A Domain name is not expensive. You can expect to pay anything from around $11.00 to $18.00 a year depending on which Registrar you choose. You can often also get a discount if you pay for more than one year’s registration.
Some options are Namecheap or Whois where you can enter your proposed name and see if it is available. You can also register a Domain name with your hosting company, the one we recommend, Hostinger, will give you a free domain when you sign up for hosting and that will also avoid having to change the DNS records when setting up your site.
We also recommend that once you have made a final decision on your Domain name you register it immediately either with the Registrar where you found it available or with your hosting company. Having found your ideal name the last thing you need is for someone else to register it and you have to begin your search all over again!
How much effort should you make to select your domain name? Is it really that important?
You may well think that if you have a super website and reputable business, people will visit your site no matter what the domain name is, right?
Well, maybe not…
Your domain name is a key element of your website. It’s the first thing anyone searching on the internet will see and it can make or break you. So it’s vitally important to choose a domain name that enhances your business.
So, why is a domain name so important?
- It’s the “first impression” of your business. And first impressions count! Your URL is the first thing your visitors will see. A quality domain name can make a positive and lasting impression, while a bad domain name can send visitors passing you by and moving clicking on a competitor.
- It can affect SEO. While exact match domains (EMDs) no longer carry the same weight in search a keyword or keywords in your domain name can still help your SEO ranking.
- It establishes your brand. Your domain name is a branding opportunity! A quality domain name can increase brand recognition. You can use it in your logo, on stationary, on business cards, and in any advertising. It will become synonyms with your business.
These aspects are only a few of the many reasons why taking the time to choose your domain name is so important.
How do you select the right domain name? Here’s what we’re going to help with you today.
- Use .com, .org or .net (most popular ones)
- Brandable over generic
- Shorter is better
- Avoid hyphens and numbers
- Consider using a keyword that relates to your brand
- Think long-term over a short term
- Check if it’s not trademarked
How to Find Your Best Domain Name
The Right Domain Name Extensions
When deciding on your domain name extension, you can be sure of one thing: “.com” is still the best. According to research from Domain Name Stat, 37% of all domains have the “.com” extension.
>Why? Well, “.com” is the most familiar and easiest to remember.
There are exceptions to this. If, for example, your business or blog is specific to an audience in one country a country code extension, for example, “.co.uk” may well be a good choice for a UK business. Also, if your website is for an organization “.org” would work.
While there are many successful websites with a “.net” and “.org”, your website will probably do better if it has a “.com” extension. It’s the safer bet.
Our advice: Go with .com. If that’s taken, try .net or .org. If these are taken too, you’d be better off brainstorming a new domain name or using a Domain Name Generator tool such as:-
Wordoid This tool allows you to plug in a word; it will come up with ideas that either contain that word, begin with that word, or end with that word.
Lean Domain Search This tool matches your keyword with other keywords and generates a list of available domains.
DomainHole This tool allows you to search keywords, find expired domains, generate new names, and more. As there are already millions of websites you may well be disappointed that your first choice is already registered. But don’t despair, using one of these tools may well provide a very suitable alternative.
Brand V Generic
What do we mean by these terms? Generic refers to words in very common use when applied to a business. Think “insurance” or “real estate” or perhaps “vacations”. Using these words as part of a domain name is so commonplace the competition is horrendous even if a variation is used alongside.
One example of good branding is Airbnb. They are a vacation rental business and have taken the “Bed and Breakfast” element and added the fact that most vacationers travel by “Air” and created a brand name which is now recognized as a Vacation Rentals business without using the generic vacations or rentals terms.
Another historical “Brand Name” was that given to machines used to clean floors. Every machine became known as a “Hoover” irrespective of the manufacturer.
You could also create a totally new word. Google is probably the outstanding example of a made-up name that is now used almost exclusively for search – “Google it”.
Keep it Short
The recommended length of a domain name is between 9 and 12 letters. There are several reasons for this.
- It is easy to remember
- It is easy to type into the browser
- Short words are generally easier to pronounce. Don’t be afraid to try your proposed name out on a few friends or partners and gauge their reaction.
Avoid hyphens and Numbers,
Remember your name should be easy to spell and pronounce. Hyphens and numbers make it more difficult. The bottom line? Your domain name should be smooth and punchy – hyphens and numbers get in the way of that. Stick to letters!
Keywords In Your Domain Name
If you can make use of a keyword in the name you want for your domain then by all means incorporate it and if possible put it at the beginning to gain more power.
However, don’t overlook the benefit of Brand over Generic mentioned above.
Take a Long Term View
When looking for your ideal domain think about the future of your business and where it might lead. For example, if your website is an online shop you might well start out selling a single niche product and look for a name specifically for that. If that product loses its appeal or you want to expand your product range the name may no longer be relevant. Better to focus on your long-term vision for your business when picking your domain name.
Is Your Name Already Trademarked?
The name you have chosen may be available but might also be in use by an existing business who do not use it on its website. There can be nothing more frustrating than setting up a website, using the name to promote your business, and then getting a “cease and desist” letter from a lawyer for another company claiming you are infringing their trademark.
Use a tool like Knowem, or Justia to check the name you want to use, and if it appears to be in use, or is very close to one already being used tweak it a bit to avoid problems.
Finally, never overlook the fact that your domain name can have a very significant impact on the success and potential of your website and your business or blog. Putting some careful thought and research into choosing yours will make all the difference.
This is the first article in our WordPress Website Course. The next chapter will be about hosting so stay tuned and if you want to know immediately it’s published, please sign up below.