Choosing your domain name wisely is essential. It’s your identity.
For something that has a minimal outlay, your domain name has tremendous power. So how do you choose it? Follow our 6 top tips for choosing a powerful domain name.
1. Brand First
As a start-up, branding is everything. You are competing against a sea of noise. You need to stand out.
Your chosen domain name must reflect your brand name, be memorable and easily recognisable. So, scrap any hyphens and make it simple.
2. Think Concise
No one is going to remember a domain name that’s long and bulky. It needs to be snappy and succinct.
For example, if you run an electronics shop called Rob’s Electronics Warehouse & Store then you might imagine that your domain would be something like:
…but this is far too cluttered and isn’t memorable. A good domain name would be a simplified version, such as:
Additionally, if your business name is long and you can’t simplify it into a shorter more succinct domain name then it may be worth condensing it into an acronym.
For example, if Rob didn’t want to shorten his business name then an alternative domain name option would be to condense ‘Rob’s Electronics Warehouse & Store’ into:
However, if you do decide to condense your domain name you need to be confident that your consumers will recognise and associate your business with the acronym that you’ve used (this can be something that can be achieved within your wider marketing strategy).
3. Say It Out Loud
You might have some incredible ideas bouncing around in your mind, but before you become fixated on a domain name, say it out loud. Pop it in some random sentences and see how easily it rolls off the tongue. This will underline how memorable it is.
4. Choosing the right domain extension
Choosing the right domain extension will depend on the type of website that you are launching. Domain extensions can often go overlooked but they are incredibly important to signal to Google what Internet category or country code you operate in.
.com domains have become the most commonly used extensions for commercial businesses but there are plenty more which you should be aware of, some other top-level extensions for you to consider are:
.org for organization
.gov for government
.edu for all educational institutions
.int for international organisations
.mil for military
.net for a network
There are also country code domain extensions, these are ideal if you plan to target your business to one specific country, for example:
.co.uk for UK-based businesses
.com.es for Spanish-based businesses
.com.au for Australian-based businesses
5. Be Flexible
All of the above is all very well, until you see that the domain name you have your heart set on is not available. This is not the case every time but it does often happen.
If the domain name that you want is not available because it has already been bought then you may discover you need to refine, be creative, and definitely be flexible. Many domain name providers have automatic idea generators should you need some pointers.
6. Don’t Stop At One
Yes, it’s quick, easy, and cheap to get one domain name. However, if you really want to ring-fence your brand then you need to future-proof your domain name. If you can, you should try to get hold of a range of different domain extensions and similar domain names – make them yours, and stop others from cashing in on your success.
Summary: Choosing Your Domain Name
Choosing your domain name is just one of the steps to building a website from scratch, and even though it may seem like a minimal task that doesn’t need much thought, it really is the opposite. Your domain name should not be overlooked, you should pay extreme attention to it and choose carefully.
Remember to put your brand first, be concise, simple, memorable and flexible, and to choose your extension wisely.