How to Choose a Domain Name

Picking your domain name is a huge step in getting your business started, so you want to make sure you choose the right one. But choosing the perfect domain name can be difficult, so what should you think about when you brainstorm for the perfect one? Here are some things that you should and shouldn’t do:

 

Do:

  1. Use keywords. Research the best keywords to use for your business, and then play around with those to get some ideas. Using keywords is not only good for search engines, but it also makes sense to your customers and makes it easier for them to know who you are and what you do.
  2. Make it obvious what you’re about. You don’t want your customers to have to guess at what you do. They’re a lot more likely to visit your site if they know that you’re relevant to what they’re looking for. Your keywords can be a great way to help with this.
  3. Be specific. The more specific your domain name is, the more likely it is to be available. And being specific helps make it more obvious what you’re all about.
  4. Include the city or state, if you’re a local business. This can help keep it specific and help locals find your site.
  5. Make it memorable. You want people to remember you so they can easily come back, or even share with friends. It’s hard to share a site that you can’t remember the name of.
  6. Keep it easy to type. No one wants to spend a ton of effort typing in the name of a site they’re looking for.
  7. Keep it short and simple. That tends to be easier to remember and easier to type.
  8. Check for other meanings. What may seem like a great name at first may have a different meaning in a different language or to a particular group. Avoid embarrassing or offensive misunderstandings by doing your research.
  9. Make sure your domain name and site name match. This will make it easier for people to find and remember your site.
  10. Research to make sure your domain name isn’t trademarked, copyrighted, or already being used by another company. Some good resources are copyright.gov for copyright information and uspto.gov for trademarks.
  11. Choose a domain name extension that fits your business. Generally, .com is the best one to use, since that’s the most common and thus is what most people will automatically use.
  12. Act quickly. Domain names sell quickly and are inexpensive, so register your favorites before someone else takes them.
  13. Protect your brand. People misspell things sometimes or may type in a different domain name extension. So register common misspellings of your domain name and other domain name extensions so if they mistype, they’ll still find your site.

Now that you’ve seen some of the things you should do, here are some that you shouldn’t do.

 

Don’t:

  1. Use slang, odd spellings, or words with difficult or multiple spellings. Those will make it difficult for your customers to find your site.
  2. Use numbers and hyphens. Those are difficult to remember and will make it difficult for your business to spread through word of mouth.
  3. Use a variation of a domain name that already exists. Using the plural form or a different spelling of someone else’s domain name will only confuse people.
  4. Follow the latest trends. Just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t always mean that it works.
  5. Use a random string of letters. While your initials or those of your children, spouse, or pets might be meaningful to you, it’s harder for your customers to remember, and therefore, harder to find you.

 

Hopefully this gives you some ideas so you can go pick out a great domain name. Happy brainstorming!