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One of the fundamental starting points for your online business is to choose a domain name for your site. The domain name is your address on the internet and is a big starting point for your new venture. In this article, we will look at how to choose a domain name for your business.
So What Is A Domain Name?
Your domain name is your website address on the internet. It’s the address people type into their web browsers to find you. Metaphorically speaking, if your website was a house, your domain name would be your address.
For example zjak.net is a domain name. So is Google.com and WordPress.com.
There are two parts to the name. The first part is the name itself (Google) and the second part is the domain extension (.com, .net, .org, etc).
The name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters. That means you’re not limited to only using letters for your domain name. You can add numbers as well.
The second part is referred to as the “top-level domain” or TLD. There are now more than one thousand TLD’s available. In addition to .com, .net and .org there are extensions for countries like .au, .uk, .us and many more. Wikipedia has all of the top-level domains documented here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Internet_top-level_domains
Top 5 Tips To Select a Good Name For Your Website
Here are a few things to keep in mind before you buy your domain name. Review our tips to see how your name stacks up.
1. Make it short
Try to keep your domain name short. Two and three letter domain names are going to fall into premium territory that can cost millions of dollars. Don’t choose a domain name that’s more than 30 characters long. It’s just too long. Too many opportunities for misspellings and people giving up before they finish typing the name. Try to aim for a good middle ground.
2. Make it easy to remember
Of course, if you want people to come to your site often and to spread the word, then it also makes sense to choose a URL that will be easy to remember. If your website name is too long or nonsensical then this will mean that people struggle to return to your site, or to tell others about it.
Using a Brand Name
Coming up with a name you can build a brand around should also be considered. The search engines will tend to give more weight to brands than to an ‘exact name domain’ (keyword URLs) in an attempt to show better quality sites. By using a brand, you will have more opportunity to add related content as you build the brand in your advertising.
If you are planning to build a personal or portfolio website, you can use your own name as your domain name. If your legal name is long and hard to spell, maybe you can try using your nickname instead.
For an existing business, like a restaurant, then you should definitely use your restaurant’s name as your domain name. However, if someone’s already using your preferred domain, try adding another word to your domain name.
For instance, instead of restaurant.com, you can use something like bestveganrestaurant.com or restaurantincity.com.
Make sure it’s unique
While Google is no longer giving any advantage to exact-name-domains, typing your URL into Google is still one way that people are likely to get to your website. If your URL isn’t unique though, then you’ll be buried somewhere deep in the search results. Calling a company ‘Apple’ would be a bad move (fortunately the Apple already had a lot of clout behind them).
Likewise having a more unique company name will help you to be more memorable and will also help you to avoid using any trademarked names. You may also want to do some research to ensure that the name you want is available and that you’re legally entitled to use it. Having a unique domain will allow you to buy up similar domains (for typos etc.) with less chance of them already being taken.
3. Try to avoid hyphens and numbers as much as possible
Avoid complex combinations of dashes and underscores and try to make the URL as catchy as possible. When you’re giving out your website address to people over the telephone, and it has a hyphen or number on it, it’s going to be confusing for the other person on the line.
For example, if your domain name is best-restaurant-in-90210.com, people will probably misunderstand you, and you would have to keep repeating the address.
Your conversation could go something like this:
“Is that the number 9 or the word nine?”
“What do you mean by hyphen? Do you mean dash?”
If you kept your website address simple like bestrestaurantincity.com, you’d have to repeat yourself less often.
4. Make sure your domain name isn’t trademarked or copyrighted
Getting into legal trouble is a very real possibility if you don’t research your domain name before you buy it. If you end up buying a domain name that is trademarked or copyrighted, you could get into a hot mess.
While you don’t necessarily need to buy the trademark for your domain name, it is a good idea to make sure that nobody else has already bought it. Besides checking the trademark system, you should also check that there are no websites that have very similar names.
5. Use the right domain name extension
With more than a thousand domain name extensions (TLDs) to choose from, which one is the right one for your business? For starters, .com is usually the first thing people search for. When the .com is taken up, people usually go for the .net and then .org, and so on.
But why are .com’s so popular? Well, it’s been around for many, many years. When people tell you their web address for the first time, you normally expect to type in .com on your web browser.
For instance, if people tell you their website is ‘myawesomewebsite.net’, you would probably type in ‘myawesomewebsite.com’ before you realize it’s the wrong website! So you’d have to go back and edit the domain name and type in .net instead of .com.
I hope these tips have been helpful in helping you choose a domain name. Most of the companies that sell domain names have great tools to help you select something available.
Namecheap has a great search widget that can help choose an available name. Try out their “Beast Mode” generator. You can input up to 5,000 keywords to get started. Their search includes almost 500 of the most popular domain name extensions available. Here’s an example using the settings I would use to look for a domain related to “weightloss”.
If you’re still searching for ideas, another tool I love is at AnswerThePublic.com. From their site you can enter a couple of keywords and see what people are searching for. It might give you a little inspiration to find that perfect name. For my example weight loss domain search, I entered the keywords in the search and got a ton of data back showing potential niches related to weight loss. You could play around with these results in the Namecheap search widget to come up with a great name for your site.
If you need help, feel free to contact us.