A domain name is more than just the thing that appears at the top of the page when site visitors come to your website. Choosing a domain name means selecting the identity that you want for your online presence.
After all, a unique and memorable name is more likely to stick with your visitors and encourage them to keep coming back to your site.
Not only does your domain name make you stand out in the digital world, but it also helps to improve your search engine rankings by giving you more access to keywords.
Your domain name is like a street address for your online customers. Get it right, and you’ll improve the credibility and impact of your brand. Get it wrong, and you risk sending your customers into the waiting arms of your competitors.
So, what’s the best way to choose a domain name?
1. Know your Extensions
One of the first things you’ll need to think about when choosing a domain name is the extension that comes at the end of it. There are a lot of different extension options out there, from .org to .net. However, .com is still largely regarded to be the best choice.
.Com is the most familiar domain name extension, which means that it’s easier to remember. Additionally, because it was the first domain name option ever available, it’s also the option with the most history and heritage. If you want to grow your business in 2019, 2020, and beyond, you need to start by gaining your customer’s trust with a .com domain name.
2. Make Sure your Business Name is Brandable
Once you’ve got your domain extension chosen, the next step in choosing your domain name is making sure that the center portion of the URL is up to scratch. The bit that comes between the www. and .com part of your domain name is usually a business name, like Google or Amazon. However, you’ll need to ensure that this name is brandable if you want it to stand out.
A brandable name highlights the personality of your company and shows your customers what you stand for, rather than just cramming your URL full of keywords. For instance, Amazon.com is so much more memorable than onlinemarketplace.com.
To ensure that your moniker is brandable:
- Create a new word, just like Bing, Yahoo, and Google did
- Use existing words that describe the heart of your brand, like Amazon did
- Focus on creating a feeling with your name, rather than just listing keywords
3. Keep it Short and Sweet
You’ve probably noticed that many of the leading domain names in the world today are short and simple. Consider Facebook.com, for instance, Twitter, or even Instagram. That’s because a shorter name is easier to type, remember, and share than its lengthier counterpart.
The most common name length is around 12 characters for today’s domains, but if you can get shorter than that, then you probably should.
Our website, https://meridianthemes.net, goes a little longer than the 12 character limit. But part of that reason is because the shortest domain names have already been claimed. However, it’s not so long that it overwhelms browsers or users.
You’ll need to find the right balance between a domain that’s short and one that’s unique.
Here are some helpful tips:
- Use a new made-up word that contains only a few letters
- Combine crucial words, like Meridian and Themes
- Consider basic niche keywords for your name
4. Make it Easy to Type and Say
We’re living in a world of social media, where people are constantly sharing their favorite websites and tools online. Boosting your chances of long-term success in today’s landscape means more than just choosing the right theme for your WordPress blog.
You also need to figure out how to choose a domain name that your customers want to share.
Focus on simplicity above all else. Your visitors need to be able to type your domain name without wondering where a dash or hyphen goes, or if you’ve used a strange spelling in a common word.
Here are some things to avoid:
- Special characters like periods and hyphens
- Unusual spellings with extra letters
- Words that are phonetically difficult
While you’re at it, make sure that you’re choosing a domain name that rolls just as easily off the tongue as it does the fingers. In other words, make it easy to talk about not just type.
Since word of mouth is by far the most valuable way to grow your company at record speed, without spending a fortune, you’ll want to encourage as much buzz as possible.
5. Look Into the Long-Term
One of the biggest mistakes that companies make is choosing a domain name or brand name based on what their company does right now instead of creating an evergreen name that will last for ages.
In a world where many of the best domain names are already taken, it’s easy to base your URL on something simple, like what you sell (e.g., Bestshoes.com) or where you sell it (e.g., TopShoesCalifornia.com).
Unfortunately, while getting specific with your domain name will increase your chances of finding a URL that’s available, it also means that you’re restricted in how much your company and site can grow.
For instance, what if your site, Bestshoes.com, decides to start selling other clothes in the next five years? You’ll need a complete rebrand for your website. This means expensive design changes and an entirely new marketing strategy to make sure people are aware of your new name.
The same applies to location-based names. With the internet, you can sell your products and services to people across the globe. This is especially true if you have the right eCommerce and dropshipping plugins. Forcing yourself to stick to a specific area just limits your earning potential.
6. Get Inspired
Sometimes, the toughest part of choosing a domain name for your business is just getting started.
It can be challenging to determine what kind of name you’re looking for without some initial inspiration to help you out. Fortunately, there are plenty of blog name generators and automated tools that can help to give you a head-start.
Although you might not find an ideal name with a blog name generator, you can start combining words and terms that describe your business into something that might be suitable for your company. Once you’ve got a selection of ideas that you like, you can work together with your team members to tweak the title into something more appealing.
To start choosing a domain name with a generator you should:
- Select keywords that describe your business
- Choose a length for your name
- Decide how you want to mix and match your keywords
7. Do Your Due Diligence
There are currently more than 1.5 billion websites online. That means that a considerable number of domain names have already been taken.
When you’re considering the best way to choose a domain name, it’s important to think about how you can protect yourself from potential trademark issues. To do this, start by checking trademarks to see if any names have already been registered, even if a website doesn’t exist with that domain name yet.
Once you’ve done your due diligence, you’ll know that you can safely start using a name without getting into any legal problems.
Remember, you’ll also need to check to see if your name has been taken on any social media sites too. To build your brand, you should be consistent across all of your digital assets, as this will help to develop familiarity.
Look for access to your name on:
- Social media sites
- Industry directories
- Google Maps
8. Register your Domain Name
Once you’ve gathered a handful of potential domain names and narrowed down your choices with a few due diligence strategies, the next step is to register the domain name you want to use. In other words, take ownership of that domain name and you start using it to sell your products.
Usually, you can purchase a domain name during the process of choosing a hosting plan for your online business. In fact, most hosting packages will come with the option to add a domain name into the mix.
However, you can purchase a domain separately through a dedicated register if you want. For some companies, getting a domain and hosting details from the same place is the cheapest and most efficient way to launch their online business. Other brands prefer to mix and match to access a better deal.
Fortunately, if you pick your domain name elsewhere and register it with a separate company, you’ll still be able to connect it to your site.
Just make sure you check the rules and conditions for adding a domain name to a hosting package before you make any purchases.
The Best Way to Choose a Domain Name
Learning how to choose a domain name that suits your site and appeals to your target audience can seem overwhelming at first. After all, this is one of the most important decisions you’ll need to make. However, with the right tools and a little research, the process becomes much simpler than you’d think.
If you have a domain name in mind already, and are looking for ways to generate more money, check out this helpful roundup of ways to make money online. Even if you know you’re going to open up an eCommerce shop, there are many other ways to monetize your site and supplement your income.
How did you decide on your website’s domain name? Are you still in the process of picking one? We’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!