Choosing the right domain name can be one of the hardest parts of taking your website from an idea to a reality. So many of your ideas are already taken and then the ones that are free are often lacking that special something that you want in a domain name.
Here at Head2Web, it took us a while – and many discarded options – to get to Head2Web.com but eventually we found the perfect domain name that ticks all the right boxes. To help you come up with an original, creative and memorable domain name that represents your business, we’ve noted down eight tips that helped us come to our decision.
#1 – Easy to spell
It might seem obvious but one of the most important things for your domain name is that people must be able to spell it to get to your website at all! Be sure to pick a domain name that can’t be misconstrued or have multiple ways of spelling it, and if you pick a nonsense word for your business try to spell it phonetically, like Google, Bing or Yahoo.
Tip: Don’t be afraid to adapt it a little with prefixes, if necessary. If you wanted the domain jumble.com but it was taken, you can always add ‘the’ to be able to use your business name in the domain.
#2 – Short in length
Trust us, shorter is better. As above, longer words are more likely to be harder to spell so, unless it’s necessary, try to keep your domain name to as few characters as possible. In fact, there are even studies that suggest the best domain names are the short one, with the top five websites in the study having six characters or fewer in their domain name.
#3 – Use appropriate extension
When you’re going to purchase a domain name, it can be tempting to opt for one of the weirder domain names because they are a lot cheaper. But, as always, you get what you pay for so if you’re paying less than £1 for a .club or .pizza domain name, then you’re not likely to get the traffic you want to your site.
Always use .co.uk if you’re a local business because it clearly states where you are based and where you provide your service. If you’re international, use .com wherever possible, or .net isn’t a terrible compromise if you really must.
Tip: With our Head2Web packages, a domain name is included in the price so you don’t have to worry about this!
#4 – Brandable
Your domain name should really be the same as your business name (although there are exceptions), and everyone knows that your business name must be brandable. But what exactly is brandable and how do you achieve a brandable name?
Brandable business names are totally unique and memorable, so it wouldn’t be a good idea to start a search engine called Woogle, for example. You can use made up words to find something that is a complete one-off with no previous connotations, or explore a dictionary or thesaurus to find an uncommon word that has meanings or roots that represent your business well. There are even some domain name generators out there that will come up with something for you, but be careful that it still represents your business and isn’t totally random without cause.
#5 – Use keywords
That is, use words that are relevant to your business. For example, if you are a car dealer, you might want to use the word ‘car’ or ‘motor’ in your domain name to make it completely clear what you do. A stranger should be able to look at your domain name and have a vague idea of the kind of thing you do. Your domain name doesn’t have to explain your whole business plan but equally, you shouldn’t name an online clothing store Fish (unless it only stocks fishnet tights; then you’d be on to something…).
#6 – Long-term
Once your business is established, it’s really, hard to change your domain name. For starters, all your existing customers already know where to find you and you also might have business cards, shop fronts, van livery or any number of products with the web address already printed. When you pick a domain name, try to commit to it and see it as a long-term option, not something you can change when you get bored. It might have worked for Zuckerberg to drop the ‘The’ from his original site ‘TheFacebook’, but unfortunately, you’re probably not the creator of Facebook.
#7 – Pronounceable
As with being easy to spell, your domain name should be easy to pronounce, too. How can customers tell their friends about the cool new website they found, schaudenfreud.com? Again, your domain name can use a made-up word but make sure it’s one that can be pronounced without difficulty because you’ll only shoot yourself in the foot by making it hard to spread the word.
#8 – Avoid punctuation
We’ve talked about keeping your domain name easy to spell and easy to pronounce, and adding hyphens, colons, slashes and other weird punctuation doesn’t help to achieve this. Adding complicated and unnecessary punctuation slows things down and prevents your domain name from having that punchy, original feel.
Tip: the one exception to this rule is if adding punctuation helps to prevent misunderstanding your domain name. For example, the business Pen Island probably regretted not using a hyphen in their domain name www.penisland.net. True story.
So, there you have it…
8 quick tips to help you create or fine-tune the perfect domain name for your new business website. If you’re struggling, here at Head2Web, we can even help you come up with some ideas! Our pay monthly website packages include website design, development, maintenance, hosting, support and (you guessed it!) a free domain name, too. Talk to us today to find out what we can do to help you get your website up and running – we promise you won’t regret it!