Whether you’re naming a child, a pet or something else altogether, choosing the right name is very, very hard. After all, a name is a central part of creating a first impression, and it’s something that will stay with a person, animal or entity – for better or worse – for the rest of its life. So it’s important to get it right.
This is just as true when you’re choosing a new domain name for your website. Whether you’re a professional blogger or running an e-commerce empire, your domain name needs to resonate, stand out from the crowd and work hard to promote your business. So, read these tips on choosing your website’s new name, then move as quickly as you can to register for your new domain name before someone else snaps it up.
First, you need to consider your domain name as a central part of your brand. It’s not just a functional word (or series of words) to serve as a title for your website. Instead, it is your website, and more often than not, it is your business.
For that reason, try to stay away from domain names that contain hyphens or numbers and other forms of punctuation. That’s because hyphens and numbers don’t sound like brands when people say them aloud (for instance, would ‘Apple’ be quite so iconic if they’d called themselves or their website ‘Apple hyphen Technology’?). Essentially, the domain name you choose needs to be ‘brandable’.
Make it intuitive
Some of the best domain names in the world are intuitive, which basically means that the name itself gives visitors some idea of what the website is about. A good name will mean that a new customer can take a look at your domain on Google, and before they’ve clicked on your site, say “they probably do this. That’s what I’m looking for”. Of course, you don’t have to make your domain intuitive – again, look at Apple’s success. But, you’ll only be doing yourself a favour if you can make an immediate link between your domain name and the products or services you offer.
Make sure you can pronounce it easily
As much as it’s important to choose a domain name that’s intuitive and ‘brandable’, it won’t be the right name if you can’t pronounce it. That’s because a domain name is strong if it’s capable of being processed, remembered and communicated. After all, nobody will talk about a website if they feel a little silly attempting to say the name properly.
So, make sure you can easily pronounce (and spell) the domain name you choose. This will undoubtedly limit your options, but it’s important to remember – even though most people will be typing or clicking a link, easy pronunciation helps processing fluency (which essentially means people will subconsciously have more positive associations with things they can easily say and think about, which includes the ability to pronounce it without moving their lips).
Don’t make it too long
Sticking with the subject of processing fluency, did you know that shorter domain names are easier to process? So, if you can, keep your domain name as short as possible (without compromising on other perhaps more important considerations such as intuitiveness and being able to pronounce it).
Check no-one else is using it (or similar)
Another very important thing to consider when choosing a new domain name is whether or not anyone else is using it, or something very similar. Type your ideas into search engines to see what comes up, but beware of the fact you might have been inadvertently influenced by marketing campaigns, slogans and trademarks without realising it.
So, do thorough research and make sure your domain name can’t be confused with another business, or be considered to be ‘piggybacking’ off the name or brand that someone else has built. This will help to avoid being sued (unfortunately it happens), and will prevent confusion arising between your brand and another business’s.
Don’t worry about keywords
If you know a little about SEO (search engine optimisation), you’ll know that using keywords in the content of your website will help to customers to find you online. You might be tempted to use these keywords in your domain name, but it’s worth remembering that – at least for the time being – Google and other major search engines aren’t likely to give you any preferential treatment for having a domain name that contains relevant keywords.
Of course, you may inadvertently add some keywords into your domain name if you’ve chosen one that’s intuitive, but don’t go out of your way to shoe-horn them in.
Consider your business plan
Finally, you’ll need to give a little thought to your business plan when you’re choosing your domain name. This might sound like strange advice, but if your plan is to build a business to sell, it’s important you think about whether or not you’re choosing a domain name that’s sellable. So ask yourself: would you buy this domain name if you were someone else? And what kind of limitations are you putting on a business by choosing this domain name?
Hopefully these tips will have given you a good place to start from when choosing your new domain name. There’s plenty more to explore (such as choosing the right extension for your domain), so be sure to keep researching to ensure you choose the perfect domain name for your website.