How To Choose The Best Domain Name For Your Website
Part 1: What is a Domain Name?
A Domain Name is the name that people type into their web browser’s address bar to access a website. For example: www.yoursimplesite.co.uk is our Domain Name.
You can think of a Domain Name like a telephone number. Every website has a Domain Name which tells the web browser where it should look to find the website attached to that Domain Name. It’s just like entering a phone number and connecting to the person you want to talk to.
Underneath, Domain Names, like phone numbers, are more complicated, but it’s just a way of giving every website a unique name that people can easily remember.
It’s not just about choosing a name. There’s 2 parts to every Domain Name and both parts need careful thought. After all, your Domain Name should stay with your business for a long time (if not forever), so it’s important that you get it right.
Here are the 2 parts:
- The Name
- The Top Level Domain (TLD)
It’s important that you put sufficient thought into your Domain Name because once you start promoting it and people know it, you won’t want to change it in a hurry.
The next two sections break everything down step by step, guiding you through the thought process of choosing your own awesome Domain Name.
Part 2: Choose The Name Part
Here’s the top rules when choosing your Domain Name
- Keep it short
- Make it memorable
- Ensure it’s relevant to your business
The place to start is to think in the following way:
What will people search when they’re looking for my business?
For example: You’re a plumber based in Cheltenham offering services to domestic households. Your business name is Easy Plumber Ltd. How would people search for your business?
The obvious thing would be your business name. This would include searches such as:
But, as more Domain Names are registered it is becoming increasingly difficult to get your first choice of domain name. (We’ll tell you how to check to see if your business name is available a little later).
If your business name isn’t available, think of other keywords that are relevant to your business that people may search for that could be part of your Domain Name.
Think about what your business does. For example:
- 24 hour emergency plumber Cheltenham
- Domestic plumber Gloucestershire
- Reliable plumber service
You can also think of variations of words. Instead of ‘plumber’, you could use ‘plumbing’ or consider including your location. (This can be particularly useful if you serve a local area).
Using our example of Easy Plumber Ltd based in Cheltenham, here’s a list of suitable, potential names. Use this as inspiration to come up with your own list specific to your business.
Subtle variations like these can make a big difference when you come to search to see if your desired Domain Name is available.
The more relevant you make your Domain Name, the more likely your website will be found.
If someone searches for Plumber Cheltenham and your Domain Name is www.easyplumbercheltenham.co.uk you have much more chance of being shown in the search results. However, don’t use this as an excuse to add loads of keywords to your Domain Name. It will just make it unnecessarily long and not very memorable.
You also need to make sure your Domain Name represents your brand. When people see it will they instantly recognise it and relate it to you and your business?
A domain name like www.24hourreliableplumbingservices.co.uk is descriptive and contains loads of keywords. But…
- It could be any plumber, anywhere
- It’s not very memorable
- It’s way too long
- Keywords aren’t as important for Search Engines anymore
Focusing on the last one for a moment. Back in the early days of the internet, keywords were king. Search Engines primarily looked at keywords to determine whether to return your website in search results. Now, there’s so many more factors in play than simply matching as many keywords with the words a person enters into a search engine.
Plus, adding a lot of keywords to your Domain Name will only serve to make it forgettable. And, overuse of keywords in any website content (your Domain Name or your actual website words) is now penalised by search engines.
You’re much better having a shorter, memorable Domain Name that closely ties in with your business.
When it comes to Domain Names size matters!
Earlier, we said that the example; www.24hourreliableplumbingservices.co.uk is too long. To elaborate on this, make your Domain Name shorter so it’s easier to type, write, say, share, remember and put on everything you possibly can to promote your website.
Imagine trying to put a really long Domin Name on a business card or tell someone your website address over the phone…
Ideally, keep your Domain Name under 20 characters long (including the www. and the TLD – which we’ll talk about in a while).
Some things to avoid when you’re choosing your domain name…
1. Avoid special characters
It’s tempting to use them because a lot of domains have been taken.
- www.easyplumber.com = Unavailable
- www.easy-plumber.com = Available
While the Domain Name with the dash in the middle might be tempting, people could forget that the dash is there and instead go to the Domain Name without the dash. Not only could you lose visitors, if the owner of the other website is a direct competitor you could be losing customers to them or even worse, sending loads of potential new customers right to them.
2. Avoid ‘Jargon’
You live in the world in which you work every single day. But, just because you know what a bit of industry jargon means, don’t assume your potential customers will. Using jargon might stop people understanding what your business does.
3. Avoid acronyms / shortened words
It’s tempting, especially if you have a long business name to shorten it to an acronym. For example, Peter Smith Painting and Decorating Services to www.pspaintdec.com. While it’s better to have a shorter and more memorable Domain Name, it’s not easy for everyone else to remember the shortened words.
Part 3: Choose your TLD
Finding an available .com is becoming more and more difficult!
But, there are so many TLDs to choose from and more are being released almost every day to cope with the demand for new Domain Names.
It’s always the best approach to try and use one of the more recognised domains. People have pre-conceived ideas about what a Domain Name is supposed to look like, so give them what they expect.
The most simple answer is always try to go for a .com. It’s still the most recognised TLD.
Which Domain Name jumps out at you the most? Do you even instantly recognise the .cleaning one as a domain name?
If your desired .com isn’t available, try TLDs like .net, .co or your geographic country TLD. (For example, .co.uk for the UK). To help you, here’s a list of the 20 most registered TLDs globally.
- .au (Australia)
- .co.uk (United Kingdom)
- .me (Montenegro)
- .in (India)
- .asia (Asia)
- .com.ar (Argentina)
- .nl (Netherlands)
- .de (Germany)
- .ch (Switzerland)
- .dk (Denmark)
- .kr (South Korea)
- .fr (France)
- .es (Spain)
And that’s how to choose the best Domain Name for your website.
A Domain Name is just one part of a website. If you need a website, you might want to check out our free guide:
Check it out now if you want to create a website that will flood your business with leads, enquiries and new customers. It’s our proven blueprint that’s been used by loads of other businesses to launch their successful website.
Part 4: Check To See If Your Domain Name Is Available
Now you’ve chosen your preferred Domain Name (or preferably come up with a few options), you need to make sure it’s available. We’ve created a video demonstration showing you how to check to see if your domain name is available.
If you have any questions, contact us at email@example.com.
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