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. If you need help choosing a domain name, read on.

What makes a good domain name?

Here’s a short guide you can use to check if a domain name is good:

  • Short – Ten characters or under is ideal
  • Easy to type – No abbreviations or unusual spellings
  • No numbers or hyphens – They make it hard to remember your name
  • Unique – You don’t want to violate existing trademarks with your domain

For more detailed advice on how to name your site, read on.

1. Make your domain name 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. Keep your domain short

If your domain name is long and complex, you risk customers mistyping, misspelling it, or just forgetting it. Short and simple is the way to go. Ten characters or less is what you should be aiming for.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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!

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.

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.

11. Secure your domain name fast

Domain names sell quickly. Thankfully, they’re also inexpensive, so register your favourite domain names 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!

 

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.