you might not be able to purchase all the TLDs at once. Make it a goal to buy one every few months, and soon you will have your entire basis covered.

#3.

Choose a Unique & Brandable Domain Name

A domain name is an integral part of your online profile. You need a domain name that helps you stand out from the crowd. This is important regardless of whether you are building a personal or business website.

brandable domain names

While there are many popular websites with odd domain names, realise they are the exception and not the rule. You have many tasks ahead; make them easier by having a domain name that helps your online profile and brand.

  • Unique: You need a domain name that is different from others. Stay away from cloning popular names. Go with a name that cannot be confused with other domain names.
  • Specific: Long domain names are good, but you are better off with something short and specific. If you can choose a name that relates to your niche, go for it. If not, choose something short and precise. (For instance, apple.com.)
  • Brandable: To choose a brandable name, try this simple formula. Choose a short word that reflects your niche and add a word after it for brandability. For example, Hostadvisor.co.uk – host + advisor. (Yes. If you’ve got a good domain name, flaunt it!)
#4.

Opt for a Short & Simple Domain Name

There are 99 problems associated with online brands, don’t make your domain name the hundredth. Keep it short and simple. Here are a few pointers:

  • Length: The shorter, the better. If you can, choose a domain name that is less than twelve characters and no more than two words. You can experiment with longer forms. Just know that the longer a domain name, the more likely it is to be misspelt or even forgotten. Play it safe by making your domain name as short as possible. You can use abbreviations, e.g. mag instead of magazine.
  • Local: If you are building a local brand, try making your domain name something the locals can easily remember. You don’t have to overthink this. A single reference, such as a street or town name, works here. Just make sure the reference doesn’t point somewhere else. You can also use local TLDs.
  • Foreign words: You need to be careful with foreign words. They might give your brand an exotic feel, but that comes at a price. Many of them sound different from how they are spelt. If you are going to use a foreign word, make sure it is easy to spell. Better still, make the spelling reflect the way it is pronounced.
#5.

Make sure it’s easy to pronounce & type

So you found the perfect name for your website. It relates to your niche and is short and simple. The only ‘small’ problem is that many people find it hard to pronounce or has more than one possible spelling.

domain pronounciation

That is not a ‘small’ problem; it is a big problem. In fact, you should strike out that domain name from your list and look for an alternative that is easy to pronounce and type.

Why?

Your name isn’t restricted to a browser address bar. It is something people are going to pronounce. That is why you need a domain name that is easy to pronounce and type.

Consider the following:

  • In many cases – you will have to read it out to someone else.
  • When people type a domain name into a website browser – they will most likely spell the word the way it sounds. If there is more than one way to spell it, they will use the spelling they are familiar with.
  • If a website visitor doesn’t know how to spell your domain name – they could turn to a search engine. The search engine could lead them to a competitor’s page. Yikes!
  • Lastly – many people share their favourite websites by word of mouth. This can be through physical communication and audio chats.


As you can see, there are many ways in which things could go wrong with a domain name that is hard to pronounce or has multiple spellings. If you have a domain name that sounds different from how it’s spelt, you will lose website traffic to other sites and search engines.

Plus, people find it easier to remember names they can pronounce correctly. This applies to domain names too. So save yourself and your website visitors the stress of dealing with a hard-to-pronounce name.

#6.

Use Broad Keywords

A keyword is a word that relates to your niche. For instance, ‘WordPress’ is a keyword. There are millions of search engine queries that relate to using WordPress. Having that word in your domain name (or alternatives such as WP) can increase your visibility in the search engine.

In the past, keywords were everything; webmasters would insist that you stuff niche keywords into your domain names. Well, in the past, that worked. Now, it doesn’t.

domain name keyword search tool

Besides, focusing exclusively on niche keywords can create branding issues. What’s the solution for modern times? Use broad keywords. Using a broad keyword has three benefits:

  • It helps humans – to figure out what your website is about. People can quickly tell if your content is for them or not.
  • It helps search engines – to figure out what your website is about. This can cause a bump in search engine ranking.
  • It helps you to branch out – Operating within a narrow niche can be frustrating, especially when the traffic dries up or you run out of ideas and content. A broad keyword gives you room to explore other sub-niches.


The best practice is to add a keyword and a brandable name. That is keyword + brandable name.

#7.

Make It Intuitive

Sometimes it is good to be mysterious. But trust us on this one; your domain name should be logical and intuitive. Here’s why. There are billions of websites on the internet and at least hundreds of thousands of websites in your niche. You need web visitors to know if your website can provide what they need.

The first point of contact is your domain name. That is why domain names like carinsurance.com sell for millions. They are intuitive. You take one look at it, and you know exactly what to expect from the website. Another benefit of intuitive domain names is that they are easy to remember.

They also pop up in conversations with ease. If you run a reviews site and there’s something related to reviews in your domain name, people will remember to recommend you when a friend asks for a review site.

#8.

Avoid Hyphens, Double Letters & Numbers

It is best to avoid hyphens, double letters and numbers when choosing a domain name. The problem with hyphens is that:

  • They are hard to remember
  • They can confuse the listener
  • They can be tagged as spam


Take, for instance, city-data.com; it is an information site. However, most people will simply type citydata.com, which will redirect them to a different website. Plus, when you tell people there is a hyphen in your domain name, you must specify if they should spell out the hyphen or use the punctuation mark.

domain name hyphen

Then there is the issue of spamming. Spammers use hyphens to clone actual sites, for example, app-le.com to clone apple.com. That is why people might assume sites with hyphens are spamming websites.

Double letters can cause – double spellings and can be hard to remember.

You might think of fiverr.com as proof that this isn’t an absolute rule. Of course, it isn’t, but remember, Fiverr has a huge marketing budget. They could keep running ads until people realised the double rr. You probably don’t have that budget.

Numbers are very confusing. When people hear a number, they wonder if they should spell it out or type the numeral. Of course, sites like 9gag.com have managed to get it off. But remember, they are the exception, not the rule.

#9.

Avoid following the latest trends

Trends are good. You need to ride on trends if you want to get your content out as quickly as possible. However, while some of your content can be tailored to trends, you should not tailor your website’s identity to a particular trend.

For instance, the best social networks do not contain words like viral, trends, videos, and the rest.  Even if you are starting your website based on the current trend, you should give your website an independent identity. That way, you will be able to take advantage of other trends.

Trends come and go. Your website should be able to survive the rise and falls of trends. This also applies to niches. Do not add a very restricted keyword to your domain name unless you are sure that that niche will remain profitable for a very long time. The only exception to the rule is if you are targeting a trend or season that keeps reoccurring.

For instance, you could start a website that focuses on Christmas trees. Christmas comes every year, so you will always be relevant, even if it’s just for a few months in a year. If this rocks your boat, go for it.

#10.

Avoid issues with trademarks

Imagine your competitor has huge traffic. You can snag some of that traffic by choosing a variation of their domain name. Things could work out well for a while, but you are sure to run into multiple trademark problems like:

  • Lawsuits: Top brands constantly monitor the internet for domain names that seem similar to their domain names and trademarks. If they have the slightest feeling you are trying to steal their trademark, you’ll be slammed with a lawsuit. We are pretty sure that’s not the kind of attention you want.
  • Suspension: Let’s assume you avoid the big brands and decide to copy the domain name of a local competitor. They might not have the money to sue, but they can file a trademark infringement complaint with your registrar. Your registrar will look into the complaint, and when they find you guilty, they will suspend your domain name. All your hard work will be gone.
  • Hurts long term growth: If by some slim chance you manage, you avoid all of that, your domain name is still a problem. It will never become a distinct brand; it will always remain a copycat – for life. It is better to build a distinctive brand. It will take time, but it will help you avoid problems like this.
#11.

Check social networks (to see if the name is taken)

We can’t say this too many times: your domain name is a part of your online profile. It is an essential part of your brand identity. That is why you shouldn’t leave it to chance.

domain name twitter handle

When searching for a domain name, check if your options are available as usernames on social media.

There are many reasons for this:

  • Traffic: The best brands have uniform usernames. This means they have the same usernames across multiple platforms. You can thrive with different usernames, but you risk losing visitors. Many people would assume that your username on Twitter would be the same on Instagram.
  • Branding: Marketing and branding are a lot easier when your domain name is your brand’s username across social media sites.
  • Memorability: It’s a lot easier to remember a domain name if it’s the same username on social media. This is very effective if you have a .com domain name extension. They simply have to add .com, and they are on your website.
  • Fewer headaches: brainstorming a domain name was hard enough. Imagine going through the stress of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Save yourself the stress by brainstorming a domain name available as a username across your preferred social media platforms.
#12.

Check the Domain History (Wayback Machine)

This tip applies to those who are building their website with a pre-existing domain name. A pre-existing domain name comes with a lot of benefits, such as:

  • Popularity
  • Existing web traffic
  • Niche-specific domain name


That said, they also come with a lot of risks. One of such risks is that the previous owners have been involved in some dirty tricks to boost web traffic. Google and other search engines typically penalise such sites in search ranking when their (the sites) dirty tricks are discovered. If you purchase the domain name of such sites, you also inherit their penalties.

The other risk is that the sites have been used for questionable activities or businesses you don’t want to be associated with. These include adult entertainment, gambling, or even fraud. There is no way you can tell by simply looking at the domain name. That is why you need a Wayback machine.

Wayback Machine is an online tool that shows you the websites associated with a particular domain name. You can use that tool to see what businesses the domain name has been involved in. some will even show you the WHOIS history. There are many free and paid Wayback machine tools to choose from. Some of them are:

#13.

Use a Domain Name Generator

Brainstorming for domain names can be a tasking and time-consuming exercise. You also have to check if the domain names you come up with are available or not. You can use online domain name generator tools to save yourself time and stress.

lean domain search domain name generator

Domain name generator tools are online tools that you can use to develop ideas for domain names. To use them, you simply enter keywords, make a few specifications and run the search. The results page will show you domain name ideas to choose from. Some of them will be in your preferred extensions, while others might be with extensions you never knew existed.

The best thing about domain name generators is that they are all free. Some even allow you to save your searches so you can come back to them later.

If you don’t know where to start from, here are a few domain name generator tools that we recommend:

#14.

 Act fast before someone else does!

At every given movement, you can be sure that people are searching for domain names to register. Some are looking for domain names for their websites, while others are simply hoarding domain names – the best domain names they can find.

That means if you find a domain name you like, you should act fast by registering it on time with a domain registrar. You should also open social media accounts using your domain name as usernames too.

Here are some of the benefits of acting fast:

  • It saves time and stress: Coming up with the right domain name typically takes a lot of time and brainstorming. Once you have come up with a domain name you work with, it makes sense to register it at once. If you don’t like it, you can auction it. If you don’t register it and someone else registers it, you’ll have to go through another time consuming and stressful brainstorming.
  • It spurns you to action: A lot of us procrastinate. One way to defeat procrastination is to get started. If you’ve always wanted to create your own website/business, then registering your domain name is an excellent place to start.
  • It secures your social media accounts: New websites are created every day. It’s only a matter of time before someone starts a website using your social media handle. Those who follow your account might assume the website belongs to you. In the end, you might have to create a website with another name and then change your username to match the domain name.
#15.

Finally – Set your domain to auto-renew!

You can’t register a domain name for life. The longest single period you can register a domain for is 10 years. After this, you have to renew the registration.

Here is the catch: if you don’t renew the domain name when it expires, someone can register the domain name as their own.

There are many instances of people who lost their domain name simply because they failed to renew their domain name when it expired. Most domain name registrars will send you a notice when your domain name is about to expire. However, to be on the safe side, use the auto-renewal feature.

dont forget image

The auto-renewal feature helps to renew your Domain name registration automatically when it is about to expire. It used the card information that you used in making your first purchase. Some registrar turns on the auto-renewal feature by default, while others don’t.

You can look out for the auto-renewal feature at the time of making your purchase. You can also check your dashboard to see if the auto-renewal feature is turned on.

Conclusion

Choosing a domain name can be a time-consuming, stressful and yet fun process. Just follow our tips, and you are sure to be on the right track.

Remember, the perfect domain name is the one that fits your needs. You don’t have to put a hole in your pocket when £10 can do the trick!

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