Choosing a good domain name for your new website or business takes some time and effort. It could be as easy as using your business name, but if that’s taken for some reason, what are you going to choose? Whatever it is a good domain name needs to be something that’s easy to remember, easy to spell, and representative of what the site or business is about. Here are five quick tips in choosing a domain name that meets those three criteria:
Avoid Unusual Spellings
This one may be tempting, especially if you’re trying to be different or the normal spelling is already taking. But, don’t do it. Unusual spellings aren’t memorable in a good way (if, at all) and definitely aren’t easy to spell. You shouldn’t have a domain name that you need to correct people on all the time. Plus, it looks unprofessional. This rule would also include hyphens, numbers (unless your brand is something like 1-800-Contacts), and colloquial abbreviations, such as “sku” for “school”.
Keep it Short
Sure, themostamazingcookiesintheworld.com is representative of your brand, easy to spell, and easy to remember. But, long domain names are difficult to type in. There’s too much room for error, and it’s not very easy to say over the phone to a client or customer, or to put on business cards. Domain names need to be almost intuitive, where you can say it and people will know automatically how it’s spelled and what it’s about. Longer domain names have a harder time of doing that.
Utilize Keywords, If Possible
Search engines like keywords in the urls, and having one in, or as, your domain name is an extra bonus. Finding a good keyword that fits all three requirements, and isn’t taken, might be difficult. You could also use a keyword as part of your domain name. For example, graphicdesignblog.com may be taken, but you could use jonsgraphicdesignblog.com or graphicdesignblogstl.com. Again, only do this if it is possible. If a keyword makes your domain name too long or too hard to pronounce, then don’t do it. You shouldn’t also squeeze in a keyword for the sake of SEO. Focus on having a domain name that builds upon your brand (Yahoo and Facebook did it).
Unless it’s something a lot of people understand, like LLC, CPA, or BYOB, then don’t use initials, especially if you’re only doing it to shorten the domain name. With initials, you run into the same problems that you do with a long domain name. It’s hard to provide initials over the phone, and people won’t know right away what it stands for. Initials may be tough to avoid if your company name has initials, like “MYB Products” or “RSC Solutions.” So, if you don’t have to use initials, then don’t. It’s difficult for online branding if the initials aren’t part of the brand itself (like in the above examples).
Consider Alternate Endings
Yes, .com is the most popular ending, but you can get creative with an alternative domain ending without losing people. Consider del.icio.us as an example. It uses the .us ending, and people can easily put the letters together to read what it says. Some of other common endings are .net, .me, and .biz. This might be a good way to go if your business or website is going to be doing something that is new or different.
By following these five quick tips in choosing your domain name, you are sure to pick one that meets the three criteria mentioned and will work well for you in the long run. It’s not an easy thing to do with all the possible variations and the competition out there, but you shouldn’t settle on any old domain name either. If you put in the time and effort to choose a good domain name, you won’t go wrong in your final choice.