There are 5 important aspects to choose a domain name that reflects your business identity, SEO friendly, and has a high perceived value. Deciding on your domain name is the fun part of building an online business. You get to be creative and you get to choose a brand name that reflects your business. Many marketers including myself spend some time coming up with the ‘right’ name because a domain name is important. It is the identity of your business.
Choosing a domain name for your business is an important step. However, when I first started, I used to spend too much time over it. I wanted to get the perfect name and you know what – most often than not, you are not going to get the name that you want. So don’t make the same mistake I did by getting stuck in this process. It is important but it does not have to be perfect.
By following this guide, you will be able to not only select a name that you are comfortable with but also potentially own a high-value domain name that you can sell in the future for a profit.
What is a domain name?
A domain name is the address of your website. You cannot build a website without it. From a technical explanation, each computer that is connected to the internet has a numerical IP address. These numbers can be very long and hard to remember. Therefore, a domain name was created to point at the respective IP address of the computer.. They are hosted by companies called domain name registrars.
How many types of domain names are there?
There are 3 categories of a domain name which are Top Level Domain (TLD), Country Code Top Level Domain (ccTLD), and Sponsored Top Level Domain (TLD).
a. Top Level Domain (TLD)
- These are generic domains
- The most popular ones are .com, .org and .net
- There are thousands of other generic domains like .biz. .name, .club etc
b. Country Code Top Level Domain (ccTLD)
- Specific to the country and the extension is actually the abbreviation of the country’s name such as .my for Malaysia, .uk for the United Kingdom, .ph for the Philippines, etc.
- Those who want to build a site that targets predominantly the people of that particular country uses this type of domain
c. Sponsored Top Level Domain (TLD)
- These are community and organization based domain like .edu for the organization, .post for postal service and so on
- Unless your website is for a specific organization that has a community around it, you might not be using this domain.
5 Things To Consider Before Choosing A Domain Name
A domain name should reflect what your business is all about. Sure there are exceptions such as Twitter, Facebook, Youtube where the name has got nothing to do with the actual business of the website. However, as a general practice, you do want to keep your domain name as closely related to your business as much as possible. Before you choose a domain name, you need to consider these 5 critical aspects before making a decision.
- Does your domain name match the name of your website?
- Are you going to use a long domain name or a short one?
- Do you want to choose your own name as the domain name?
- What domain extension should you use?
- What makes a bad domain name?
1. Your domain name needs to be the same as your website
Now, this is not a 100% rule to follow. Sometimes the website name and the domain does not match. However, as much as possible, please make sure it matches as closely as possible.
The domain name for my site is clickbasics.com. which is the same name as my website. Usually, when we try to find a site, we will not type the full URL instead we will type the site name in the search bar. Suppose a visitor types my site name in the search bar, this is what they will find:
As you can see, the first two results are mine but there is someone else by the name of Paul Carter who also runs a Facebook group called ClickBasics. Now, if anyone in his group types the word clickbasics in the search bar, they will most likely end up clicking my site instead. That means lost traffic for him. You might face this type of situation if your domain and site name does not match.
2. Long or short domain name?
Should you choose a domain name that is long or short? A domain name needs to be easy to remember, easy to spell, and easy to type. Therefore, it would be ideal if you could keep your domain name to be not more than 3 words.
1-word domain is extremely difficult to get nowadays. Having a 2-word domain would be great. Never go more than 3 words. Let me show you why:
Below is the value of my domain assessed by GoDaddy. One of the criteria used is Memorable which means easy to remember. The shorter the domain name, the higher the perceived value of that domain.
Suppose I add the word ‘consulting’ to my domain. It is now a 3-word domain. Let’s see what is the value now.
The value of this domain is now much lesser and ‘Memorable’ does not appear in the assessment.
Therefore, always aim to keep your domain name as short as possible.
3. Personal Name or Brand Name?
This is one of the most popular questions that people wonder about. Should your domain name follow your name or the name brand which you want to create,
The rationale behind this is that you want to promote your own-self as the brand. Your name is the brand. It is a great idea and there is nothing wrong with that.
However, from a value perspective, it will be harder to sell off a website that has a personal name compared to a site with a general brand name.
clickbasics.com vs johnnyclicks.com
Which one will you buy? – and your name is not Johnny.
As I said, there is nothing wrong with choosing your name as your domain. I would only do it when I have a few portfolios of established sites. Then I would get my name and brand myself as an expert. In this area, the choice is totally up to you
4. Is A .com Domain Name Better?
A .com extension is considered as a Top-Level Domain (TLD) and the most sought after domain extension. Since .com is one of the first extension that was introduced during the beginning of the internet, it is considered popular, and the easiest to remember of all the other extensions. It is the first choice for anyone who is looking to register a domain name. It just seems to complete the pronunciation of a web address better. Symbolics.com is the first registered domain name in 1985.
Anyone who wants to start a website would definitely think of how to choose a domain extension, At the time of writing this, there is currently more than 1500 domain extension. The overwhelming choices sometimes make it harder to decide which extension to get.
Here are 3 top recommended TLDs for you to consider.
- The most popular domain extension. Unfortunately, you may find that most of the names that you can think of under this extension would have been taken by now.
- The word ‘net’ refers to the internet. This will be your next go-to extension if you cannot get a .com.
- This is an extension that reflects trust. When you hear the word .org, you think about NGOs, social entrepreneurship, and organizations that have credibility.
- Fortunately, you do not have to have a registered company to own this domain extension.
- I would not recommend this for a product-related site. It is more suitable if you have a generic brand name or company name.
Tips: If you do come across a domain name with the extension that you want and it is affordable and available, don’t take too long to snap it up. I can’t even begin to imagine the number of domains being registered every day. If you do not decide quickly, your choices will eventually diminish in the TLD category.
5. Five things to avoid when choosing a domain name?
A domain name needs to be easy to remember, simple and straightforward. A good domain can have a positive impact on SEO.
While coming up with a domain name, keep it simple and straightforward. You want to create a domain name that is SEO friendly. When you are thinking of a name, the best practices to get a search engine friendly domain are by avoiding the following:
- Numbers and hyphens
1. Avoid numbers and hyphens
- Numbers and hyphens generally devalue a domain. It can be misleading and confusing.
- People do not hear and think in hyphens and numbers.
- There are exceptions of course but these are few. If you want to build a sustainable long-term business, you would want to avoid this.
2. Be aware of the misspelling
- Some people deliberately misspell their domain names. Example: fitness vs fitness, ClickBank vs clickbnk, etc. This is a kind of a ninja tactic to getting free traffic from people who mistype the name of the site.
- This tactic makes your site looks spammy and less credible in the eyes of the visitor and Google.
3. Don’t use superlatives
- Do not use exaggerated words like best, simplest, greatest, etc. Minimizing this helps you to tone down the hype.
- The hype is good but it needs to sound realistic and not come off as a marketing gimmick.
4. Refrain from using abbreviations
- This is another bad practice that you need to avoid. Short forms and abbreviations do not make a good domain name in most cases.
5. Don’t take trademarks
- Be careful not to include trademark names as part of your domain name. There could a copyright infringement claim against you. You do not need to take on the popular name. Create your own brand identity.
Where can I choose a domain name?
There are many places you can go to get your domain. Since this is the identity and the address of your business, choosing a reputable registrar for your domain is important. You want to get your domain from a company that has been around for a while, has a strong relationship with IP addresses, and with good customer reviews.
Recommended Domain Registrar
Why should you get a domain name for your site with NameCheap?
NameCheap which is based in Los Angeles has been in the market for the past 20 years with a strong business reputation. With over 10 million registered domain, it is a great choice for anyone who is looking for the best value for money deals.
6 Benefits of Using NameCheap
- Find your domain using their powerful search tool and get an auto-suggestion that closely matches your preferred name when it is not available.
- Manage your domain with a clean and user-friendly interface
- Free domain name privacy with all domain purchase
- Free email account with every purchase
- Great 24/7 customer support
- Affordable (as per the name)
Should you buy your domain and hosting together in one package?
Most companies will offer paid hosting with a free domain or vice-versa. You should buy your domain and host separately from different companies. If you need to move to a different hosting provider for any reason whatsoever, you can do it with less hassle. It gives you more control over your domain and web hosting separately.
A domain name is your website’s name. identity and reflects your brand. Choosing the right domain is important because you will be ‘stuck’ with it for a long time and you need to feel good about it. By using the guide mentioned above, you will be able to come with the best search engine friendly name possible. Also, getting it from a reputable registrar helps to minimize any hassle in the long run. Once you have registered your domain name, the next thing you need to do is choose a web host to start your business.
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