Imagine typing all of that in every time you wanted to search for a quick green bean casserole recipe!
As you can see, choosing a good domain name is a crucial (and sometimes overlooked) first step to creating a successful web page. Whether you are looking to start a new business or take your current business online, one of the first things you will need to consider is how to choose a good domain name. Perhaps you are simply looking for a new domain name to rebrand under or add brandable value to your business. Whatever the case may be, here are a few tips to help guide you in choosing the right domain name.
Keep it Short
As a general rule, shorter domains are better than long tail domain names. They are easier to remember and easier to type. They also look better. Some of the most successful companies have short and easy to remember domain names. For example, google.com, yahoo.com, jet.com, amazon.com, ebay.com, msn.com, bing.com, imdb.com. These are all websites that rank in the top 50 most visited websites according to Similar Web and they are all only 6 characters or less.
Keep it Simple and Brandable
Don’t be too generic and do NOT try to cram keywords into your domain name. A keyword crammed domain will most likely not be short, or memorable. For example, SeattleDonutShop.com has some great keywords in the name, but it’s not simple, memorable or nearly as brandable as using the unique name of the business to create the domain MightyO.com.
Think of how often someone asks for a Kleenex as opposed to a facial tissue. Kleenex has branded itself with one made up word and edged its way into valuable front of mind space with many people. A simple and brandable name is a must.
Keep it Pronounceable
A good domain will always pass the radio test. If your domain name was said in a radio advertisement, would your audience know exactly what to type? For example, let’s say your domain name was quik-2-clean.com. Just imagine what someone would think without further explanation. Someone hearing this name over the radio would likely think the domain is quicktoclean.com.
You can see how a pronounceable domain that passes the radio test is important in many ways. For one, it will be easier for your visitors or customers to find you online, whether they are typing in your domain or searching for it online. Also, you protect yourself from competitor sites with a domain that passes the radio test. If I were a competitor that owned quicktoclean.com I would likely be able to funnel traffic from quik-2-clean.com by simply owning the domain that passes the radio test.
Keep it Trustworthy
When people hear a domain name without the extension, they almost always instinctively assume that it ends in .com. The .com domain extension holds the most front of mind space in internet users and, as such, .com is viewed as a trustworthy domain extension. That said, there is absolutely nothing wrong with going after a different extension if your best .com options are out of reach, especially if it makes sense for your brand/business and fits well with the other points made here.
Legacy domain extensions like .net and .org are also viewed as trustworthy and a .org makes a lot of sense if you are a community organization or non-profit. Extensions like .co and .io are great for startups and very popular in the tech world. You may think that domain extensions effect SEO, but Google has said that they treat all domain extensions apart from country code domains equal. In other words, a .com is treated the same as a .org, or a new generic like .life or .city and will not hurt you in the eyes of Google. Your concern should be about whether or not the domain extension you choose looks trustworthy and makes sense to your end users. If a new generic domain extension makes sense to your brand and what you are doing, like donut.shop, go for it.
Another important thing to consider is the long-term viability of your domain. Perhaps you want to sell your business someday; if your domain name contains things like your name or location this could pose a problem. Imagine trying to sell your business to an investor that wants to expand your reach and open other locations. If your domain name is DaleJohnsonsMinnesotaDonuts.com this makes the goals of the investor very difficult and won’t help you sell.
You should always be thinking about brand recognition and changing your domain later could hurt you. It can also be difficult to transition your business to a new domain name later if you’ve built up trust and haven’t taken the right steps from an SEO perspective to ensure that your new domain will receive all your previous SEO signals and benefits. In the end, it’s best to take some time to think long-term when selecting a domain name so you can avoid future hassles.
A great domain isn’t easy to find, and it’s not going to be easy to find one that fits all of the five points laid out here. That said, a helpful method is to make a list of all the domain names that you find that are available. Then, go down your list giving a point to each domain that fits one of the criteria listed above. Hopefully, after you’ve scored all your possible domains, your list will be narrowed down to the few that really fit what you are trying to do and make the most sense to your users and visitors. Good luck in your domain hunt!