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.
15 Tips for Choosing a Domain Name
- Choose .com, .org or .net (if you can)
- Consider registering the other main TLDs
- Choose a brandable domain name
- Keep it short & simple
- Make sure it’s easy to pronounce & type
- Use Broad Keywords
- Make It Intuitive
- Avoid hyphens, double letters & numbers
- Avoid the latest trends
- Avoid trademark problems
- Check social network handles
- Check the domain history
- Use a domain name generator
- Act fast before someone else does
- Set your domain to auto-renew
How to Choose the Perfect Domain Name for your Website
Use The Right Domain Name Extension
There are over 1500 different domain name extensions to choose from. These include:
Do you get the idea? Well, unless you are in the market for something funky or exotic, stick with the .com domain name extension.
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.
What if the .com domain isn’t available, or you want something different?. Then consider .org, .net, or your country-code domain name extension.
Although exotic domain name extensions have their uses, for general purposes, stick with .com or your country-code domain name extension.
Consider registering the other main TLDs
After you’ve got the main TLD (.com) in the bag, you should consider getting the other TLDs.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
The best practice is to add a keyword and a brandable name. That is keyword + brandable name.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
When searching for a domain name, check if your options are available as usernames on social media.
There are many reasons for this:
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:
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:
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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!