Deciding on a domain name is like choosing a name for your child — not usually an easy thing to do. Yet, the name you choose will stay on the web forever. Therefore, focus on selecting a name that will withstand the test of time and continue to promote your business.
If you are struggling to come up with something that resonates with your prospects, or if the domain name you’re eyeing off has already been taken, don’t give up — there’s more than one way to cook an egg!
In this article, we aim to provide insights into how to choose the best domain name and ensure your website’s identity aligns with your business brand.
How to Choose a Domain Name for Your Business 🔎❓
Choosing a domain name is a crucial step for your business’s online presence. Carefully selecting a name that represents your brand and company well — and a name that resonates with your customers — will be the difference between increased user interest and your website not generating a high click rate and ultimately a low prospects-to-leads conversion.
Here are 10 important points you should consider while picking a domain name 👇👇
#1 – Consider Using a .com or .com.au Extension
Domain names have two distinct parts: the name and the extension. When combined, they form the entire domain ‘address.’
Just like the domain name, not all extensions are created equal. The most common and well-known extension is .com (or .com.au in Australia), initially used for classifying websites into commercial sectors. However, the categorisation is no longer a hard and fast rule, as over 50% use .com these days.
Here’s our quick guide for understanding the latest .au extension. In addition, the .au (without .com.au) is here to provide more options for businesses.
If you want to reach overseas markets, you should consider registering both .com.au and .com extensions. Of course, it’s tempting to go with a fancy extension like .pizza or .photos, but you must consider the consequences of choosing anything that’s not on the top domain list (TDL).
It’s worth noting that search engines like Google view all extensions as equal. Therefore, no matter the extension you end up going with, they will have an equal chance of ranking in search engines.
#2 – Choose a Unique & Specific Name
Your domain name is usually the first thing people see and ultimately should be an extension of your brand and company. Therefore, you want to choose something succinct and catchy that aligns with your brand.
Although the focus should be on wanting a domain name that is short and sweet, your creativity shouldn’t be hampered because of it. On the contrary, creativity helps your visitors/prospects remember your website and grow your business.
While crafting your website’s name, try to keep it between 6-14 characters. Websites with fewer characters are easier to remember. However, if a short term is not feasible due to unavailability or budget constraints, make sure what you create is original and brandable.
Spend time crafting a strong brand that includes everything from your domain name to logos to colour combinations. When done right, this can positively impact your organisation’s growth.
Focus on using words that are easy to spell. Also, steer clear of using alternative spellings, which can confuse your customers while searching for your website. People won’t generally have the patience to search for a particular website multiple times on Google, so make it easy.
#4 – Make it Easy to Pronounce
Besides being accessible, the domain name should also be easy to pronounce. Because people will talk about you and your company — and if the brand name is a veritable tongue twister, the difficulty in articulation could affect your company’s growth potential.
Domains must be easy to pronounce so prospects can quickly share them by word of mouth. Additionally, think about processing fluency. It is the ease with which a brain can process information.
Therefore, names that don’t require a person to strain their memories are easier to remember, and thus, more likely to make a positive, long-lasting impression.
For example, when the founders of Google were considering what to call their search engine, they nearly chose Alphabet or BackRub, which is significantly more challenging to pronounce and type.
Although the word “google” didn’t have a dictionary meaning back in the day, it has this zing. When you hear words like “google” or “yahoo,” they are instantly recognisable and easy to remember.
Don’t forget the all-important branding aspect — when you hear BackRub or Alphabet, do they mean search engine to you?
#5 – Avoid Hyphens, Numbers, and Doubled Letters
It may be tempting to be creative with your domain name by substituting some words with numbers, double letters, or even inserting hyphens in the middle.
Avoid these three things at all costs!
Exception: Sometimes, it may be better to use a number creatively. For example, if the number is part of your brand in general, as in ‘9gag.’
Avoid hyphens because people will not intuitively know when to put a hyphen in the name. In addition, people are now accustomed to websites without hyphens or any other special characters.
Building on the importance of SEO, keywords can be utilised within your domain name as well.
Thinking about SEO upfront can help you develop a strategic plan as your company/brand grows. By choosing low to medium targeted keywords, it’s possible to get a solid start on ranking your website on Google.
Although Google has stated that keywords in the website’s domain name don’t directly influence its ranking, the real value comes with anchor text. Anchor text is used for linking sites to other sites. And if you have an “exact match” that includes a keyword mirroring the page being attached, the site’s SEO will benefit from it.
Utilising keywords within your domain name is a great idea, but this step should be done simultaneously with research regarding the availability of the domain name. Nothing is worse than putting in all the hours of finalising the perfect name and the keywords to go with it, only to find out that the domain is way expensive or already taken.
If you’re looking for an excellent place to start learning SEO strategies, check out this handy resource here: 8 stupid SEO myths debunked.
#7 – Use a Thesaurus and/or Domain Name Generators
Coming up with a perfect name is a hard nut to crack.
Sometimes, you may run into a list of exciting ideas quickly, while at other times, you can’t seem to jot down anything worthwhile, no matter how much you rack your brains! We all have been there, and we know the feeling!
To prevent yourself from succumbing to the dreaded writer’s block, visit Thesaurus.com online. You’ll come across several synonyms and antonyms. Then, use some modifiers — the bells and whistles — to the word you’ve chosen.
There’s another kind of help for the tech-savvy. Domain name generators are tools that give you a list of all available domain names from a keyword you supply. So, for example, if you type the keyword “shoe,” Lean Domain Search will look for great domains and show you VisionShoe, LeanShoe, VistaShoe, CommonShoe, among others.
Shopify’s Business Name Generator and Nameboy are two other domain and/or brand name generators that will help you find the right name for you. Whatever software or tool you use, remember that nothing replaces human creativity.
So be sure to twist and tweak the automatically generated phrases!
#8 – Consider Buying the Existing Domain Names
If a domain name you really want is already taken, all is not lost! Maybe you can still get your hands on it.
If the domain name is taken, but there’s no website, that means the domain is “parked.” On the parked website, you will find some contact information about the owner. If you don’t, you can use a platform like Who.Is and get some contact info.
Try contacting the owner and ask if they’re willing to sell the domain. It can be a long shot, but it’s still worth a try! Domains you buy from others will generally cost you more and can be anywhere from $250 to over $100,000, depending on the market value of the domain you are after.
Obviously, it’s better to acquire a new domain name — even though it might not be the “perfect name that meant the world to you” — when you’re starting out. Then, later, when you make a profit with your business, you can always buy that perfect domain and redirect the existing one to the new site if you feel it is worth it!
#9 – Be Extra Cautious When Buying Existing Domains
A word of caution: If you’ve decided to buy an existing domain, you should conduct background checks. Domains come with a history, and you might never know what was linked to in a previous life.
For domain background checks, you can do the following:
Perform a quick manual search with yourdomain.com on Google. Finding anything is a positive sign; however, if Google shows nothing even when the website exists, it’s time to be sceptical.
If you don’t get foolproof results from these two methods, try using WayBack Machine from Internet Archives. You can navigate through time (yes, like a time machine) and see how your website used to look back in the day. The Wayback software is one of its kind.
Remember that Who.Is also allows you to check a website’s history and download the entire history report for $10. A small price to pay when buying an expensive domain!
#10 – Register the Domain and Buy It!
Now that you’ve found the right domain name and you are happy with it, don’t delay any further.
Like real estate, people are always looking out for domain names that offer potentially good resale value, so you need to get on and register it. But where?
There are thousands of domain registrars on the web. You’ll also need to have some idea about web hosting: Many of these web hosting companies offer ‘free’ domain registration with new hosting accounts. Check out BlueHost or HostGator for more information, but keep in mind that these platforms offer free registration only for the first year.
If you just want to purchase a domain without web hosting, consider domain registrars like Domain.com. They provide affordable domain names and various tools required to manage your website. Other examples include Network Solutions and GoDaddy.
Finally, buy the domain name!
Don’t forget to set it for auto-renewal lest a domain broker snatches it out of your hands once it becomes inactive and goes to the public pool. So to ensure this doesn’t happen, check the auto-renew button!
Key Takeaways – Choosing the Right Domain Name
You wouldn’t choose your child’s name without giving it some serious thought, so why would you for your website?
The domain name you pick could define your company and its brand forever. Therefore, the name must be a good representation of the services or products you provide.
By following the ten outlined steps above, you can be confident that your website will convert prospects into leads. In addition, by ensuring that the website is easy to follow, your brand’s popularity will continue to grow.
By guaranteeing that your website’s name is concise — using a .com or .com.au extension that doesn’t include hyphens or numbers/double letters — your website will remain easy to find on the internet.
Finally, if you think ahead and plan well, your budding website will very soon become an indispensable marketing and sales tool for your company.
At WEBO Digital we want to make sure your company crushes it on digital platforms, so if you need any help or have questions about domain names for your business, feel free to contact us anytime for a chat.
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