Hey there, dear reader! You are officially reading the seventh article from our series How to Get Your Business Started. Today, we are on a mission to help you choose a domain name for your business website. If this is something you are struggling with then you are in the right place 一 just keep on reading!
In one of our previous blog posts in which we explained how to create a website from scratch using WordPress, we gave you a tip on picking a domain name 一 to use a domain name generator like Namemesh.com.
How does a name generator work? It’s pretty simple 一 all you have to do is type a few keywords related to your business in the search bar, and you get dozens of suggestions for your domain. It’s an easy way to choose a domain name and can serve as a guide if you are in the dark.
However, we believe in you and that the real magic behind choosing a domain name has to come from your thoughts and imagination. That is why we would suggest you not to rely as much on domain name generators. Instead, trust your gut and brand.
To help you come up with a domain that will drive traffic to your business website, we created a guide on how to choose a domain name. Channel your inner Steve Jobs (or whoever you want to channel) with the following tips:
Think about your brand
When it comes to a domain name, the first you have to remember is that it should reflect on your brand. So, if you are trying to make it as a food blogger, your domain name is probably not going to be PlumberMan.com. That’s just common sense.
If you want to start a blog or a podcast, brand yourself by choosing a domain name in the form of YourName.com. If that option is not available maybe opt for your first and middle name.
Domain name should be easy to remember
The second most important thing you need to bear in mind when choosing a domain name is that it needs to be easy to remember. As one would say, a domain name has to be idiot-proof.
But, what does “easy” mean? Short? With or without numbers? Should there be a dash? Well, a bit of all.
Easy to remember is easy to say
Try to stay away from words people can hardly pronounce because if they can say it properly, they will, probably, have trouble typing it.
Take the word “restaurateur”, for example. It is a bit misleading to pronounce and spell it. One would think there is going to be an “n” before “t” but no, there isn’t.
If you are not sure which words you should stay away from, start by googling “hard to pronounce words”.
Easy to remember is easy to type
Well, this tip relies on all the previously mentioned.
Choose a domain name that is easy to type which means that you should try to stay away from slang words since they can make harder for users to find you. Also, be sure to avoid numbers and hyphens.
Don’t trust us on this? Well, here’s an example that will prove we are right.
Let’s say you are want to create a domain name for your food blog and the first thing that pops to your mind is “f00d4you.com” (in case you haven’t noticed, we switched O’s into 0’s). The domain name turns out to be available, and you end up being the official owner.
Now, imagine meeting someone for the first time and wanting to share your work with that person. If he/she is interested in your recipes or services, the person is probably going to ask you about your blog and a domain name. The conversation will, most likely, go something like this:
You: It’s food4you.com. But instead of using letters “oo” it’s zero and zero. Also, instead of for it’s four, the number. (you gesticulating the number four)
The person: Oh, wait a minute. So, it’s f-0-0-d-4-y-o-u. Is the “o” in “you” changed to zero, as well?
You: No, I just changed the double o’s in “food”.
The person: Oh, O.K. I get it now! Thanks, I’ll be sure to check it out.
The way we see it, it seems like too much explanation regarding something simple like a domain name is. When you are thinking about choosing a domain name, bear in mind that you shouldn’t have to explain it 一 anyone should be able to understand how to spell and type it, as soon as you mention it.
Easy to remember is short
Should you choose a domain name that is short? Probably and here’s why.
Which domain will stick to you – moz.com or seokeywordstool.com? Most likely the first one. Shorter domains always have the advantage because there is less chance of misspelling the name.
Keep an eye on the SEO
Yes, the great SEO, Search Engine Optimization. As we explained in the WordPress vs. Joomla vs. Drupal blog post, being SEO-friendly plays a significant part when making a website.
Having your website optimized for search engines means that you are using completely free techniques to get users to visit your site. Simply put, you are doing all the work you can to get recognized by search engines and therefore, have more visitors. This work also applies to choosing a domain name.
One of the first SEO tips you have probably heard is to include your business’ keywords in a domain name. For example, if you are a restaurant food blogger, your keywords might be italian recipes, food blogging, and some others.
Truthfully, we are against including your business’ keywords in the domain name and here’s why.
If you are a food blogger, is your domain going to be foodblogger.com? First of all, probably not, since that domain is already taken. Second of all, it’s not that creative, or imaginative at all. If you don’t trust us on this, trust Rand Fishkin himself. According to him, you should try to stay away from the keyword-filled domain. Instead, choose a domain name that explains your business the best. Additionally, you can always go with an out-of-the-box solution as Google did. This only means that choosing a domain name depends on the name you chose for your company.
In the end, choosing a domain name is not about including all the keywords possible, it’s about branding your soon-to-be company.
Nevertheless, if you want to make sure your site is properly optimized, there are several ways to do it. One of those ways is to include keywords in web pages, instead of including them in a domain name. According to a study conducted by HigherVisibility, the choice of keywords you include in your web page addresses plays a significant part in ranking on Google and other search engines. This study also gives an insight into what it’s like to rank with some specific keywords, for particular industries, so be sure to read it.
Have you heard about trademarked domains?
Once you buy a domain name, you are, legally, a domain name owner. This title comes with a benefit that another owner can’t “take away” a domain name from you. However, you can get sued by a company that wants to claim a trademark on that name. How is this possible? Well, you did not claim the domain as your intellectual property which means that another company can do so.
Now, if you want to get your domain trademarked, you need to remember that it is a far more complicated process than buying a domain name. In the US, it involves searching through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) database. The bad news is that you have to do wider research because there are companies that are in the process of trademarking and are still not included in the database. In the end, our advice is to seek professional, legal advice on this matter.
Use domain name generators
As we mentioned before, there is nothing wrong with using name generators. They are a great way to get you started with choosing a domain name and give you some initial ideas.
Choose a domain name extension
Now that you know what the first part of your domain name is going to be, it’s time to think about name extension.
Domain name extensions or Top-Level Domains (TLDs) are the end part of your domain name 一 .com, .co, .net or something similar.
As you might know, the .com is the most used one and, therefore, the most recognizable.
There is only one problem with .com TLD extension. Since it’s so widely used, there is a big probability that there is a registered domain name that contains words you want to use with the extension .com. If you are sure you want to stick to that domain name even though someone else already uses it, you can switch extension from .com to another one, like .net, .biz or some other that is commonly used and recognizable. However, stop for a minute and think about this step. Why? Well, because when people google your domain name, the first thing that is going to pop up is “your domain name” with a TLD .com. Your real domain name is probably going to end up in the third or fourth place.
If you are having trouble choosing the right TLD for your domain, be sure to check a list with the most often used domain extensions to help you.
Additional tip: If you are trying to build your business locally, choosing a local TLD is an ideal option for you.
Check a domain name history
Why is this step so important? Because sometimes domain owners abandon their sites. This means that the name is registered but hasn’t been used in a while. These domain names, as Csoonline.com states, can act as a magnet for hackers that can collect site and even email data.
So, to make sure you are secure, please don’t forget to use tools that check domain names’ history. The Wayback Machine is an excellent tool for that.
Now, when you do the research, what are you going to find? Well, maybe everything seems right and maybe you’ll get the worst possible scenario 一 the domain being blacklisted or penalized by Google.
Being blacklisted by Google means that the previous owner has done some extremely forbidden techniques. For example, spammers use a method in which they spam everyone to get ranked higher on Google. They don’t stop until Google catches them. Once Google catches them, they abandon a site.
We are sure you do not want to mess with the blacklisted domain name, so please be sure to use the Wayback Machine.
Buy several domain names
This seems odd but trust us.
If you find out, that after all the trouble you have gone through to choose a domain name, you still get feedback from people that it’s difficult to spell/type your domain name, buy a domain name or domain names that are commonly mistaken for yours. Once you buy them all you need to do is redirect them to your main domain.
Is that it?
Pretty much. That’s all to choosing a domain name.
We have to admit 一 picking the right domain name can be a bit overwhelming. There are so many factors to keep in mind 一 from having a domain that’s short, catchy, memorable and that goes with your brand.
To make this process a bit more fun, we prepared this five steps to help you.
1. Why should you choose a domain name by yourself? Gather a group of your best friends (the more, the merrier!) and explain to them that you want to come up with a domain name.
2. Give them pieces of paper and instruct them to write down a few keywords for your future business.
3. Once everyone wrote down their associations of your brand, brainstorm it by discussing each association. The main rule is that there are no “wrong” associations and everyone is entitled to their own opinions.
4. Choose the top five suggestions you like the best.
5. Once the creative part is over, do the research on the domain you want to register for.
Register a domain name
In the end, all that is left to do is to register a domain name. To do so, go back to the hosting provider you already chose and buy it and that’s it.
However, if you already have a web hosting and need just a domain name, then you can use the two popular domain registrars, like GoDaddy or NameCheap. If you are interested to know how you can register a domain on these sites be sure to check an article posted on Websitesetup.org.
Choosing a domain name is an important step. It’s your and your business’ chance to make an excellent first impression.
We truly believe that, if you follow the tips we provided, you won’t have a problem coming up with the perfect domain name.
Which step do you find the most challenging?