In this era of the internet, creating a website is a must no matter whether you’re starting a blog, a new company, a new brand, or you want to take your existing brand online.
And the domain name, being the key element of a website, should be chosen very carefully. This is what your users will use to find and remember your business or blog.
Therefore, it’s critical that you choose the right domain name to make your business, brand, or your blog a success.
On the other hand, a wrong domain name may hurt your business as well as your search rankings.
Also, if you change your mind later on and want to switch to a new domain name, it’ll badly affect your brand and SEO. It’s a very tedious process and will cost you a lot of money.
So, to help you choose a domain name that fits your brand or business and is easy to find and remember, we are going to discuss the 10 most essential tips. But first, we’ll try to understand what a domain name is and why it’s important.
Here’s what we are going to cover in this blog post today:
- What is a domain name?
- Why is a domain name so important?
- 10 Essential tips for choosing the best domain name:
- Go for a shorter domain name
- Make sure it’s easy to pronounce and spell
- Avoid hyphens and numbers
- Avoid doubled letters
- Choose a unique and brandable domain name
- Use keywords that reflect your website
- Go for popular domain name extensions like .com, .org, or .net
- Use Domain Name Generators
- Research Your Domain Name to Avoid Trademark Issues
- Act Fast Before Someone Else Takes It
- What are the best places to register your domain name?
- Some web hosting companies offer free domain registration
What is a domain name?
When we talk about a domain name, we are basically referring to an address of a website on the internet. Just keep paying the annual fee and the domain name you get registered will be yours.
A domain name of a website is the part between “HTTPS” and extension (for example, .com, .net, .org, etc.). My domain name is “digitalutsav.com”
It has two parts:
- The name – Also known as second-level domain (SLD), it is unique and the identity of your website or name of your brand – e.g. Digitalutsav.
- The extension – Also referred to as top-level domain (TLD) – e.g. .com, .net, etc.
You can choose SLD according to your needs keeping in mind that it suits your blog or business as long as it’s available. And to get your domain functional, it’s essential to add an extension to it.
In the earlier days of the internet, domain names weren’t used. Instead, the users used to locate a specific website by an IP (Internet Protocol) address such as 184.108.40.206. And they had to type https://220.127.116.11 to access the website.
But when the internet started to grow, this became impossible to manage.
Also, it’s difficult to remember a series of numbers.
This gave birth to a new method to reach websites. And thus domain names came into existence.
Domain names use words that are far easier to remember than the number string.
When you register a domain name, it becomes associated with your IP address. And when your visitors type your domain name in their browsers, they get pointed to your IP address.
Why is a domain name so important?
Though there are many reasons why domain names are important, here are the four main reasons:
#I) It gives the first impression of your website or blog
The first impression is the last impression. Before landing on your website or blog, your domain is the first thing that your visitors will see. So, you must create a memorable, eye-catching, and unique domain name that could make a positive and lasting impression on your visitors.
#II) Helps in branding
Just as your business name or logo, your domain name is also a key part of your brand. Take your time to create the right domain name that is easy to use and fun to say and can make your visitors eager to check it out.
On the other hand, if you fail to choose well, it may misrepresent you’re your brand. And your potential customers will more likely go elsewhere.
#III) It affects SEO
It is believed that using keywords in your domain name can improve your ranking in search engines. But you need to be careful with this strategy. This is because search engines penalize the sites having exact match domains (EMDs) by ranking them lower in search results.
- What is SEO and What are its Different Types?
- On-Page SEO: Top 12 On-Page SEO Techniques (In 2022)
- Mobile SEO: The Ultimate Guide to Optimize for Mobile-Friendly SEO
#IV) Changing your domain name isn’t easy
Though not impossible, it’s always time-consuming to change a domain name. By changing your domain name, your blog or website may lose traffic. And it also affects your branding negatively.
So, why not choose the right domain name that you love and may help greatly in your branding so that in the future you won’t find any reason to change it.
10 Essential Tips for choosing the best domain name:
#1. Go for a shorter domain name
While choosing a domain name, one thing you should always keep in mind is that humans have limits on their memory.
People can easily remember a shorter domain name which could spell out more traffic for your site.
Long and complex domain names are harder to remember and there is a risk that people can misspell or mistype them.
If you fail to get a one-word domain name, you can well try for two-three word names.
According to websitesetup.org, the length of your domain name should be between 6-14 characters.
#2. Make sure it’s easy to pronounce and spell
You need to keep your domain name simple.
If you have to spell out your domain name more than once to your friends to make them understand it, then it’s not going to work.
Word-of-mouth is a great form of advertising and it’ll work only when your visitors can easily pronounce your domain name.
When people find it hard to figure out, they’ll more likely misspell it. They’ll incorrectly type your domain name in the search bar and be directed to a different site.
A domain name that’s easy to pronounce and spell will make it easier for you as well as your visitors to share it by word-of-mouth. You can easily share it with your friends and potential customers.
A great example of misspelled domain name could be Flickr.com. No doubt it’s a very successful and popular social media site, many visitors misspelled the domain name and they got directed to the website Flicker.com.
For this reason, they had to acquire Flicker.com for a large sum of money to redirect their misplaced traffic.
#3. Avoid hyphens and numbers
You should avoid hyphens and numbers in your domain name.
Hyphens and numbers in your domain name make it more difficult to type, pronounce, and spell.
Also, non-alphanumeric characters cause confusion and are often misunderstood.
Suppose you’re using a number in your domain name and you share your website with your clients via word-of-mouth. It may be confusing for your clients whether they should spell it out (five) or use a number (5).
Similarly, if you use a hyphen, chances are great that they may either forget to use it or misplace it.
If some of your visitors mistype the number or forget to use the hyphen, then they’ll end up on someone else’s website. And you lose traffic as well as potential customers.
The bottom line? Your domain name should be easy to read, easy to pronounce, memorable, and concise & clear.
Just stick to the letters and avoid anything that isn’t a letter.
#4. Avoid doubled letters
A domain name with doubled letters will be more prone to typos when your users try to type it in the search bar to search your site. And it’ll result in a loss in traffic.
Using doubled letters will make your domain name hard to read. It’ll make it look messy and people will find it harder to type it correctly.
You’ll need to put in extra effort to clearly convey your domain name to your clients via word-of-mouth.
Doubled letters in the domain name also make your visitors spend a few extra seconds figuring out how to spell it. And this is an unnecessary distraction.
So, always avoid doubled letters in your domain name and make it more memorable, easy to type, and more brandable.
#5. Choose a unique and brandable domain name
You must choose a unique domain name to stand out in your visitors’ minds.
Just research other blogs or businesses in your niche and make sure your competitors don’t use similar domain names. Using some existing domain names or trademark names can get you in some legal trouble.
It’s the domain name that the users will use to find, remember, and share your blog or business on the web.
In simple words, we can say that a domain name is going to become your brand. It’s the foundation of your brand, the face of your business.
So, you have to choose a domain name that’s more brandable, i.e., it should be unique and memorable and not stuffed with keywords and unmemorable.
It’s never an easy task to create a domain name that sounds appealing and stands out from your competitors. But it’s certainly doable.
Here are a few tips on creating a domain name that’s more brandable:
- Create your own short, catchy, and new words keeping in mind your business name and what you sell.
- Take the help of a thesaurus. You’ll find so many words related to your niche. Choose the one that best fits your brand.
- Use domain name generators to turn your domain name ideas into unique and brandable domain names.
#6. Use keywords that reflect your website
If possible, you must include keywords in your domain name.
Why? Because keywords help the search engines as well as the visitors to understand what your website is all about.
Just like quality content and good user experience, using relevant keywords in your domain name is also essential for ranking higher in search engines. Keywords also help the users in finding your website on the web when they type keywords related to your niche.
But never try to stuff keywords awkwardly in your domain name or add them for the sake of adding.
You should always choose keywords that are most relevant to your website.
To get more ideas about keywords, you can use keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner, KWFinder, and Keywordtool.io.
While using these tools to find keywords, look for those terms that have low to medium competition and high search volume. And the keywords you’re going to use I your domain name must reflect your website.
If you want to target local users and customers, you can include your location as well in your domain name.
#7. Go for popular domain name extensions like .com, .net, or .org
There are tons of TLD options available today to choose from.
But, how to find the best and suitable TLD for your business or blog?
To help you choose the best one, here are some useful tips:
i) Try .com first
Most of the popular global brands and organizations are registered with a .com extension. For example, Google.com, Facebook.com, Apple.com, Newyorktimes.com, etc. Data says that .com TLD serves over half of all the websites.
It is the most preferred, established, familiar, and easier to remember TLD. Because of its popularity, many users automatically type .com at the end of every domain in their browser.
So, go with .com if it’s available. But if the .com variant of your domain is already taken, you can try .net, .org, or .co.
ii) Consider using other TLDs
If the .com extension for your domain isn’t available, you can consider using other TLDs that can serve different needs. Let’s take a look at some of these TLDs and what they are used for:
♦ .net – This refers to networks. Service providers such as website hosting, databases, and collaboration tools use this TLD.
♦ .org – Referring to an organization, this extension is used by non-profit and charitable organizations. For example, WordPress.org, Wikipedia.org, etc.
♦ .edu – Edu is the short form of education and the websites dealing in education generally use this TLD.
♦ .co – Standing for “company” or “corporation”, .co extension is very popular among online businesses. When there was a shortage of .com domain names, .co TLD was introduced in 2010 as an alternative to .com TLD.
This extension is often paired with country code domain extensions such as .co.in, .co.uk, .co.us.
♦ .info – It stands for information. Educational or information websites generally use this TLD
iii) Choose your ccTLD
These are many country code TLDs such as .au(Australia), .in(India), .jp(Japan), .us(USA), .UK(United Kingdom), .cn(China), .ph(Philippines), .ca(Canada) and so on. This extension is a good alternative if .com TLD of your domain is unavailable.
Also, if your company grows and you expand it internationally, then you can go with ccTLD.
iv) Consider using gTLDs
There are hundreds of topic specific generic TLDs you can choose from such as .city, .digital, .photography, .social, .agency, .business, .accountants and so on.
A very limited number of websites are using such TLDs. These TLDs are yet to gain popularity and are also the cheapest.
My recommendation would always be to go for a .com extension, if possible. It’s still the best and most popular TLD.
Most importantly, you can use .com for all kinds of purposes.
#8. Use Domain Name Generators
At the end of the third quarter of 2021, the total number of domain registrations was more than 364.6 million. So, it’s very difficult to come up with a cool domain name.
Why? This is because chances are great that some of the good names you have chosen may already be taken or trademarked.
Also, it’s always hard to create a domain name that meets all of the requirements we discussed above. It could be very time-consuming.
And this is where domain name generators come into play.
These are very helpful tools and simple to use as well.
Just take some of the keywords related to your brand or niche and add them to a domain name generator. And you get a list of tens or even thousands of suggestions that are available for purchase.
Here are some of the best domain name generators you can try:
Created by the team of ThemeIsle, This is a very simple and easy-to-use tool.
All you have to do is just enter a keyword and you’ll get all of the available domains. For example, suppose you want to start a blog about how to lose weight and you enter the keyword “lose weight” into the search box. Here’s what you get the results for the topic “lose weight”:
You just enter a word and it’ll give ideas that may begin with, contain, or end with the word. It allows you to set the length of the domain name from five to fifteen characters.
Since shorter domain names tend to look better than long ones, it focuses on domains that are around 10 characters. Also, it automatically checks whether the .com variant of your domain name is available or not.
This domain name generator was created by the team of Automattic (the creator of WordPress.com). It allows you to sort results in terms of popularity and length. You can also filter the search terms in two ways – starting with the search term and ending with the search term.
This is what we got when looking out for the topic “football”:
Started in 1999, this is the oldest, trusted, and most popular domain name generator in the world.
Just enter one or two keywords and this tool will suggest the best domain name ideas for your business or blog.
Nameboy also checks the availability status of its suggested domain names. And you find a good domain name that’s available to register without wasting much time.
Nameboy also provides specific generators blog names, brand names, and business names, among others.
Powered by Nmaeboy, IsItWP is a fast and simple tool to help you search for new name ideas for your blog or business.
You just need to enter one or two words in the search box and a list of domain name ideas will pop up instantly. Just pick the one suitable for your brand and register it right away before someone else does.
Best of all, IsItWP is integrated with BlueHost. So if you get your website hosted by BlueHost, you get a domain name with TLDs .com or .net for free.
#9. Research your Domain name to Avoid Trademark Issues
Once you’ve finalized the name and want to purchase it, you must make sure it’s not trademarked or copyrighted by another company, business, or blogger.
A similar or matching name not only causes confusion but also be cited for trademarked infringement.
Infringing on a trademark could result in possible legal issues that may cost you a lot of money or even a fortune. You also risk losing the domain name and you’ll end up killing a great website you’ve created and the business you’ve built around that domain name.
So, as a rule of thumb, you must double-check if the domain name you are going to purchase is already trademarked.
And my friends, it’s pretty easy to check if your chosen domain name is trademarked or not.
For websites to be operated in the US, you can visit the website of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (https://www.uspto.gov/trademarks) to do the search to check for the trademark status.
You should also go for a Google search and check all the top social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. for the availability of your domain name on these sites.
Therefore, take your time and make an informed and well-researched decision to be fully sure that the domain name you choose will not have any legal implications. Yeah, you should legally own that domain name.
#10. Act fast before someone else takes it
There are already millions of domain names active online and thousands of new ones are registered every day. So, once you have zeroed in on a domain name, you should go for purchasing it without showing any delay.
Domain names get registered quickly. And thankfully, they are pretty affordable. They will never cost you a fortune.
You need to act fast before someone else registers your favorite domain name.
Just make sure that it’s not trademarked so that in the future you don’t find yourself in some serious legal problems. And then go ahead and grab it.
Though time-consuming, you always have the option to change it later if you think it doesn’t work as it should.
What are the best places to register your domain name?
There are plenty of registrars you can choose from to register your domain with. But you should keep in mind a few things while shopping around for a registrar to purchase your domain name such as:
- The transfer policy shouldn’t be complicated or expensive.
- The pricing of different registrars is different. So check out multiple registrars to compare the prices of the domain name you want to purchase. There are many registrars whose pricing for the first year is less but when you have to renew your domain name, they’ll increase the price.
- Make sure that the registrar provides a grace period and automatic renewals.
- You should look out for domain privacy protection of a registrar so that your identity is kept secure. This also prevents any attempts at hijacking your password.
- When you wish to add subdomains to your site, you don’t need to register them separately. While purchasing domain names, make sure your registrar allows you to add them to your site.
- The domain name registrar must be accredited by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers).
Here are some popular and reliable domain name registrars you can check out:
- GoDaddy – Managing 82 million+ domain names for more than 20 million customers, GoDaddy is the largest domain name registrar in the world.
- Namecheap – Established in 2000, it has over 14 million domains under management around the world. Namecheap can provide you with the domains at the best prices with the best services.
- Domain.com – Founded in 1998 and powering over 1.2 million websites around the world, Domain.com is also one of the largest domain and web hosting providers. Besides affordable domain names, they also offer free domain services such as URL forwarding, Email forwarding, transfer lock, and total DNS management.
There are some Web Hosting companies that offer free domain registration
There are some web hosting companies that offer free domain registration if you buy a web hosting service from them.
But the choice is always yours whether you want to register the domain directly, with a domain name registrar, or with a web hosting company.
It’s important to note here is that most of the web hosts offer free domain registration for one year only.
If you want to take advantage of this offer, you can go ahead and get your domain name for free for the first year.
Here are the two popular web hosting companies that offer free domain registration with their web hosting services:
- Blue Host – This is one of the oldest, largest, and most popular web hosting providers. WordPress also recommends this web hosting company.
- Host Gator – Another reliable and popular web host that offers free domain registration with very affordable pricing options of web hosting services.
If you are planning to make a website or use your domain name for custom email purposes, then registering your domain name with a hosting company will make your job easier. This is because it’ll allow you to keep everything under one roof.
But if you have to buy multiple domains, you should register them with one good and trusted registrar.
IMPORTANT! My recommendation will be to buy your domain name separately. A domain name registered with a domain name registrar that is trusted by millions of customers around the world will be more secured than with the web hosting provider offering free registration.
I hope this article helped you in choosing the right domain name while creating a website for your blog or business.
Selecting a domain name for your site is one of the important decisions you’ll make when trying to establish and grow your brand or business online.
So, you must take your time and choose it carefully keeping in mind all the essential tips discussed above.
Always go for short, pronounceable, brandable, and easy-to-remember domain names. If it’s long or you make it confusing by using numbers and hyphens, it’ll be hard for people to find your blog or business.
Also, to make it look more professional, it should match your brand name.
Just put some thought into it and use the tips available in this post to brainstorm ideas and create a domain name that’s best for your blog or business.
Did I miss adding other important tips for choosing the right domain name? Feel free to let me know in the comments.