Choosing the right domain name is crucial, making it one of the most challenging parts of launching a new website.
The problem is that there are so many options domain names out there, and each domain you consider might make you forget the one before it. Essentially, you want something simple, memorable, easy to spell, and explains what you do. But how do you know which domain name will be best?
In this article, we'll give you a few strategies on choosing a great domain name for your business, as well as list some of the best domain registrars where you can check availability and register domain names once you’ve made your choice. Let's get started.
Tips For Choosing The Right Domain Name
The following are the tips to keep in mind when hunting for a domain name. Note that they are listed in no specific order.
Make Sure It's Memorable For People
When choosing a domain name, the biggest mistake you can make is to create something so esoteric and complicated that most people can't remember it.
Keep in mind they'll type this domain name in their browser every time they want to drop by and check the latest updates on your site. If they have to ask themselves how to spell your domain name correctly or they can't remember if it's ".com" or ".net," then you've already lost them. Take this into consideration when brainstorming names for your website.
Domain names like eBay, Amazon, or Paypal are perfect examples of highly memorable domain names. A site's reputation will be made or broken by its customers' ability to find it online so stick with easily remembered domains from the start. If you have to add weird characters or numbers for people to find your page, then they might give up visiting your website altogether.
Consider The Right Domain Name Extension And CCTLD
Consider the extension that your site will be using. Some extensions can be used by any person or company worldwide, but other ccTLD (Country-code Top Level Domain) are meant for businesses that operate within a specific country. This is why you often see NZ-based sites using ".nz" and UK sites using ".co.uk", and so on.
There's no international governing body that regulates who can or cannot own these domain names though, so it's best to check with your preferred domain registrar to see what rules might apply before you sign up.
The Pronunciation Test
If your domain name is difficult for customers to pronounce, it may never catch on. It would be best if you always considered how people would say your website address out loud before buying the name.
If they stumble over the letters or mispronounce them, then you'll lose potential customers who can't find their way to your website. Look at sites like iTunes and Yahoo to see how this works in practice. While these names might be difficult to write, they are both easy to pronounce, which makes becoming familiar with them easy.
Don't Use An Umbrella Term For Your Domain - The More Specific, The Better
One tip is to avoid using an umbrella term like "Videos" or "News" when you can. When people think of videos, there can be several different categories that come to me. If your site deals with a specific type of video, then don’t choose a name that reflects this broader topic.
If your site is for a specific type of news, such as technology news, then don't use something vague like NewsTime.com because people will expect general worldwide news and may be confused when they get stories about gadgets instead.
The takeaway point is that the more specific the name, the better place you’ll be in. When it comes to choosing a niche for your blog or website, the domain name should always reflect the content you're going to publish.
Check For Domain Squatters
Another consideration to consider is to check if your chosen name is already taken by someone else who's just keeping it to try and sell it off to you at a more expensive price (read more about domain squatting here). This happens more often than it should, especially with popular names that are easy to remember or pronounce.
Ensure that you search for all variations of your domain name before making a final decision. You should do this just in case there's anything sketchy about the domain name you’re interested in.
Doing this in the initial stages will save you trouble down the line if you find that squatters hold you at ransom for a specific domain name that’s close to the one you had originally chosen.
Think Long Term - Pick A Name That's Going To Stand The Test Of Time
It would help if you considered how well the domain would work down the line as your site grows and changes. Trends come and go on the Internet but what lasts are good domain name ideas executed well over time.
You can make some quick cash by cashing in on some fad or marketing craze, but those sites will never survive if they don't provide unique value right from the start.
Therefore, the best approach is to think about picking the right domain name immediately because it's more challenging to change your site's name later on.
Just like naming a child, you need to consider that the name chosen for your website will be something that still makes sense a few years down the line. This will allow people to find your website easily - both now and in the future.
Use Domain Name Generators To Brainstorm
A domain name generator such as BustAName.com is a useful tool to help you brainstorm for new ideas. It's also free, so it will only take a few minutes to check whether there are any good suggestions in there for you or not.
If your chosen name is taken, this tool will provide countless variations of the same idea, which may spark additional inspiration.
Even sites like Naminum can generate utterly random domain names if you're looking for something unique. Still, these aren't usually very memorable, so be aware of that when coming up with a domain name for your business.
At the end of the day, you'll never know when an idea is going to strike, so keep trying until you find one that works.
Go For A Brandable Domain Name
When it comes to choosing a domain name, consider how easy or difficult it will be when branding your website.
Your domain name is part of the brand itself so it will be associated with your business from the very first day. The domain name should also make sense when put together with your slogan or brand message.
If people can't get a good idea of what you do by reading your domain name, then you might need to do some more thinking until you hit the right name.
Brandable domain names aren't generic either because these names are difficult to remember and won't stand out among the competitors in your niche.
The Shorter It Is, The Better Your Domain Name Will Be
A short domain name is easier to remember, but with so many websites on the internet, it might be hard to find something that is super short.
Desired domain names are usually between 6 and 14 characters long, but it can be hard to just stick to this range. Even though this might seem like an impossible task, there are still plenty of memorable domain names available when you combine words, especially when picking three-word phrases like howstuffworks.com.
It's important to avoid using hyphens in the middle of your domain name because these break things up into smaller pieces, making it difficult for people to recall your domain afterward.
If you want to make money with your blog or website, having a short domain name that is easy to remember can help a lot.
Ensure You're Not Stepping Over Anyone's Trademark
A trademark search is a good idea when you're in the brainstorming domain process to make sure that no one is using anything that’s close to your top domain picks.
It doesn't mean that you can never use these names though because sometimes people will let go of domain names if they feel that there’s a superior one. However, this might also mean a lot of legal fees and there is more risk involved.
Always check the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) for any registered trademarks. Stay away from anything that’s mentioned in this database. If nothing pops up, then you're likely in the clear.
Consider Getting Another Domain Extension(s) As Well
Apart from getting the extension that makes the most sense (such as .COM), it might be a good idea to check out all of the other extensions as well.
This can help you eliminate any competition before it happens by ensuring no one will be able to compete with your brand once it's up and running.
If you get multiple extensions, don't forget to redirect each of them to your primary domain to avoid any issues with visitors landing in the wrong place.
For example, if your primary domain name is dogswonderful.com, you could consider buying dogswonderful.net and dogswonderful.info and redirecting them to the main dogswonderful.com domain.
Don't Sleep On It - Act Immediately
Once you find the right domain name following the above tips, it's tempting to take a break and sleep on it. Available domains might not remain so for long so we recommend you buy a good domain immediately.
Some domain registrars have been known to increase the prices of domains that have been sitting idle for upwards of 30 days after a search, so you'll want to be on top of it immediately. Prices hikes can also happen for a variety of other reasons so don’t take too much time before making a decision.
After all, it will only take a minute or two to register a domain name after you’ve made a decision so act swiftly to secure a name when you’ve made the decision.
Best Places To Buy A Domain Name
Let's say that you've found the perfect domain name, and it's now time to register it. It's never been easier to do this, thanks to the advancements in technology.
It used to be that you had to go through all of these complicated steps and pay a premium for domain names, but not anymore. Here are some of the best places where you can register a new domain name with ease:
Namecheap has been around for a long time, and it's no wonder why they're still leading the way when it comes to offering people great prices on their website domains. They also offer SSL certificates (for advanced security) if you need them, so don't forget about those too.
They also have everything from cheap promotional coupons available now and then (so be sure to do a Google search for coupons before buying), to more expensive top-level domain extensions such as .DEV, .ME and many other extensions.
Their control panel is relatively easy to use too, so it's not likely that you'll run into any issues along the way. However, if you do, their support is top-notch and will help with any issues.
GoDaddy has long been known as one of the leading companies when it comes to buying your website domain name quickly online, and they've added more features over time to make sure you can get everything done without much fuss.
They still offer promotional coupons as Namecheap does, but they also have some pretty hefty discounts for people who are just starting out. The whole process is streamlined, so it's not that difficult to figure out at all, even if you're buying your first-ever website domain.
Cloudflare is another great company that has helped countless customers set up their first website domains. Known for providing security and reliability, it's not difficult to see why this is one of the biggest names out there right now.
They have an excellent support center on their website that can help you get through any problems. They’ll be able to walk you through the process of buying your domain name even if you are not the most technical person around.
What Happens After You Buy A Domain Name?
After you have chosen a website domain name and paid for it, what happens next? You will receive an email from the website domain company with the steps to follow.
Usually, they will ask you to sign up with a web host either through their site or another that they recommend.
Choosing the right website hosting provider for your needs is another important decision you will want to make; however, we'll cover that in a separate blog post.
Just keep in mind that some web hosting providers also offer a free domain name when signing up with them. Due to this, it might make sense to kill two birds with one stone and search for hosting providers before simply buying a domain name.As the next step in the process, you'll also want to set up a blog on WordPress to start sharing your content and generating revenue online.
How To Choose Domain Name - FAQ
Various factors impress the user and make them like your page (or not), such as graphics, layout, content, and page loading speed. However, the value that you provide to the visitor is much more important than any aesthetic variables. This is important to keep in mind as you plan your website content strategy.
The types of blogs that make the most money sell a product or service to a specific niche. For example, suppose you're blogging about how to choose a domain name. In that case, your blog will most likely make money from advertising or affiliate programs where you get a commission for recommending a specific product or service. The more targeted the niche is, the easier it'll be for your readers to find your content and convert visitors into paying customers.
Search engine optimization is a big topic dedicated to increasing website traffic. There are many things you can do to improve your search rankings, but one of the best places to start is by optimizing your post titles and descriptions to include keywords people would be searching for in Google or Bing.If you'd like to learn more about how to increase the odds of ranking in search engines, we have a specific post that discusses the topic of how to do SEO for your website in a step-by-step format.
The type of content that tends to go viral and gets the most shares is one that informs or entertains. This could be content such as videos, infographics, lists, etc. The best way to create shareable content is by keeping your blog up-to-date and posting quality content that makes people want to share it with their friends and family on social media.
We can say that picking a domain name is just like picking a name for your kid; it is not straightforward to do. When choosing a domain name, there is no single rule that will work every time, but there are a few guidelines you can follow to have better chances for a successful outcome.
With that said, don't overstress your choice of domain name. Even though transferring from an existing domain to a new one (along with a rebranding process) is painful, it's not the end of the world if you decide to do it after a few months or years of being in business.
Many domain registrars have systems in place for domain transfers so you’ll also be able to get the help needs to complete this process.
However, if you can get it right the first time, it will save you a lot of headaches, time, and money - use the tips above to be able to do so!