You have come up with that new business and you are ready to tell the world about it! Well, time to think about your brand online. More and more entrepreneurs are picking their new company name or product name based on their ability to get the domain name! It is a safe bet that the easiest names you can think of may already be taken, so now it is time to get creative. Your domain name may very well become how the world refers to your company both online and IRL.
Now we will be the first one to tell you we didn’t follow all these rules ourselves. So when it comes to good advice, it really comes down to what you are comfortable with and apply the advice best you can.
Follow the steps below to help you pick the perfect domain name:
1. Use keywords
Start by making a list of keywords that explain your business. It might be your company name or a product you will be highlighting on the website.
As an SEO first website development company, we love URLs that actually explain what is in the website/web page.
Some examples: if your business sells custom baskets, try custombaskets.com. If you are a personal trainer, use fitnesstraining.com or personaltrainer.com.
Try to include the words that people enter into Google when searching for your products or services.
It helps improve your rank on search engines results pages and just makes more sense to your visitors.
2. Keep it short and simple
Keep it short and simple. If your domain name is long and complex, you risk customers mistyping or misspelling it. Short and simple is the way to go if you want people to remember your domain name. Also, avoid difficult abbreviations just to make a URL shorter. If an abbreviation is hard to remember, a shorter URL may not be better URL without a huge marketing budget behind it to teach people the abbreviation.
Test: which is easier for you to remember: plcif.org or petislawfoundation.org
3. Make sure it is easy to remember
Finding a domain name that’s easy to remember is critical to your customers being able to find you easily, even when they don’t have your business card in front of them. If you use text slang like U for you or 2 in place of to or too, you may be asking too much of your potential visitors. Whenever possible use REAL words and not strange spellings or abbreviations… think “receive” is better than “rcv” and “people” is better than “ppl”.
4. Target your physical location
If your business is a local business, consider including your city or state in your domain name to make it easy for local customers to find and remember.
5. Avoid 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. If you need these in your domain, register the different variations to be safe. For example, bridge2sports.com and bridgetosports.com.
Hyphens are just difficult for people to understand and even harder for voice search like Alexa or Google Home. We know this for a fact because we messed this up years ago when we registered our domain. If we could go back, we would not have put a hyphen in our domain name. Another note here though is that as more domains are registered, it is becoming more commonplace to see domains with hyphens, so we can see this rule being a bit flexible these days.
6. Avoid these words when possible
If you can avoid it, try not use “a”, “an”, “the” to start a url and “and”, “but”, “or”, or “with” to connect ideas. These words just make your URL longer and harder to remember.
6. Be memorable
With so many companies out there and the cost of domain names being cheap, you need to make sure your domain name is memorable. It needs to last in a person’s mind after they have lost your business card or heard it from a friend. 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.
For example, LittleDogConsulting.com is much more memorable than bigguywithalittledog.com
7. Check if someone is already using it
You can research your domain to see if it is available at WhoIs.com. Start here. Once you find one, make sure you don’t select a URL that is trademarked or copyrighted. It could result in a huge legal mess that could cost you a fortune, as well as your domain!
8. Use an appropriate domain name extension
Extensions are the things at the end of your domain, think .com, .net, .org, .edu, .gov. There are lots of them these days and more coming all the time. This provides some flexibility when picking your URL. There are some rules around some extensions like .gov is for government sites only and .edu is for higher education (colleges and universities). We recommend trying first to get a .com for all for-profit businesses and .org for all non-profits. If the .com is not available think about some of the new new generic top-level domains — like .co, .photography, .consult, .fm. We recommend also avoiding .biz and .me website extensions.
For a full list of extensions head to Wikipedia
9. 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.
10. Domains are cheap… Act Fast
You can buy domains, without hosting, for as little as $1 for 1 year. This means domain can sell quickly. We don’t recommend buying the cheapest domains, as they can be harder to work with when developing a site. We recommend https://domains.google for your domain, as it includes privacy with the purchase and can be as low as $12/year. Keeping your personal contact information out of the WhoIs.com directory for the world to see.
Do you want an opinion on your URL before you buy? We are happy to help. Send us an inquiry and we will get back to you quickly. We can even help you find the right URL for your business or product.