How to pick a Domain Name

Whats in a name?

Choosing a domain name is the first step in setting up your website. You need a name that is memorable, represents your brand, and drives traffic to your site. It's important to choose the right name at launch because it could be difficult to change later and still maintain brand integrity and search rankings. There's a lot to consider when you are choosing a domain name but it isn't as daunting as it may seem. We will break down some of the core concepts of choosing a great domain name to help simplify the process for you.

Some things to think about when choosing your domain name:

  • Shorter is better. Some of the best domain names on the web are less than 15 letters and consist of a single word.
  • Hyphens and numbers should be avoided.
  • Your domain name should be unique and represent your brand.
  • Avoid using uncommon or hard to spell words.
  • Always use proper spelling, deliberately misspelled words can cause confusion or send your traffic to other sites.
  • Never try to emulate the name of your competitors. You may end up driving traffic to their site!
  • Always research before you commit.

Shorter is better

Domain names that are about 9 to 15 letters are ideal. It makes it easier for visitors to remember and type your address. This is a good guideline for sites that expect a lot of direct traffic - when users type your URL in directly. If you expect to drive traffic through searches, marketing and social media it isn't quite as imperative. You should never sacrifice brand recognition by changing or abbreviating words in your business name.

Avoid hyphens and numbers

Using a hyphen in your Domain name is usually the result of your preferred Domain name being unavailable. By naming your site there is a good chance your visitors will end up arriving at instead. Hyphens and numbers can also be confusing in non-visual marketing such as radio ads. You should always be able to state your address without having to specify additional details.

Domain names should be unique and represent your brand

Its usually a good idea to use your business name as your Domain name. In some cases there may be better options available. If this is the case, be sure that your domain name still adequately represents your brand. Some options are a catchy trademark or slogan, or something that describes your primary product or service.

Avoid using uncommon or hard to spell words.

It goes without saying that if someone can not spell your Domain name it's going to be pretty hard for them to find your site. If your business name consists of foreign language or uncommon words it may be a better idea to look for a Domain name that describes your product or service, or perhaps the area you serve. Accessibility is the most important factor so be sure to make it easy to type!

Always use proper spelling, deliberately misspelled words can cause confusion or send your traffic to other sites.

When a Domain name contains spelling errors there's a pretty good chance that the correctly spelled Domain already exists. This can be a real catastrophe when you are trying to drive traffic to your site. Always look for a name that is original and spelled properly to avoid confusion.

Never try to emulate the name of your competitors. You may end up driving traffic to their site!

You may be tempted to emulate a proven method used by your competitors. This can prove beneficial if your idea is unique. However, trying to copy or too closely emulate your competitors can result in driving traffic to their site or worse. Trademark infringement applies to Domain names so you could find yourself in legal trouble if you use a Domain name that could be considered too closely resembling that of a competitor. If you are using generic terms in your domain name always be sure that your competitors won't be the ones to benefit from your traffic.

Always research before you commit.

Domain name research is not difficult but is critical before committing to a name for your site. Start by doing a Domain name search on a registration site (you can use ours HERE) You should also type your desired Domain name into a search engine and see what results come up. This is a good way to see if there are other sites already using similar Domain names. If you choose a Domain name that has been used in the past you could benefit from residual traffic to the previous owner's site. That said, you could also be choosing a name that was Blacklisted by search engines! There are several tools to check the Blacklist status of a Domain, here is one provided by Google: