A domain website name is just as important as choosing your business name. Your domain name will be your internet personality and presence for your business and possibly for yourself. So it’s important to find the perfect name that fits your business’s needs. Here are ten tips on how to choose the right domain name for your website.
1. Try your business name first
The first thing you should check when looking for a domain name is your business’s name. It’s the easiest thing for customers to remember and it helps with consistency in your business’s offline branding. Your website address should be printed on all of your marketing materials – so choosing your business name just makes common sense!
2. Brainstorm 6-8 keywords
If your business’s name is not available, try coming up with six different keywords that describe your business or the services that you provide. After you’ve done that, play around with the words adding prefixes or suffixes to the name. For instance, if you run a coffee shop some great keywords would be coffee, morning delight, coffee beans, aroma, liquid gold, and coffee lover.
3. The Shorter the better
As you’re creating your domain name, remember to keep the name as short as possible. Your domain should increase your company’s brand as well as make it easy to direct people to your website. If, for example, you own a windshield glass replacement company and your business name is Jo’s Windshield Glass & Repair. This would be a bad choice for your domain name:
When you say the slogan in your head, it sounds great but actually written up, it’s a lot to deal with.
A better website address instead would be www.joswinshieldrepair.com. It’s simple and it contains the name of your business as well as gets across to potential customers what it is you do before they even visit your website.
4. Make it easy to remember
Just as you want the name to be short, you also want it to be easy to remember. This will help your customers find your website. If they can’t pronounce it or spell it, then for sure they won’t be able to find you online. Just like in the example of Jo’s Windshield, the first url had way too many chances of misspellings or even getting all the adjectives right. Best it keep it simple all the way around.
5. Be original and creative
One way of making sure that your domain name is memorable is to give it a creative twist. It can be a play on words or something pun-erific. As long as it plays to the demographics of the majority of your customers, it should work. An example of this would be an art gallery who specializes in Monet reproductions who chooses the website name www.impressions.com after the art movement or www.lilyspond.com after his series of Water Lily Paintings. The possibilities are endless.
Remember not to go too overboard. You don’t want to end up getting so creative that no one really understands what exactly your website domain name is referring to. Also, avoid alternate spellings. It’s difficult to remember which spelling that you used and any misspellings will make your company look bad. Keep your creativity within the boundaries of keeping it simple, easy to spell, and memorable.
6. Avoid popular naming trends
Using odd misspellings or multiple hyphens (as was popular in the early 2000’s when domain names were SEO-optimized) can actually hurt more than help. While it may seem like the best thing to do since everyone else is using that strategy, it won’t help with getting your website seen. In fact, your website might blend in with all the other sites that are using the same naming scheme as well. Even using general adjectives such as Phoenixhotcoffee.com or bestwindshieldrepairco.com just makes your domain name longer than it needs to be, and doesn’t add anything to the creativity or originality of the name. Save the catchy tag lines and adjectives for the actual copy on your website.
7. Target your locality
This strategy works well for both local businesses and local franchises. Adding your location to your domain name can help distinguish you from other companies that are similar to yours. For example, if you have a coffee shop with a common name in downtown Anoka, try brainstorming domain names using the keywords: anoka + coffee shop. This will also help website visitors know exactly where to find your store.
8. Choose a dot-com based domain
For your primary website, it is best to stick with the dot-com extension. Mostly because it’s the most popular and has been the default extension that everyone has been used to using for years. Even though .net, .biz, and even some specialty domains like .guru are available now, reserve those for secondary or add-on domains. They can also be used for niche marketing to sell just one of the many products or services that you have to offer.
Here is a list of the most common domain name extensions besides .com, and what they are generally used for:
- .co – This is an abbreviation used for a company, commerce, and community
- .info – This extension is used for informational sites.
- .net – Usually technical and internet infrastructure sites use this extension.
- .org – This extension is used by non-commercial organizations and non-profit groups
- .biz – Used primarily for business or commercial like ecommerce sites.
- .me – This extension is used for blogs, resumes, or personal websites.
9. Protect your brand
One of the best ways you can protect your brand is to buy various domain extensions as well as the dot-com extension. It will help prevent competitors from registering other versions of your website on different domain extensions. If you want to go an extra step, you can also purchase misspellings of your domain name to ensure that if anyone does mistype your url, they will be directed to the correct page.
Don’t worry about having to set up and build a website for each of the domain extensions. You can forward all domains to your main website.
Make sure to Google any and all possible domain names you find available. You should make sure that a company with a bad reputation has not used your domain of choice. You may want to double check that Google has not banned the domain either.
If you do decide to buy other extensions of your domain name, make sure that when you research the name that you’re also checking to see if other extensions are also available.
After you’ve chosen your domain name, act fast. Domain names sell quickly. Luckily they are inexpensive if not already bought by someone else.
Ready to get started?
Iceberg Web Design can help you choose the best domain name for your website, and recommend some alternatives if your name of choice has already been taken. If you have your domain name registered and you’re ready to get started with building your website, our Minneapolis web design company has a great reputation for building and maintaining small business websites. Please contact us for more information on how we can best serve you and your company’s needs.