Choosing the wrong domain name could mean disaster for your online presence from the very start.
Deciding to register a domain name is one of the first and most important decisions you will make when you take yourself and/or your business online. Your domain name is the first and sometimes only impression anyone will have of you, your website, and your business. Because this is such an important decision there are several things you should consider before you register a domain name.
Choosing the right domain name can be difficult, especially when it seems like all the “good” names are already taken. In this post, I have broken down the most important things to consider before you register a domain name. This is not a list of must-follow rules but instead more a guide that if followed will help in deciding what your domain name should be. By the end of this guide, you will understand the characteristics that make up the best domain names and be well equipped to choose the perfect domain name for your project.
1. You want it to be something memorable and brandable.
Try to stay away from real generic terms and keyword-stuffed domain names. What is the difference between seniorhousingnews.com seniorhousing.net seniorhousingliving.com and seniorhousing.com? Essentially nothing when it comes to which site you will choose if presented them in a list (a bad thing) and everything when it comes to how likely you would be able to tell them apart if you were looking for one in particular (also a bad thing). Basically what I’m trying to say is they’re all the same which isn’t a good thing when you are trying to stand out.
Imagine if one of those sites were great and you were trying to tell a friend about it. Could you get them to the right site? Would you even be able to get yourself back to the same site a day later, a week, a month? Now think about the senior living site aplaceformom.com? That is a domain name you can remember, tell people about and build a brand upon.
2. Using slang and funny characters may look cool but will be hard to remember and hard to type.
Using the letter “u” instead of the word “you” or using the dollar sign “$” instead of the letter “S” may stand out but they are very easily mistaken and will make trying to find your website much more difficult. I should mention here that I used the “$” only to make a point as special characters are not allowed in domain names.
When you register a domain name it should be simple, short, and easy to type. Try not to use words with multiple spellings like disc/disk and night/nite for example. Try to stay away from words that sound the same but are spelled differently like fourth/forth and bear/bare.
3. Keep it as short as possible.
Research has shown that shorter domain names perform better than longer ones. For example, the top 5 visited domain names have around 6 characters each. In the top 100 sites on the internet, the longest domain name has 17 characters.
Try to keep your domain name 6 – 15 characters long. Can you guess why our domain name is “tnrwebs.com” instead of “tnrwebsolutions.com”, the actual name of our company? If you said “because tnrwebs.com is only 7 characters long”, you got it!
Just think about the most popular websites or the websites you visit the most……. Google (6), Twitter (7), Facebook (8), Amazon (6), YouTube (7), Bing (4), Yahoo (5), eBay (4). I’m sure your list will be similar to mine in the fact that all the names will be short and that is no coincidence.
4. If you are providing a local service or your website pertains to a particular location use it in your domain.
For example, ElizabethtownTowing.com would be a great name for a towing company in Elizabethtown, KY. I know what you are thinking, doesn’t that violate the short as possible thing? Well yes but you know what they say about rules…
This should only be used if you are providing a local service and it makes sense long term. Keeping your domain name short whenever possible is still a good idea. In this case, EtownTowing.com would be good and still make sense.
5. Use keywords to describe your business or services you offer.
Ok wait, I did it again huh? Just broke another of the rules we just talked about. This is another that should be used in certain circumstances and only if it makes sense for the long run. For example, if you do window tinting a domain like WeTentWindows.com would be cool.
6. Avoid numbers and hyphens.
People often get them wrong and it makes it hard to share. You don’t know if 5 is the number or the word five spelled out. Imagine if YouTube was You-Tube. Would it work? Sure. It would still be the very popular video service it is today but maybe not as popular and surely not as quickly. Telling someone “go to YouTube” is a lot different than telling someone “go to You-Tube, oh and there is a hyphen between You and Tube”. You-Tube is much easier to get wrong when trying to share it and trying to type it.
7. Register A Domain Name using proper extensions.
.com is by far the best domain name extension and most popular but there are plenty of others to choose from. .biz .org .info and .online are some of the more popular alternatives. I suggest you go with .com whenever possible and purchase any other extensions that make sense as well.
The good thing is domain names are rather inexpensive so you can purchase multiple names. You don’t have to build a website on each of them, even though you could, instead you can simply forward or point all the other extensions to one single domain. If you had your-webiste.com and wanted to purchase your-website.net and your-website.info, you could set the last two up in such a way that when someone types them or clicks on them they would be directed to your .com site.
8. Act fast.
Domains sell quickly because they are cheap (about $15/year) so if you ever have a good domain name that is available you should grab it! Even if you aren’t ready to use the domain, having it registered and available to you when you are ready is worth the investment. Don’t get caught sitting on a great domain name while you finish your master plan. Finding the domain already taken when you finally go to register it makes for a really bad day. Ask me how I know…
Choosing the right domain name is an important first step when taking yourself online. Keeping these 8 things in mind will help you choose the perfect domain to register for your business.
Do you have an idea in mind for your domain name? Use the tool below to check if your domain is available.