10 tips for choosing the perfect domain name

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Find your perfect domain name

Choosing a domain name is like choosing a company name — it requires a lot of thought and consideration. Your domain name is your identity on the web. You want to make sure you choose a name that not only fits your business but is also easy to find and promote. But it can be hard to know what makes a good domain name. If you need help choosing a domain name, read on.

How to choose the perfect domain name

 

  1. Keep your domain short and easy to type
  2. Be memorable
  3. Avoid numbers and hyphens
  4. Consider using keywords in your domain
  5. Target your area
  6. Consider a branded domain name
  7. Research it
  8. Secure your domain name fast
  9. Use an appropriate domain name extension
  10. Protect and build your brand

1. Make your domain name is short and easy to type

Finding a domain name that’s easy to type is critical to online success. If you use abbreviations (u instead of you) or unusual spellings (xpress instead of express), it might be harder for customers to remember the name of your site.

2. Be memorable

There are millions of registered domain names, 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.

3. 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.

For the sake of simplicity, it’s usually best to avoid numbers.

Hyphens also complicate your domain name, making it harder to remember and type.

4. Consider using keywords in your domain

You might want to use keywords that describe your business and the services you offer. For example, if you’re a plumber you might want to include the word plumber in your domain name.

However, it can be hard to find a suitable domain name which includes keywords.

Plus, even if you do find a keyword domain name that’s suitable, it isn’t guaranteed to give you a search engine rankings boost.

On the upside, it will let people know what you do.

5. Target your area

If your business is local, consider including your city or area in your domain name to make it easy for local customers to find and remember.

As with including a keyword in your domain, it may be hard to find a suitable domain which includes your location.

However, it will let people know that you operate in their local area.

6. Consider a branded domain name

As it’s difficult to get a good domain name that includes a keyword and your location, you should also consider opting for a branded domain name.

This is the approach taken by most of the world’s biggest online businesses (think Amazon.com).

Don’t get too hung up on whether your branded domain name sounds like it’s the perfect name for a business site. After all, how many people would have said Amazon.com was a good domain name for a business website before it launched?

If you decide to opt for a branded domain name, you’ll still need to make sure it follows the other rules we’ve laid out in this document.

You can use GoDaddy’s domain name generator to help you create a branded domain.

7. Research it

Make sure the name you’ve selected isn’t 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! You can find out who owns a domain using this tool.

8. Secure your domain name fast

Domain names sell quickly. Thankfully, they’re also inexpensive, so register a domain name as soon as possible. If you’re having trouble finding an available name, domain registrars like GoDaddy will suggest alternative names during your domain search to help you find the perfect domain name.

Try it now!

9. 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. 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’s been around for so long.

However, there are loads of other domain extensions available, so why not consider something other than .com?

There are geographic extensions, such as .london, and industry-specific extensions such as .coffee. You can learn more about generic top level domains here.

Check out this guide to see if a .com domain is better.

10. 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.

Image by: John Picken via Compfight cc

Andrea Rowland
A former small business owner and newspaper journalist, and a published nonfiction author, Andrea Rowland helps craft compelling communications for small businesses and web pros through her work as managing editor of the GoDaddy Garage. When she's not writing or editing, she likes to experiment with baking, travel, read, and dip her toes in the ocean.