Choosing a domain name is like choosing a company name, this requires a lot of thought and consideration. Think of it as your first impression, your URL is the first thing your visitors will see. A good domain name can make a positive and lasting impression, while a bad domain name can send visitors away.

It also affects SEO, exact match domains (EMDs) are no longer a necessity, however, keywords in your domain name can still help your SEO ranking.

Simplify it

Trying to find a domain name that’s easy to type/read is crucial to your online business success.

It can be difficult for the customers to find your site if they cannot understand your domain.

Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Yahoo, CNN all the big players have one thing in common, they’re all easy to spell. Your visitors should be able to type your domain name without a problem. If you have to explain the spelling more than once for it to be understood, then it’s too complicated.

The last thing you want is for potential visitors to mistype your domain and end up on a different website.

Beware if you use slang (u instead of you) or words with multiple spellings (express vs. xpress). This can confuse potential visitors to your site if you have spoken to them about your website.

A good way to test this is to tell 10 people your potential domain name and ask them to spell it. If more than a few people struggle to spell it, then you need to simplify it.

As easy as your domain name rolls off the tips of your fingers, it should roll off the tip of your tongue. This makes it easier for visitors to share your domain name by word of mouth and makes it easier for you to share your site with friends and potential customers.

A good way to test this is to write your domain name on a piece of paper and ask 10 people to pronounce it. If more than a few people struggle to pronounce it, you should simplify it.

Keep it short

If your domain name is long and complex, you risk customers mistyping or misspelling it. Short and simple is best for domains. When it comes to the length of your domain, shorter is better. You should aim for 6-14 characters – however the shorter, the better. If you can’t find something short, make it brandable.

For example, like ours www.certahosting.co.uk 12 characters, easy to read, pronounce and spell. It also is in-keeping with the brand and unique.

Use keywords

Using keywords help to describe your business and the services you offer. You should include the keywords that people enter when searching for your products or services. It helps improve your rank on search engines (which increases traffic) and helps the customers find your site and can help improve your SEO. However, if you try to awkwardly stuff keywords into your domain, it comes across as generic.  If you do choose to use keywords, put the keywords at the beginning of your domain. That’s where they’ll be the most powerful for your ranking.

You can find keywords with tools like Google Keyword Planner and Keywordtool.io.

How to get on top of your SEO game

Target your area and Act fast

If your business is local, consider including your city or town in your domain name to make it easy for local customers to find and remember.

For example, if you own a coffee shop in Stockport you could try using a domain like StockportCoffee.co.uk, stockportcoffee.shop, stockportcoffee.com etc.

Domain names sell very quickly. Thankfully, they’re also sometimes inexpensive, so register your favourite domain names as soon as possible. If you’re having trouble finding an available name, you can choose alternate names during your domain search to help you find the perfect domain name.

Avoid numbers and hyphens

Numbers and hyphens are often misread, some people who hear your website address don’t know if you’re using a numeral (6) or it’s spelled out (six) or they forget the dash/slash/dot. Your domain name should be smooth and punchy, and hyphens and numbers get in the way of that. If you need these in your domain, try to register the different variations to be safe.

Be memorable

There are millions of registered domain names, so having a domain that’s appealing and memorable is vital. Once you’ve come up with a name, make sure you gather feedback from your close family or friends, to make sure it sounds appealing and makes sense to others.

Being creative and brandable is always better than generic. Your domain name is how visitors will find, remember, and share your company on the web. It is the foundation of your brand. A brandable domain name should be unique and stands out from the competition, while a generic domain name is usually filled with keywords and unmemorable.

To find a more brandable domain name, you can create catchy, new words. That’s what Google, Bing, and Yahoo did. Or if you prefer to use existing words, you can use a thesaurus to find interesting words that fit your brand. Using domain name generators, comes in handy as these tools can help you create a unique, brandable domain name from your initial domain ideas and keywords.

Research legalities

Make sure the domain name you’ve selected isn’t trademarked, copyrighted or being used by another company. It could result in a huge legal case that could cost a fortune, as well as your domain. Before you move forward with a specific domain name, you should check to see the availability on social media sites. As social media is vital in this day and age, you cannot afford to be in the dark when it comes to finding your account name is unavailable. You should also check if there are any trademarks already registered to the name.

Trademarks, copyrights, and patents protect different types of intellectual property. A trademark typically protects brand names and logos used on goods and services. A copyright protects an original artistic or literary work and a patent protects an invention.

To build your brand, it’s ideal to have the same name across your domain and social networks. This builds familiarity and makes it easy for your visitors, fans, and customers to find you around the web. To avoid legal issues, you should stay away from names that already have trademarks.

There are sites available where you can search your potential domain names and it’ll show you if it’s available throughout social networks and if there are any trademarks already registered to the name. If it’s taken, consider tweaking it so that you can create an original domain name.

Domain extensions

Extensions are .com, .co.uk or .net, at the end of web addresses. These can have specific uses, so make sure to choose one that works for your business. The .com domain extension is by far the most popular, but it can be tough to get a short and memorable .com domain name because it’s been around for so long.

A mass of new generic top-level domains — like .photography, .nyc and .guru — offer a great opportunity to register short and highly relevant names. Here are some extensions and how they’re used:

.co – an abbreviation for company, commerce, and community.

.info – informational sites.

.net – technical, Internet infrastructure sites.

.org – non-commercial organisations and nonprofits.

.biz – business or commercial use, like e-commerce sites.

.me – blogs, resumes or personal sites.

If you are worried about building a website for every domain, you do not have to. Just forward any additional domains to your primary website.

75% of domains have the .com extension, second is .net and third is .org this is because .com is more familiar and easier to remember.

While there are many successful websites with a .net and .org, your website will probably do better if it has a “.com” extension. It’s the safer bet. Remember to avoid those strange extensions like “.club”, “.space”, “.pizza” and so on.

To protect your brand, you should consider purchasing various domain extensions, as well as misspelt versions of your domain name. This prevents competitors from registering other versions and ensures your customers are directed to your website, even if they mistype it.

Think Long-Term

Are you sure you are ready to commit to your domain? You should be because it will be essential to define your business and brand for years. If you decide to change the domain in the future, it will cost you money, branding, and SEO rankings. In short, it will be a long process to start over.

For example, if your company is a local car garage you could choose a domain name like, “[Town]Garage.com”

But if you think there’s a chance you might expand to more general automotive services in the future, like car cleaning, car sales, MOT etc. then it might be better to reconsider your domain name. You don’t want to pin yourself down to a certain market if you think you might expand. So it is best keep your long-term vision in mind when picking your domain name.

 

Already found your perfect domain? Why not register it here.