For most of the projects we work on, a domain name is already locked in. Occasionally however, our advice has been sought for naming a domain, either for a new website, blog or a startup brand. Below, I’ve listed quick tips for helping people select the best domain name. Where possible…
1. Keep the domain name short. Shorter domain names are easier to type and remember. They also allow for more characters in the URL after the slash on sub-level pages – which look better in the SERPs (search engine results pages). Shorter domain names also fit better on business cards and other printed media.
2. Make it easy to type. Similar to the above point, but if a domain name is difficult to type correctly, due to spelling, length or the use of un-memorable words or sounds, you’ve lost a good portion of your branding and marketing value.
3. Try to use keywords. When you first start searching for a domain name, try to use one of your keywords in the URL if you can. Put together a list of your top keywords and try to add them as prefixes or suffixes to create good domain ideas. Play around with the keywords until you can find a good match.
4. Match expectations. A visitor should be able to instantly and accurately guess what your website is about when they hear about your domain name for the first time. If your domain name doesn’t mention what you do, then you may have to spend more time and money on branding.
5. Don’t follow the trend. Never choose domains that are simply the plural, hyphenated or misspelled version of an already established domain.
Still no luck? Break the rules.
Selecting the right domain name has never been easy, and it’s getting more difficult as the number of registered domains increase. However, it remains one of the most critical decisions you can make. With the lack of good .com domain names available now, you might have to consider breaking the rules a little.
Perhaps it’s better to have a longer domain name if it contains keywords and is memorable.
The domain name you choose now will be with you for a long time to come, so you need to do some research. A little upfront work now will be worth it in the future.