Naming your business is a big deal, of course, and choosing a domain name is arguably just as essential for your brand. It may become how you’re known to online consumers, and it makes up the bulk of your website’s URL. This give it a major association with your identity, and it can give a boost to your search engine optimization (SEO).
Just to clarify, a domain name looks like this: create180design.com. The associated URL—the actual web address—would be https://www.create180design.com. Domain names can end in all sorts of extensions, like .org, .net, .edu, .gov, .info, and so on, and there are different extensions for different countries, too.
When choosing a domain name for your brand, you want something that’s easy to communicate, remember, and type. Pull off those three things in a domain name that’s available or that you’re able to purchase and you’re in good shape.
Here are some fundamental tips for choosing a domain name that help accomplish those three goals:
How to Pick Your Brand’s Domain Name
- URLs ending in .com are always best, since that’s what most people automatically type (if you want a different extension, buy the .com alternative too and redirect to your primary address)
- Consider using your exact brand name as your domain name if it’s a sensible option (in light of the rest of the tips below)
- If possible, work in a major keyword or two identifying your type of business to boost your SEO and to instantly let users know what you do (if you have a bakery called Loaf, for example, consider something like LoafBakery.com)
- If your brand is entirely a local business without an e-commerce component—or potential for one somewhere down the line—consider including your city in the URL for SEO benefits (LoafOrlandoBakery.com, perhaps)
- Don’t just use a string of keywords, as spammy-sounding domain names don’t encourage trust
- Don’t get so specific with keywords that you limit your brand’s ability to expand or evolve and still have a relevant domain name
- When choosing a domain name, stay away from one that’s very similar to a competitor or a well-known brand
- Shoot for something that’s easily communicated orally without confusion about spelling, homonyms, digits or numbers spelled out, etc.
- Avoid using digits
- Avoid using misspelled words (how many people do you think will successfully type LowfBakery.com?)
- Don’t use hyphens (Loaf-Bakery.com will lose a lot of traffic too)
- Avoid having the same letter at the end of one word and the beginning of the next word in the domain name, as this greatly increases instances of incorrect typing, and therefore lost traffic (the double F in loaffreshbakery.com is bound to be missed)
- Pick something short and memorable (many experts consider two words and 15 characters the maximum as a best practice)
- Don’t abbreviate words in your brand name just to keep it short, though (using “bkry” instead of “bakery” makes the domain name difficult to tell people and hard to remember)
- People see domain names in all lower-case letters, so check carefully that yours doesn’t accidentally spell anything undesirable out if the individual words aren’t immediately obvious
- Check that the name isn’t copyrighted or trademarked
- If you’re using a made-up word, confirm that it doesn’t have a negative meaning in another common language (you can do this just by using Google to translate the word as if it were Spanish, French, Portuguese, etc.)
- Make sure your domain name is available as custom URLs and account names on social media sites