Your domain name is your online identity. Sure, you could use the WordPress or Squarespace domain that comes with your free website. But your domain name is the first impression visitors have of you and your business. In this sense, it’s not just an extension of your brand, but also provides helpful information to anyone searching you out. Oh, and speaking of searches, your domain name has the ability to positively impact SEO. So, if you’re concerned about how to choose a domain name for your website, you’re not alone. After all, it is a pretty important decision.
Tips for Choosing a Domain Name
Coming up with a kick-butt domain isn’t an exact science, but there are certainly a few best practices for choosing a domain name that will make a big difference. The best way to choose a domain name is to go slowly and consider the following before settling on your new web address.
You can have the most thoughtfully designed site that’s perfectly optimized for conversions and search engines alike. It might even contain the world’s most engaging content. But the likelihood of a new user visiting your site drops dramatically if the site is difficult for them to find.
Confirm that your domain name is easy to pronounce by sharing it, in writing, with at least ten different people. Ensure each of them can pronounce it out loud, correctly, on the first try. If there are any sticking points, go back to the drawing board.
In general, creativity is viewed as a huge plus, especially when learning how to pick a catchy domain name. But choosing a domain name for your business might not be the time for thinking outside the box. You want people to recall your domain name quickly and type it accurately. Here are a few faux pas that can stand in the way:
Funny Spellings – Sorry, but a domain name isn’t the place for cre8tive spellings. Using an uncommon (or made-up) spelling makes it incredibly difficult for users to find your website.
Homophones – Words with a single pronunciation but more than one spelling should be avoided in domain names. How will a user know whether you mean “new” or “knew” when they hear your domain name spoken aloud?
Numbers and Hyphens – In the same vein, avoid hyphens and numbers in your domain name, as they are confusing when it comes time to type it into a web browser.
Commonly Misspelled Words – Words that are difficult to spell can cause just as much trouble as made-up spellings or homophones. For the sake of ease, avoid using the most commonly misspelled words in your domain name.
To ensure it’s easy to spell, do another experiment. Say your domain name out loud to at least ten different people and ask them to jot down what you said. Did they spell it right? If not, you still have work to do.
Want to know how to choose a good domain name for your business? Keyword research! Including words in your domain that relate to your business makes it easier for users to understand what your website is about. It also makes it easier for customers to find you.
Consider using keywords that describe the services you offer or products you sell. Bonus: this can also boost SEO. If you choose to use keywords, they’ll be most beneficial at the beginning of your domain name as opposed to the middle or end.
Before you settle on a domain name, think about your long-term goals. Do you dream of turning your small dog-walking business into a well-known doggy daycare and boarding facility? Then a domain name focused on dog walking might not be the way to go. Sure, the keyword is relevant now, but it could hurt you way more down the road than it will benefit you today.
Of course .com is by far the most well-known domain extension. However, since it’s been around for so long, the availability of affordable .com domain names shrinks every day.
In good news, there are several new domain extensions available. Think: .shop, .club, .photos, and .pet. If you decide to go this route, don’t just choose the first extension that pops up. Consider how to choose a domain name extension that will add clarity and context to your website. Dig into your options. You may find that there is an extension that works perfectly for your niche.
Okay, now that you know how to choose great a domain name, it’s time for some due diligence. There are several factors unrelated to the name itself that will impact the viability of any given domain.
Trademarks and Copyrights –Be sure no part of your domain name is trademarked, copyrighted, or in use by another company.
For instance: even if the domain OldNavy.net is available, you probably shouldn’t use it to blog about your grandfather’s experience as a Naval Officer during the Korean War. Not only could this confuse those shopping for cargo pants and puffer vests, but you don’t want the headache of a legal battle arising from copyright or trademark infringement.
Cost– This is an important factor when picking a domain and choosing a domain name extension. Your ideal domain name could cost a pretty penny. If you’re on a budget, brainstorm additional variations of your domain name and compare costs before making your final decision.
Social Media – Social is where it’s at when it comes to today’s digital marketing. It’s a good idea to make sure your domain name – or something very close to it – can be used as a social media handle.
If you need help choosing a domain name, there are several online tools to get you started. While they won’t do all of the work for you, they’ll make choosing a business domain name a little bit easier.
Keyword tools such as Google Keyword Planner can help you come up with a list of keywords related to your business.
Online “brainstorming” tools use keywords you provide to generate relevant domain name ideas. Tools like Lean Domain Search help you learn how to pick a domain name that sets you apart from the rest.
A Hosting Service will be your last stop after choosing a business domain name. Enter your desired domain with a service like GoDaddy or Bluehost to start the process of actually purchasing your domain.
How to Choose A Domain Name with Confidence
One thing’s for sure, a great website starts with a great domain. If you’re overwhelmed by what must be considered when choosing a domain name, you’ll benefit from our years of experience as we help you find one that accurately expresses what your brand is all about. At Hungry Media we specialize in developing websites that help businesses grow. From eye-catching design, to captivating copy, to a top-notch user experience – we can create it from domain down, or simply update your current site. Contact us today. We can’t wait to meet you!
contributed by Melissa Lucas, senior staff writer