Your domain name for your brand’s website is both your address and your identity on the web. This is true for photographers, big tech companies, restaurants, and fashion bloggers. But with so many domain names already registered (over 300 million!), singling out the perfect name can be a challenge. If your goal is for your website to be easy to find and easy to promote, don’t commit to a domain name until you’ve read through and considered these 6 important suggestions.
1. Keep it short and simple
Many successful websites are simply the name of the brand or business itself and nothing else. Opt for simple and clear phrasing over clever wordplay, and choose something that will still be strong five years from now (so no slang or pop-culture references). Ask yourself whether your domain name would be memorable to someone who only saw it for a quick moment, like on a billboard, a commercial, or the side of a bus. Is your domain name quickly readable? Could someone remember your domain name without writing it down? If not, get back to the drawing board.
2. Strategize using SEO
Many people find sites and services through search engines, like Google and Bing, that take the words users search for and return websites that they think match those keywords. Ranking high in search engine results can be a huge benefit, and the strategies used to optimize this feature of the web are called Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Ideally, your domain name will contain your brand or business name, but consider what one or two keywords can be added to the domain name that will correspond with what people are searching for. You can include your geographical area, or you might add a keyword associated with your industry, like cafe, salon, or orthopedics. But don’t over do it! Domains that are just strings of keywords, like cheap-shoes-Alaska.com or shoesonlinefreeshipping.biz don’t inspire trust. Striking this balance between representing your brand and incorporating SEO keywords will help you rank higher in search results and help get people to your site quicker.
3. Choose a name people can pronounce
From cell phones to digital home assistants, voice-to-text technology is becoming better and more widely utilized. It is 100% possible that people will be speaking your domain name into the microphone to find your website instead of typing it into a browser search bar. You want people to be able to talk about your website without having to write it out for someone. Be careful about using hyphens, numbers, and strangely spelled or pronounced words when it isn’t necessary. And before committing to a domain name, speak it to yourself out loud and consider what Alexa or Siri or your great aunt would think you said.
4. Check domain availability
Before your heart is set on a particular domain name, it’s wise to make sure it’s not already registered to someone else. Domain Registry offers a domain search tool that checks any web address you enter for availability. Simply type in your desired domain name and select your preferred domain extension (.com, .net, .org, or .info) for instant results! Once you’ve determined that the domain you want is available to register, check across social media platforms to see if the name is available as a handle (@yourname). The best domain name choices will offer you flexibility and ownership across digital spaces, helping you to make a name for your company online.
5. Choose a name that’s built to last
Your long-term success online is directly tied to your web address. That’s why it’s crucial to consider whether the domain name you choose is future-proof. The best domains are timeless, avoiding trendy words or phrases that can become outdated. So it pays to think broadly about how your business or brand might evolve over time. For example, 3rdstreetcakes.com might seem like a perfect domain for a custom cake shop called 3rd Street Cakes. But what happens if the business grows to include pies and cookies? It would be wise to register a domain name that could accommodate that change down the road. 3rdstreetdesserts, 3rdstreetsweets, and 3rdstreetbakes are fitting options with more staying power. Think about how your business might grow and choose a domain name that can grow with you.
6. Get valuable feedback
As you explore potential domain names, getting opinions from friends, family, and colleagues can be helpful. It’s like conducting your own user testing before you commit to a particular domain name. Ask those who are familiar with your business what they think. Ask if the domain name you like fits your brand. Is it easy to remember? Ask if the domain name makes them think of anything else. It’s also helpful to get feedback from people who are not familiar with your business. Ask them similar questions… What first impression does the domain name give? Does the domain name you like resonate with a new audience? Other perspectives may surprise you and inspire ideas you hadn’t considered.
Remember, your domain name is more than just a web address — it’s a cornerstone of your digital identity. And while the process of choosing one that hits all the right marks may seem daunting, it’s a chance to explore creative options. Embrace this opportunity, and you’ll discover a domain name that paves the way for a strong online presence.