Updated: May 23
Choose a domain name that will work for you - industry leading advice!
Your domain name is a key element to your website and therefore your business.
Your URL is the first impression people get of your business.. It can make a positive and lasting impression on your visitors.
A bad domain name can ruin a good business because people don't visit the site a second time as they can't remember the URL or don't even visit the site in the first place.
Your domain name can assist with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and help your website rankings.
And, perhaps most importantly, the site URL defines your brand, the right domain name can greatly increase brand recognition.
All websites by Jane include a domain name for your new website, in this blog I will discuss how to choose the right domain name.
1. Get the right extension
The domain name extension is the .com or .co.uk etc part of the domain name, the bit at the end.
Its worth remembering that when we talk about domain names .com is still the best.
Over 40% of all domain names are .com, this is the most familiar and easiest to remember.
For a UK only business you might want to consider .co.uk, especially if your first choice of name with a .com extension has been taken.
Others to consider are .net and .org, although these websites are often successful, you will do better with a .com
Definitely avoid the likes of .space, .club, .pizza etc.
2. Ensure its Creative & Brandable
Your domain name is how people will find you, therefore it needs to be memorable so that it will become a go to site and people will share it.
Avoid generic domain names whenever possible, a generic name usually has loads of keywords and is unmemorable, a brandable name is unique and stands out from the crowd.
To create a brandable domain name
you could make up your own catchy words, Google, Bing and Yahoo did!
use existing alternative words, use a thesaurus to find interesting words that fit your brand
use domain name generators, these tools can suggest domain names from your original ideas and keywords
3. Short is better than long
Research shows that the most common domain name length is around 12 letters, which means that you should keep your domain name concise.
Aim for between 6 and 14 letters, the shorter the better. Its quite possible the shorter domain names were taken long ago, if you can't find something short make it brandable! My own business sits in a sea of thousands, to make it stand out I use myself as the brand.
4. Make it easy to type
Think of some of the most popular site in the world, Google, Yahoo, Twitter, Facebook, they are all easy to spell.
Your visitors should be able to type your domain name without really thinking about it, if you have to spell it out more than once for it to be understood, then its too complicated.
You can test it out by telling 10 people your domain name and ask them to spell it, if more than a couple struggle then its too complicated.
5. Make it easy to pronounce
Just as your domain name rolls easily off the tips of your fingers it should also roll easily off the tip of your tongue.
If its easy to pronounce it will be easy to share your domain by word of mouth and makes it easy for you to share your website with friends and potential customers.
Try the same test as the spelling one, write your domain name on a piece of paper and ask 10 people to pronounce it, if more than 2 are struggling you should change it.
6. Avoid hyphens and numbers Hyphens and numbers make a domain name more difficult and spell and pronounce.
Imagine if Facebook had a hyphen in it and you were telling a friend about it "have you seen that new face hyphen book site?" Not easy to say, spell or understand and could very easily have prevented Facebook from becoming so successful.
Stick to letters!
7. Use Niche keywords that reflect your website
Obviously my website is about designing websites, as I mentioned previously this is a huge market and most of the obvious domains such as webdesign.com etc have been taken long ago, I simply used my name as the brandable part of my domain.
We discussed earlier that keywords in a domain name can help with SEO, but stuffing in loads of keywords will work against you.
If you are going to have a keyword in your domain name then put it at the beginning, that's where it will be most powerful.
Good luck with choosing a great domain name!
Remember, a cheap website doesn't mean a cheap web design service!