7 tips for choosing the perfect domain name
7 minutes reading
We often talk about things that we claim are the most important regarding your website’s success. And we stand behind these claims. Yet there is an established continuity when building your website. For example, you can’t start with your SEO before registering your domain. Likewise, you can’t begin fixing problems with your load speed before you have hosting. So, while every step is essential, some are the cornerstones, without which you won’t have any fundamentals to build upon.
Today we will focus your attention on one of these building blocks, without which you won’t even have a website to discuss. Today, we will talk about domains, and more importantly, we will focus on choosing the perfect domain name for your business.
Why is your domain name so important?
We doubt you don’t know what the domain name is, but just in case, we will share the definition anyway. The domain name is an easy-to-remember nickname for your IP address. In practice, whenever a user writes your domain name in the browser search bar, the DNS translates this letter code into an IP address – the server’s physical address, where your website’s data is contained. So, naturally, your domain name is the single most important information a user must remember in order to be able to find you.
However, the domain name is much more important than that. Typically your domain name is just as important as your brand name, as people would instantly connect your products or services with the domain name. So naturally, if you have a childish domain name, like foreverhotandawesome.com, you won’t inspire the respect and trust you wish. While your domain name’s primary task is to help users find your website effortlessly, its secondary tasks are to inspire confidence, to tell the user what exactly you are offering, what they should expect when visiting, and last but definitely not least, to help you in your SEO endeavors. With 1.14 billion websites worldwide and 10,500 new ones registered every hour, finding a suitable name might be harder than you think. Still, giving just any name to your website is definitely not an option. So here are seven tips on choosing the perfect domain name to harness all its benefits.
1. Choose the best TLD
You are probably wondering what TLD is. The Top-Level Domain is among the highest-level domains in the hierarchical Domain Name System (DNS). It’s right under the root domain and is responsible for pointing the user’s request to a cluster of servers where they can find your IP address. That’s way too complicated to explain in a few sentences, so let’s instead go for the easy explanation. TLD is the last part of your domain, which usually takes place after the dot. Prime examples of TLDs are .com, .net, .us, .org, and more.
If you are researching how to choose the best domain name, you’ve probably stumbled upon dozens of articles that push you to choose .com as your TLD. With more than 50% of all internet websites using the .com TLD, we can’t really blame them. However, this might not be the ultimate choice for you. The TLD gives a lot of information about your website, and simply placing .com might harm your SEO goals and efforts. For example, if you are trying to focus your SEO efforts on a specific country, you might want to use the national TLD, like .ca for Canada, .de for Germany, or .fr for France. This will tell search engine crawlers where your business is and where you are operating.
Moreover, typically non-profit organizations use the .org TLD, while educational websites are prone to use the .edu. Finally, the .gov TLD is reserved for the US governmental websites. As you can see, these TLDs give some additional information not only to search engine crawlers but also to the audience. For example, if they see a .edu website, they will instantly know they won’t be able to buy a pair of sneakers there.
So, choosing .com straight out of the bag is not ideal if you want to make an impact with your domain name. Instead, try to see which TLD will give the most information to search engines and users.
2. Keep it short and brandable
At times it seems like every single word in the English language has already been taken. And sadly, this may not be too far from the truth. Still, there are some pretty nifty and rarely used words in the English language, so you might go into research mode and take out some old and forgotten words that are seldom used. In this case, it’s better to use an actual dictionary, as everyone would have already thought of using Google.
Still, if you can’t think of a one-word domain name, all you need to do is keep it short. On average, the domain name length for the top 1,000,000 websites is 10.1 characters. In comparison, the Top 5 most popular websites have an average of 6 letters in their domain name. So the shorter the name, the better your chance of becoming an internet sensation. So, get creative and make your domain name brandable.
A good example is Alphabet, which decided to use the term for the number that equals 10 to the 100th as the name of their search engine. We are talking, of course, about Google. The name implies that the search engine has just as many answers. Now the brand Google is far more affluent than Alphabet and even more brandable.
Moreover, your domain name should give a hint to the user about what you are offering. Yes, that isn’t easy to achieve, especially since many domain names are already taken. You need to think about the subculture behind what you are offering. For example, if you offer bikes, you might want to go with a pun. A good example is pumpmybike.eu, which sounds fresh and cool, and gives you all the information you should expect from the retailer. From the domain, you can conclude that they offer bike-related services, like repairs and spare parts, and more importantly, they operate in Europe. This means that if you are in the US, this website most probably won’t be able to accommodate your needs.
So, to make your domain name stand out, make sure you give users essential information about your business through your domain name.
3. Make it fun and easily spelled
If you can’t find a good enough brandable name, try making it fun. The main point is for people to remember your domain effortlessly and write it without any hiccups in their browser’s search bar. A funny domain name will imprint in people’s minds far easier than anything else. A good example is qwertee.com. At first glance, the name is just a random sequence of letters, but once you take a closer look, “qwert” are the first five letters on the top left of your keyboard. The ending with “tee” relates to their industry – offering T-shirts. The TLD shows they operate in the US and, most likely, worldwide. The most genius part of this weird domain name is that it’s effortless to remember, and despite the incoherent sound this sequence produces, one can never misspell it in the browser. This should be your goal as well.
You can go a step further and even use the TLD as a pun. For example, a bookstore can easily name itself “read.it”, despite not operating in Italy. In general, making your domain name fun and easy to remember and spell will bring you a long way in your goal of getting more free traffic.
4. Avoid Generic names
When discussing creating your domain, we should mention a few don’ts. Naturally, avoiding generic names is at the top of this list, as this is the biggest sin one could commit when choosing a domain name. Unfortunately, when website owners try to implement the above tips, they fall into a well-known trap – they try to describe their business in ten characters or less, so they can represent their business. Naturally, this leads to some pretty generic names. For example, vacuumcleaners.de might give all the needed information to the user, but it lacks imagination and personality. As a result, people would probably remember the domain name, but they won’t connect it with your products and services. You’d want to avoid that if you want to create a relationship with your customers and not just make a one-time sale.
5. Avoid numbers, hyphens, and symbols
That’s another huge sin many business owners commit when thinking of a unique name. Special symbols and hyphens are the worst things you can place in your domain name. It almost never works, though there are some rare exceptions. Placing a hyphen or a special symbol in your domain name would only hinder your ability to communicate your domain address vocally. People will remember the words, but they surely won’t remember where to put the special symbol, especially if you pronounce it like “edamamedashstar.com” when you mean “edamame-star.com.”
Numbers are a bit easier, but you will always have to make sure people understand they will have to place the number and not write “eight,” for example. Naturally, when it comes to numbers, there are some exceptions. For example, if you operate in Bulgaria, placing 359, which is the telephone code for the country, will give some additional information, and no one would try to write the numbers with letters. However, in general, it’s better to restrain from using a number, except when it’s a crucial part of your brand. 23andme.com is the obvious example, although even with this one, you might wonder whether you should spell 23.
6. Think long-term
There is another huge mistake people make when choosing a domain name. They make this long-term decision based on what they do today and not on what they envision for the future. For example, if you are offering window cleaning services, reserving a domain name like “sparklingwindows.com” (which is taken, by the way) will work wonders for you as long as that’s the only service you’re providing. On the other hand, if you decide to branch out and start offering other home services, like plumbing, carpet cleaning, white-appliances cleaning, and others in the same industry, your domain name won’t be as relevant. Moreover, it won’t give the needed information to your customers. Changing your domain name after you have already created a brand is an SEO nightmare, not to mention it would take a lot of resources and money. So, before registering your domain name, think about your long-term goals first.
7. Get some keywords involved
We left this tip for last because it’s the hardest to do right. Putting some keywords in your domain name should not contradict any of the previous points, but it should complement them if possible. If not, you shouldn’t force a keyword in your domain name just to please search engine bots. After all, you are creating your website for the people, not for the crawlers. Moreover, you will have plenty of opportunities to add all sorts of keywords in your meta description, so while it would be a bonus if you manage to infuse a keyword in your domain name, this shouldn’t be your number one goal.
Bonus Tip. Get your domain for free.
Finally, we have one bonus tip. Get your domain name for free for the first year with HostArmada. Regardless of your domain name, you will need a hosting service (if you don’t have a server of your own). Choosing the best hosting service is far more important than the domain name since while the domain name will help users find your website, your website’s speed, security and reliability will keep them in and convert them into customers. With HostArmada, you will get lightning-fast load speed, sophisticated protection, and practically no downtime, along with a completely free domain name. All you need to do is check our plans and contact our sales team to get the free domain offer.