Choosing a domain name is similar to choosing a company name — it requires a lot of thought and consideration. Your domain name is your identity on the Internet. It is important to choose a name that not only fits your business, but is also easy to find and promote. This applies to creating a hobby website as well.
Follow the steps below to help you pick the perfect domain name.
1. Make it easy to typeFinding a domain name that is easy to type is critical to online success. If you use slang (u instead of you) or words with multiple spellings (express vs. xpress), that will make it difficult for prospective visitors to find your website.
2. Keep it shortIf your domain name is long and complex, you risk customers mistyping or misspelling it. Short and simple is the way to go.
3. Use keywordsTry using keywords that describe your business and the services you offer. For example, if you are a glass replacement business, you may want to register GlassRepair.com or GlassReplacement.com. Include the keywords that people enter when searching for your products or services. This helps improve your rank in search engines and therefore increases traffic. It also makes more sense to your website visitors.
4. Target your areaIf your business is local or if the people you want to reach are local, consider including your city or state in your domain name to make it easy for potential visitors to find you and remember your domain name. For example: PhoenixGlassRepair.com for Phoenix, Arizona.
5. Avoid numbers and hyphensNumbers and hyphens are often misunderstood — people who hear your website address do not know if you are using a numeral (5), if it is spelled out as a word (five), or if there is a dash or underscore involved. If you need any of these in your domain it is best to register the domain names with the different spelling variations also to be safe.
As an example: for my first website I registered homeschoolingrus.com, homeschooling-r-us.com, and home-schooling-r-us.com The Keywords in my case were home school, home schooling, and homeschooling.
6. Be memorableThere are millions of registered domain names, so having a domain that is catchy and memorable is essential. Once you have decided on a name, share it with close friends to make sure it sounds appealing and makes sense to others. Your friends may provide you with valuable feedback and suggestions you had not thought of.
7. Research it (the most important point!)
Make sure the name you have selected is not trademarked, copyrighted or being used by another company. It could result in a huge legal mess that could cost you a fortune, as well as your domain name!
You also do not want to compete with them for traffic (visitors to your website) or get visitors to your site that are really looking for the other company.
8. Use an appropriate domain name extension
Extensions are suffixes, such as .com or .net, at the end of web addresses. These can have specific uses, so make sure to choose one that works for your business, hobby, or organization. The .com domain extension is far and away the most popular, but it can be tough to get a short and memorable .com domain name because it has been around for so long.
A bevy of new generic top-level domains — like .photography, .nyc and .guru offer a great opportunity to register short and highly relevant names. Here are some other top extensions and how they are often used:
- .co : an abbreviation for company, commerce, and community.
- .info : informational websites.
- .net : technical, Internet infrastructure sites.
- .org : non-commercial organizations and nonprofits.
- .biz : business or commercial use, like e-commerce sites.
- .me : blogs, resumes or personal sites.
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.
Pro tip: You do not need to build a website for every domain name variation you register. Instead, you can just redirect any additional domain names to your primary website. Your visitor is unlikely to notice that they are being redirected.
10. Act fast
Domain names sell quickly. Thankfully, they are also inexpensive, so register your favorite domain names as soon as possible! If you are having trouble finding an available name, domain registrars like Domain.com will suggest alternate names during your domain search to help you find the perfect domain name.