14 Tips For Choosing A Great Domain Name
Ready to build your own website?
Of course, you are. If you were nοt ready you wouldn’t be searching for tips on how to choose the best domain name for your website.
But jokes aside choosing a domain name is an important step everyone has to take when trying to create a website. Simply because that domain name will stick with you for a very long time. No matter what your site is for (commercial purpose or not) there are plenty of factors you have to take into consideration before registering one.
Plus a domain name can seriously impact your search visibility. Just to be clear though this is how
- a Domain Name looks like homeemploymentonline.com
- and how a URL looks like https://homeemploymentonline.com/
Sometimes there can be some confusion about it. Especially for people with no prior experience in coding or web design.
So, putting some thought into it is a must.
The good news is there is no lack of free tools you can use to build a website in no time. But i don’t recommend using a free subdomain if you want to create an effective brand name. Free domain names and free web hosting services always come with limitations no matter the provider. But if you have no problem with that or if you just want a site for testing or learning purposes platforms like SiteRubix and WordPress are totally fine.
Should You Buy All The Other Domain Extensions Too?
Sooner or later this question will come up. It always does. That’s why i decided to answer it right from the start so i can get it out of our way.
The answer is no. You don’t have to buy the rest of the TLDs (Top Level Domain) like.org, .net,.co, etc if you don’t want to. It is totally up to you to decide if you ‘ll buy them or not but it is not a necessary requirement. It is perfectly fine if you choose to buy only the .com extension.
The main reason why people will buy all the other available domain extensions is to prevent others from doing so. If you end up buying all the multiple extensions of your domain name you are making sure that no one else will ever be able to create a site with the same domain name but ending in a different TLD. So, by doing that you won’t have to worry anymore if someone else in the future will create a site called yourdomainname.org because that option will no longer be available to them.
On the other hand, though domain names are not that expensive. So, buying all the TLDs is something you should think about. Especially if you don’t want to worry about people creating fake (imposter) sites in an effort to steal your traffic. Unfortunately, this is something that does happen with popular sites. People will use your domain name to build a site with another TLD and take advantage of your popularity.
The good news is the majority of people will not fall for this trick. People will naturally go to the .com site first even if a .net appears in their search results. So the chances of losing visitors are not that high. But still, the danger is there. If your budget allows it then you could go for it.
Now that we are done with that question lets move on and talk about the rest of the things you should be looking for when choosing a great domain name.
1) Choose the .com
Yep, it’s true. You should always go for the .com even if other TLDs are available. I know it sounds like a cliche but is almost always the best option.
There are a couple of reasons for that:
- The .com is the most popular and recognized TLD. People expect a site to end in “.com” and in most cases (if not always) they will automatically type it at the end of the URL they are looking for. Almost everyone will assume your site is .com. Plus people believe the .com websites are more credible and trustworthy compared to the other TLDs. Don’t ask yourself why. That’s just how it is. It is unlikely people to remember a different extension especially if it’s a weird one like “.shop” or “.ninja”.
- If the “.com” is not available it means there is already a website with that name. You don’t want to end up competing with an existing site of the same domain name. It rarely works. Especially if your target market is used visiting the “.com” TLD. People will automatically go there and they won’t visit your “.net” site.
Also if you want to build a brandable, memorable domain you should buy a .com. If your domain is not available with a .com but for some reason, you must have that one then the next best option is a .net, .co, or .org. But personally, i don’t recommend that. The best choice is either to forget about that one all together and choose a different domain name. Or think outside the box and come up with a different version of that domain. (We’ll talk more about this in No.12).
2) Keep it short
Size does matter. And in this case, shorter is better. The more characters a domain name has, the more difficult is for people to remember it. Long domains are also more difficult to share and far more likely to be misspelled. And that means you will lose traffic.
Most experts will agree a good domain name should be no more than 15 characters. Finding a one-word domain nowadays is very difficult. And i really mean that. There are not much left. The next best thing to do is to add one or two more words. But your domain shouldn’t be more than 3 words. Two-word domains have been proven to be very successful in the past.
3) Avoid trademark infringement
Before registering a domain you must always check first you are not violating anyone’s trademark. Big brands (and also small ones) don’t allow others to use their name as a part of their domain name. So, let’s say you want to create a site in a certain niche with the sole purpose to promote a specific product. Using that product’s name in your domain name is almost never a good idea.
Companies do take legal actions against such websites. This is not a hypothetical scenario. It does happen. And it could kill the online business you worked so hard to build. You don’t want to choose a name that’s too close to someone else’s trademark.
Therefore, if you want to avoid such unpleasant surprises in the future you should first google the domain name before buying it. Then go through the first two-page results (at least) and make sure no one else is using it. After all, you don’t want your domain name to be confused with the name of another site or brand.
4) Be creative
Take your time and brainstorm a few ideas. There is no need to rush things. Write down a few key phrases (at least six or five) that accurately describe the topic of your website. Then “play” with the words and create as many domain names as you can. Just use your imagination. For example, you could combine two words to form a longer word. That is a very popular technique used by many popular websites.
Choose the most memorable one and of course the name you like the most.
You could also ask your friends or colleagues opinion. There is no need to pick an exact-match domain. There is no SEO benefit in doing that. You could even register your name as a domain. There is no harm in that. Actually, there are plenty of successful bloggers who did exactly that.
The idea is to choose a domain that’s unique, simple and stands out from the rest. In my opinion is always better to choose a domain relevant to your niche. A name people can easily understand what is about. Avoid using abstract words or terms your target market will be unfamiliar with.
5) Avoid numbers and hyphens
It’s just a bad idea. They cause confusion. Especially hyphens. People won’t type in the hyphens and they will end up at your competitor’s site. A domain with hyphens is difficult to promote. A good domain must be easy to pronounce and spell. If there is a hyphen in there don’t expect people to remember it. You should spell it the same way it’s pronounced.
What is easier to remember and share?
Think about it for a minute. What do you really want from a domain name?
You want a domain you can print on a t-shirt. A name you can print on a business card.
6) Choose a brandable name
Your domain name should also be your brand name. Choosing a brandable domain means choosing a name that makes it clear to everyone right from the start what your website is about. That’s also the reason why number and hyphens are not a good idea for a domain name.
That doesn’t mean that if you invent your own word or choose an obscure one you have no chance of creating a brandable name. I mean Google is not a word and Amazon has nothing to do with retail shopping. But they are recognized worldwide. But names like that also require a lot more work and marketing to make them work. That’s might be something you don’t want to do.
The most important factors for choosing a brandable domain are:
- Unique. It’s different from what your competition uses or from what your target audience is used to.
- Memorable. Don’t complicate things.
- Trustworthy. It must inspire trust and credibility. It must also sound professional.
- User-friendly. Easy to spell, easy to pronounce, easy to share.
- Straightforward. A simple and right to the point name.
That’s it. Follow these tips and you will come up with an awesome brand name.
7) Use who.is
In case you want to know more about a domain name before buying it you can use the who.is tool. It’s not a bad idea to want to know the history of a domain name. That’s why i am adding this tool to the list.
Who.is will show you all the important register info, when the domain name was registered on, who the owner is (assuming they don’t have ID protection) and more. For an extra $10 you can order a full history report for the domain you are interested in.
8) Avoid difficult to spell words
Like i already said before the objective is to choose a memorable and easy to say domain name. If people have to stop and think how to spell it i am afraid you made the wrong choice. But avoid using difficult to spell words is not enough. You should also avoid weird and uncommon words.
Using intentionally misspelled words as your domain name is also not a very good idea. It often leads to failure. People will probably forget about it or they might not even notice is misspelled on purpose. It creates confusion and something not worth trying.
Also, avoid doubled letters like domainname.com. They are prone to typos and result in lost traffic.
And don’t use acronyms. People often forget what the letters mean or how they are spelled. Plus they are commonly used by charities and similar organizations (like WWF). You are running the risk your site to be associated with something you never intended too.
9) Don’t make it too specific
You might want to expand your business later. Choosing a very specific domain name can limit your future options. There is no reason to do that. Unless you have no problem buying a new domain and creating another site for promoting similar products in the same niche.
Picking a domain name that’s relevant to your niche is a good idea. But making it too narrow is not. For example, choosing a specific product/service or the name of a sub-niche as your domain name is not the best thing to do. Your target audience will associate your site with that “term” and nothing else in your niche.
Also moving a WordPress site to a new domain is not the easiest thing to do. And it can negatively impact your traffic and rankings.
10) A domain name is not everything
Picking a good domain name for your blog/site is important. But a domain name on its own can’t guarantee the success of your website. There are many factors that contribute to the success of an online business. That’s why you shouldn’t get stuck when choosing your domain name.
Many people are afraid they will make the wrong choice and hesitate to take action. There is absolutely no reason to worry so much. Even if you pick the best possible domain in your niche it doesn’t mean you will automatically rank high in the SERPs or get a lot of traffic.
Building a site your target market finds useful and helpful should be your objective. Because this is what matters the most. A good domain name is the first step towards that objective. Even if your domain name is not perfect but you nonetheless dedicate yourself to offering valuable information and products to your readers you will succeed.
11) Use keywords
And at the same time don’t use keywords. What i mean by that is don’t use an exact-match domain (EMD). A few years ago it used to be popular to include whole keyword phrases in your domain name. Google has made it very clear they don’t like that. So, if you do that your site might never rank. Choosing an exact-match domain is not a good idea.
Instead, use broad keywords. First of all, start by writing down a few keywords relevant to your website. Keywords that clearly reveal what your site is about. That’s your starting point. Mixing those keywords together can lead to great results.
But don’t try to force a keyword in an effort to create a keyword targeted domain. It could negatively affect your SEO and your rankings. If you could add a keyword or even two that will make clear what your website is about then you should do it.
Keywords are not really that important. The search engines today can understand what your website is about from the rest of the keywords its associated with. As long as you keep adding quality content and a good user experience you will be fine. After all, is not easy to find a domain with your main keyword. You will have to combine your keywords to come up with a great name.
12) What if it is already taken?
There is always the chance your perfect domain name will not be available. It happens all the time. You just need to be more creative. You can modify your keyword, look for similar ones or use an alternative one. Try adding a suffix or a prefix.
You could also add an extra keyword, a slogan, your name or mix words up. There are plenty of techniques you could try. And if you don’t like the end result don’t be afraid to go back to the drawing board and start over again.
And if you need some extra help you should try the following domain name generators :
13) What is the purpose of your website
That’s something you should ask yourself before choosing a domain name. Identifying the core business purpose of your website will also help you choose an appropriate domain name.
Why are you building this website?
What is that you want to achieve?
Answering these questions is the best way to assure yourself that you will make the right choice. Figuring out what is that you want from your website guarantees you will not regret your choice. Also that way you will be sure you chose a domain that creates the right expectations to people hearing your URL for the first time.
Something else you need to remember is not to follow trends. They come and go. Your website is here to stay. Just because something is trending now, it doesn’t mean it will be popular next year.
14) Are you happy with it?
That’s the most important thing. To be satisfied with your choice. Your domain name is the first point of contact with your brand. And first impressions matter.
That’s why it has to be something you feel comfortable with. So, take your time and don’t settle for anything until you are a 100% satisfied with your choice.
Your domain name is your piece of online land. You don’t just want to pick a domain and move on. You want to pick the right one for your business. So, it deserves devoting a few hours or i should better say a few days researching and brainstorming. With these tips in mind, the process of choosing a great domain just become a lot easier.
If you don’t have a website yet but you definitely want one i suggest clicking the button below. Not only you will be able to register a domain name but also learn how to build and monetize your website.
You are of course, more than welcome to leave a comment below and share your thoughts with us. And if you like this post share it with your social media followers.