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Choosing the right domain name (and one that sits well with your brand and audience) is vital for sending out the right message and making sure your website gets the hits it deserves.
You might be thinking, “but surely my domain name will just be the same as my business?”
The answer to that is yes and no. Yes, your domain name needs to reflect your business and align with it, but a little more thought needs to be put into it than that.
Here’s 9 tips I’ve put together to help guide you in choosing a great domain name that keeps on working for your business!
Tip 1: Stay Away from Keyword Stuffed Domains
The internet in the 90s and early 2000s was filled with keyword stuffed domain names, like “EasyChickenRecipes.com” – essentially, they were made up of keywords that people searched for in Google.
Today, keyword-heavy domains don’t have as much power as they used to. Instead, you want to hint at what it is you do without getting all 90s.
So, if you run a website that provides thousands of easy chicken recipes, you might go for “ChickenChef.com” instead of the keyword-heavy “EasyChickenRecipes.com”.
People will be able to tell what it’s about (chicken), but it has a bit of character and personality.
Tip 2: Make it Brandable
Think about your brand and what kind of “experience” you want your audience to have – do you want to send out a fun and carefree vibe? Or something more serious and corporate? Consider this when choosing your name, and make sure your domain reflects your brand.
If you run a Thai takeaway business and you want to send out a fun, youthful message, you might choose “EatThaiTonight.com” instead of “MoonriseThaiTakeaway.com”.
DID YOU KNOW? The most expensive domain name ever sold is insurance.com, which sold for $35.6 million in 2010.
Tip 3: Think of the Future
Where do you see your business headed in the future? Don’t make the mistake of creating a domain name from trending words that will go out of fashion in six months.
Instead, make sure you choose something lasting and that can evolve with your business. For example, if you’re a marketing agency, will you expand into web design services in the future? Make sure your domain name gives your business room to grow.
Tip 4: Keep it Short
As well as making sure your domain is on brand, you want to keep it short so it’s memorable. No one has time to remember a five-word domain, especially when it’s all bunched together in one, long unreadable sentence.
If your business name is long, consider shortening it or adding initials to keep your domain short and snappy.
Tip 5: Avoid Numbers & Symbols
Likewise, you don’t want to confuse people by adding numbers and symbols.
Ideally, you want your domain to include just letters all in one line without anything to break them up.
If your business name is “John’s Hairdressers” but your domain is “johns-hairdressers.com”, you might get a lot of people forgetting the “-” and going to the wrong place.
Tip 6: Check the Readability & Spelling
Following on from the last point, you want to make sure your domain name doesn’t include any tricky spellings that might trip people up.
Your domain name should be intuitive in its spelling and readability. People won’t just be seeing your domain when it’s written down, you might have to spell it out in person or voice it over the phone.
You don’t want to have to go over it again and again, and you want to consider how it looks when it’s written down (does that O look like a 0, for example).
Tip 7: Check if .Com is Available
The most common domain ending is .com, but this doesn’t mean it’s the only available ending.
Look at this graph that shows the most popular domain names worldwide:
In fact, you can now put whatever you want as the ending, so you might have Thai.Takeaway instead of ThaiTakeaway.com!
It’s worth bearing in mind that most people intuitively type in .com, so check whether the .com is available, too, if you decide to go for another option, just so people don’t end up on a different site when they want to be on yours.
DID YOU KNOW? There are a total of 1519 TLDs and the .com TLD accounts for 52.8% of all registered domain names.
Tip 8: Check Whether the Social Channels Available?
It’s highly likely you’ll want to secure some social media handles for your business once you’ve set up your domain, so you might want to check whether the appropriate handles are available before you commit to buying the domain.
Check Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and any other social media channels you want to use to see if anyone has already nabbed the name you want.
Tip 9: Check for Copyright
So you’ve gone through all of these steps and you’ve found a domain name that fully reflects your business that you’re ready to dive in with.
But hold up a minute. Before you go ahead and click that buy button, make sure there are no copyrights around it and that there are no similar brands using a similar name that your audience might get confused with. Here is a handy tool to check for trademark registrations.
While you want to choose a domain that’s in-line with your business and its goals, you also want to make sure it’s unique and memorable and, therefore, not like any others out there.
You also don’t want to get caught up in any nasty lawsuits in the future if you power on ahead with a domain name that’s too similar to another brand.
Choosing a domain name shouldn’t be something you do in fifteen minutes.
It’s something that takes a lot of thought and consideration as, often, it’s the first thing people will see when introduced to your business.
You might think your domain name is simply the series of letters that goes in the search bar, but it actually conveys a whole lot more about your business than you think. It shows what you’re all about and what kind of business you are running. You also want to make it easy for people to find you, so keeping things short, concise, and easy-to-understand is vital.
Please also check out our domain name pricing guide: How Much Does a Domain Name Cost?
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