08 Feb How to Choose a Great Domain Name
The success of your business website depends on many factors. The things you usually hear about, like the quality of content and the loading speed of web pages, count for a lot. Features that signal trust are also incredibly important, as are good navigation and quality copy. And design, well, design counts for an awful lot. These are the important features of a website. Features that cost time and money.
But if you would step away from the big, important things for a second, you would notice that you might have missed something small, but fundamental. Something like choosing a great domain name. Domain names also count, because they are often what allow websites to be found and remembered.
What’s a Domain Name?
Domain name is an important part of a web address. Let’s say your website’s address https://www.example.com. The “https” part is the protocol your domain uses, and you should always make sure it’s “https,” not “http.” The “www” part is the sub-domain, and you can use “www” or not.
The remaining part, “example.com” is the domain name. It’s composed of the actual name, “example,” and the extension, or top level domain — “.com.” These are the parts of your website address people will remember and type into their browsers if they want to go to your website. And that makes them a big deal. You should also know that domain names are registered through registrars. Often enough, companies that provide hosting services also provide domain registration services.
Picking a Domain Name
Before you start picking the name, make sure you understand how important it is to pick the right extension. The most commonly used extension is .com. There are other good extensions you should look into, such as .net, .org, or country code extensions, but you should always go for .com. It’s the most serious top-level domain for businesses, and it’s the default extension browsers look for when entering all a name in the address bar.
Now that you know this, you can start thinking about the name itself. And you’ll have to do a lot of thinking. You should probably have more than one serious brainstorming session to come up with several viable options for a name. Here are some things you should have in mind:
Your domain name has to be unique. You don’t want to be drowned in a sea of generic domain names, don’t you? If you have a business, your best bet would be to stick with the name of the business, if it isn’t already taken. If you’re creating a personal website, your full name will work perfectly well as a domain name. Make sure you grab them even if you’re not making a personal website at this time. You never know whether you’ll change your mind.
Your domain needs to be short, easy to type, and simple. Shorter, snappier names are easier to read and remember. It’s also easier to tell them to someone, which is something you should definitely think about. You want the name to contain only letters because digits can create confusion, and you should make the spelling as simple as possible. Ideally, someone should be able to hear your domain name and type it in right away. At the most, they should have to ask for the spelling only once.
It has to be brandable, and must not be trademarked. You should be able to brand the domain name you choose. In case your business name isn’t up for grabs as a domain name, think about something else you could brand easily. And make sure it’s not trademarked — this could put a serious dent in your website plans. You don’t want to be on the receiving end of a trademark lawsuit.
Don’t follow trends blindly, and extend your research to social media. Having a name that relates to something that’s trendy at the moment can give your website a nice boost in visitors. However, as soon as the trends move on, so will the visitors. So aim for something evergreen. Or, if you plant to rebrand in the near future, find a name that will serve you for at least four or five years. And make sure the name is available on social media too, because you’ll want to create social media profiles for your brand new website.
When you have figured all of it out, you should take your list of brand names to the registrar. They will help you check availability. While you’re there, you might also want to see whether there are domain names that contain your website’s name but use other extensions. If you can’t find any, you might want to buy a couple — .net, .org, and the local domain extension at least.