This is an important decision, like naming a child, your internet child. Expectant parents deliberate over baby names for 9 months, sometimes longer and whilst I’m sure you won’t need to take that long, you definitely shouldn’t rush into anything... this decision requires some thought. Unlike naming your baby, there are a few general rules that you should probably adhere to or at least consider before you march off to the registry office that is Godaddy.
.com for the win… well, if you’re planning on moving in global circles, .com is always best. If you’re keeping your business on a more local scale, i.e. the UK, .co.uk is the best. If you can’t have .com but you’re really desperate to go with your brilliantly thought out, brand-new domain name you could try .org or .net but really, if you can afford to without detracting from your brand too much, it might be better to rethink you’re your domain name.
Keep it short and snappy… The sites that receive the most web traffic often limit their domain names to 12 characters or less. If your brand name is short and snappy and the domain name is available then brilliant. If your brand name is loom woven stair carpets, no judgement here but I think we can all agree that this would make a rubbish domain name and you might want to rethink it. You could try names including loom or weaving or woven. Which leads me on nicely to my next point…
Try and use your keywords in your domain name, particularly your niche keywords… So, sticking with the example above, if you can use woven, weaving, weavers, loom, carpets (this one is a bit broad but you get the gist.) Don’t overdo it with the keywords and compromise the length of the domain name and at the end of the day, it is far more important to convey your brand through your domain name than your keywords. However, you’re giving Search Engines a little nudge and you’re helping out potential customers who are googling weaving if your domain name is something like weavewitheve.com.
Is it easy to spell and say? Don’t overcomplicate matters, you want to make it as easy as possible for Search Engines to find you but once they’ve found you, you need to make it easy for real-life people to find you too. Try and use words in your domain name that are difficult to misspell, that sound as they are spelt and that you don’t have to spell out to anyone at any point. If they do misspell your domain name, they’re most likely going to end up on a different site entirely. If the other site offers similar services to you, or the customer doesn’t initially land right on your website, you’ve most likely just lost a customer/sale/interaction. The same can be said for a name that when spoken out loud could be easily mistaken for another word entirely, expanding and growing due to word of mouth simply won’t happen if this is the case.
Avoid too many symbols or numbers… Numbers within your domain name are absolutely fine, if they are crucial to your brand name and identity. If you can’t have the brand name ilovecats.com, probably best not to try ilovecats1163.com or indeed any number that comes before or after it. It’s also a good idea to avoid i-love-cats.com. Again, people won’t know that you’re the I love cats with hyphens and will most likely end up on another cat lovers’ website.
Are you in it for the long haul? Try and think long term. If you do manage to grab the domain ilovecats.com, really consider whether you’re always going to love cats and only cats. I know, it sounds silly but for the purpose of giving you an example, perhaps animallover.com might be a bit better and give you more scope to further your love of cats into a love for many other animals at a later date if you so wished. Of course, I hope that by reading this blog post you have established that ilovecats.com or animallover.com perhaps wouldn’t be the best domain names nor actually available for you to use, but you get the point I’m sure.
Use a domain name generator… Do your domain names keep getting rejected when you go to purchase them? Or perhaps you could just really do with some inspiration? There are lots of sites that will generate a domain name for you, you can enter keywords and they will throw up some suggestions. You’re not obliged to use any of the suggested ideas but hopefully, you’ll come away with some clearer ideas or a more focussed approach to finally settling on a domain name.
There is a lot to unpack here but if you take anything from this post it should be this; don’t rush into anything and do plenty of research. Your domain name defines your brand and its often one of the first things that customers will know or notice about you; this is why it’s particularly important to get it right first time, any changes or deviations from your original name at any point down the line, can result in a dip in customer engagement. It will also be more beneficial if you have established at least some of your keywords before coming up with your domain name, so you can try and include or at least trial them in domain name generators. See the links below for some useful websites that will help you to finally settle on your perfect domain name.
Helpful links and website:
We use Godaddy to purchase our domain names. You will need to create an account to access their site, there is no cost to initially sign up but obviously purchases domain names incurs varying costs. Godaddy also offers a domain name generator service, you can visit their site here: https://sso.godaddy.com/v1/login?realm=idp&app=www&path=%2Fen-uk
Google have their own domain name checker, this site will let you know whether or not your domain name of choice is taken or not and it will give you helpful pointers on any improvements you could make, access this tool here: https://domains.google/intl/en_uk/
Domain Wheel is a domain name generator, search one of your keywords and read through all possible domain names. Select connecting keywords to make your results even more specific. https://domainwheel.com/?amp=1
Side note: the domain name ilovecats.com is obviously not available to purchase, I’m guessing that was one of the first to go in the very early days of the internet, neither is i-love-cats.com. Ilovecats1163.com is available but we discussed how you should probably leave it be. However, weavewitheve.com is definitely available as I’m writing this post. So if you’re called Eve, you weave in your spare time or for a living and you just happen to be reading this blog post, then maybe that one is for you!