Your domain name is a lot more than just an address that people type into their browser bars. Rand Fishkin, a well-known online marketing expert, recently discussed exactly how beneficial having the right domain name can be for your business.
As you search for the perfect domain name, there are a number of important factors that you need to think about. The eight tips below should help you find a domain name that is not only well-suited to your business but that will also help you achieve online success.
1. Choose A Brandable Domain Name
The best domain names are the ones that are brandable and catchy company names. After all, your domain name is typically the name that people will come to know your business by on the Internet.
As you brainstorm domain names, think about how memorable they are. Don’t choose domain names that include numbers, hyphens, or other special characters. Instead, opt for a simple domain name that is easy to remember. Just look at a major company like Pepsi. Their domain name, which is “Pepsi.com”, is much more memorable than a domain name like “love-2-drink-Pepsi.com”.
2. Choose A Domain Name That Is Easy To Pronounce
This tip goes hand-in-hand with the first tip. Having a domain name that is easy to pronounce is extremely important, even if people aren’t going to be saying the name of your business out loud. A factor known as process fluency, which describes how easily the brain is able to process information, comes into play when determining how easy domain names are to remember. Domains that are easy to pronounce are not only more memorable but they are also more likely to be viewed positively by users.
Never choose a domain name that you have to spell out when you are telling it to other people. Also, make sure that the actual spelling of your domain is not too challenging. Otherwise, you could miss out on a large percentage of your traffic. People don’t want to have to put a lot of effort into searching for your brand. Make it as easy as possible to find your business by choosing a name that is easy to spell, easy to pronounce, and easy to remember.
3. Choose A Domain Name That Isn’t Too Short Or Too Long
A lot of experts advise choosing a short domain name. Although that is true to a point, it is possible to choose a domain that is too short. For instance, a domain name like “DessertScience.com” is a lot more memorable than an abbreviated domain like “DessertSci.com”. Even though the second domain name is shorter, it isn’t as easy to pronounce or as easy to remember as the first domain.
Try to find a domain name that is relatively short without having to abbreviate or cut off any of the words in the name.
Another common mistake that people make is opting for an acronym for their domain name as a way of keeping it short. In most cases, this is a mistake. The only exception is if people regularly refer to your business using an acronym. For instance, organizations like AARP or AAA can use acronyms as their domain names since they are best known by those abbreviations.
4. Choose a .com Domain Extension
Out of all of the available domain extensions, “.com” is almost always the best choice. It is not only easy to remember but it is the domain extension that people will try first. About 75% of all of the websites out there have a .com extension, making it the most popular domain extension by far.
If there is no way for you to get the .com version of your domain name, you should opt for another popular extension like “.org”, “.net”, or “.co”. Keep an eye on the.com domain name, as well, so that you can register it in the future. The person who owns the.com extension may eventually allow it to expire, giving you a chance to snap it up for yourself. Alternatively, you may make enough money with your business to buy the .com domain further down the road.
The only exception to this is if you are planning on doing business only in a specific country. In that case, you can register the country-specific domain extension for that particular country. If you are planning on doing business outside of that country, however, .com is still the best choice.
5. Be Aware Of Trademark Issues
When coming up with a domain name, make sure to choose something unique that can’t be confused with the name of an existing startup company or brand. The last thing that you want is to get sued for trademark infringement. If you do violate someone’s trademark, you can wind up losing your domain. Make sure to do a search ahead of time before registering a domain to verify that it doesn’t infringe on someone else’s trademark.
Choosing a name that is too similar to another brand can also cause problems in the search engines. The search engines may have a hard time distinguishing between your businesses, which can lead to unrelated results showing up when people search for your company.
6. Choose A Domain That Lets People Know What Your Business Is All about
People should be able to get a sense of what your business is about from your domain name. A recent example provided by Rand Fishkin is the domain “PastaPerfected.com”. People can instantly get a sense of what the business is about just from reading the domain name.
These intuitive domain names are also usually quite memorable. If people can understand what your site is about based solely on your domain name, they are a lot more likely to remember the domain.
7. Don’t Go Overboard With Keywords
Having relevant keywords in your domain name can be beneficial. At the same time, however, you should avoid choosing a domain that includes exact-match keyword phrases.
In the past, a lot of spammy websites relied on using keywords in their URL to obtain a high ranking. Because of that, Google puts less emphasis on domain-based keywords than they used to. In fact, they sometimes even penalize sites that have exact-match keyword phrases since they may not be as trustworthy as more specific branded domains. For instance, if you are comparing the domains BuyAthleticShoesForWomen.com and SportsDirect.com, it is obvious which domain seems more trustworthy.
As a general rule of thumb, you should avoid domains that are based entirely on keywords. Instead, choose brandable domain names that are professional and easy to remember.