One of the most important decisions you’ll make about your business is the domain name you choose to acquire. The name you give your business is crucial. It can either be of tremendous help with branding, or it can be a liability. You may find that you need to invest in the domain you want.
Acquiring a premium domain name is definitely the way to go but choosing one can be difficult. What criteria should you be following to make sure you end up with the very best domain name?
Here are a few things you should keep in mind.
Pick a Short Name
What You Want to Avoid: When you’re just starting out playing with names, it can be tempting to combine all your ideas into one long domain name. However, while that may make it unique and descriptive, it may hurt your branding.
What to Do Instead: A short name is easy to remember, easier to spell, and thus, has a better chance of becoming a household name. It also makes it easier when you want to branch out into branded items, or you want to create a logo, etc.
Unfortunately, the very easy 3-letter names were all taken as early as 1997, but there are plenty of others available that are appropriate. The shorter your domain name is, the easier it is to share through word of mouth. It’s also easier to type into your search bar, especially if you’re using a phone.
Pick Something Easy to Spell, Pronounce, and Remember
What You Want to Avoid: A name that is difficult to spell can negatively impact your traffic, because it can mean that users don’t land on your page. They might even end up with a competitor, instead.
What to Do Instead: This name needs to be easy to remember. Your customers need to be able to spell it correctly and pronounce it easily, so that they can easily share it with others.
Imagine you’re naming a child – you want something unique for your site, but you also don’t want a name that will create difficulties because of spelling or pronunciation.
Some of the most famous and brandable names out there are extremely simple: Google. Facebook. Amazon. These are giants who created an excellent product or service, but who also knew how to brand themselves by acquiring premium domain names.
Use Relevant Keywords
What You Want to Avoid: A word of caution, here – if your domain is entirely comprised of keywords, you run the risk of creating a brand that sounds too generic, or unrecognizable. Especially if you’re starting a blog or a personal page, you need something with a bit of personality.
What to Do Instead: You’ll notice that a lot of the heavy players have names that are composed of two words, and one of them is usually a keyword. That is a very clever choice, because a) it’s descriptive of your business, b) it majorly contributes to SEO, and c) it makes your name easy to remember.
So, if you’ve got an interior design business, for example, you’ll want a premium domain that ideally includes a relevant keyword, like “design”, “interior”, “decorator”, “home”, “style”, etc.
That will tell your potential customers all they need to know about your business. Your name is also likely to pop up in whatever Google search they try for “interior design” or similar keywords.
Avoid Anything Confusing or Inappropriate
What You Want to Avoid: You want to pay attention to not pick a name that is confusing (either because of spelling or sheer peculiarity), awkward, or inappropriate. If the initials of your business make up an inappropriate word, scrap the name immediately.
What to Do Instead: Also pay attention to what a domain looks like when you spell it out, if it’s made of multiple words. You’ll be surprised at how many other words you may inadvertently spelling.
The other thing to look out for is that picking a name that has no relation to your line of business can be very confusing.
Avoid Names that Already Exist or Are Trademarked
What You Want to Avoid: Don’t go ahead with a name that is extremely similar to an existing one or that is trademarked, because a) that is confusing for your customers and you risk losing traffic, and b) you may, someday, be served with a legal notice that may create problems.
What to Do Instead: However, there is a caveat, here.
If the name is already trademark-protected, that’s a bit of a dead-end. There can’t be another Burger King, for example.
If, however, the domain name you want is just taken by someone else, there are ways around that and you are still able to buy a domain name that is already owned.
Choose a .com TLD, but Purchase All Available Extensions
What You Want to Avoid: If you only acquire the domain name you want and no other similar ones, you run the risk of having someone else purchase other variations of your domain. They will get the traffic that should have been directed towards your page.
What to Do Instead: The most popular domains are .com ones, and they are the most widely used, so it’s the ideal premium domain to acquire. But your work doesn’t stop here. Once you’ve bought that, you also want to purchase every other available variation of your domain name.
For example, let’s say your domain name is www.carsforsale.com. You should try to buy www.carsforsale.net, www.carsforsale.org, www.carsforsale.biz, etc. That way, no one else can take these domains and possibly steal traffic that was meant to go your way. Once you have these domains, you can make sure the traffic redirects to your main .com domain.
Choosing a domain name can be a delicate process. Pick the wrong one, and your business may suffer. Pick the right one, and it can catapult you into quick notoriety, or at least it can help make branding easier.
The most important things to remember when choosing what domain to acquire is that it should be something easy to spell and remember, non-trademarked, and that ideally includes a keyword.
If you manage to find the perfect one, purchase every variation to make sure that you can take advantage of 100% of the traffic going to these domains.