The domain name you choose for your company represents one of the most important factors for growing your business. It helps your business website rank better in search engine results, mostly through keyword placement in the domain name and domain age and authority. In other words, domain name selection is a fundamental factor for any successful SEO effort.
Selecting the right domain name depends on a few key principles. For example, it should be short, easy to spell, unique over generic, and so on. Let’s explore the subject further.
Brandable over generic
A brandable domain name is always better than a generic one. Understand that your domain name is how customers will search, remember and share your business on the Internet. In other words, it is the foundation of your branding efforts.
A brandable domain name is original, has a trust factor associated with it, and stands out from the crowd. A generic one is often stuffed with keywords (an awful SEO practice), doesn’t have any meaning, increases the keyword competition and isn’t easily remembered.
Keep it concise
Typically, when it comes to the length of your domain name, shorter is more efficient. A common domain name length is around 12 characters. Hence, aim for 7-14 characters. It is quite possible that almost every good shorter domain name is already taken since a long time ago. If you can’t opt for something short, at least make it brandable.
Easy to type
Think about some of the most famous websites and companies in the world. For example, Google, Instagram, CNN, BBC, SpaceX. What makes these similar (and thus famous) is that they’re all easy to spell. The future visitors of your website need to be able to type in your domain name without trouble. Just like with jokes, if you have to explain the spelling for it to be understood, you’re missing the point!
The only thing you do not want to occur is to have potential visitors mistype your domain name and go to a completely different site. A simple way to test this is to tell your potential domain name to a dozen people and ask them to spell it out. If several of them struggle with it, you should simplify it.
Easy to pronounce
This is a runner up of the previous advice. Having an easy to pronounce domain name makes it more memorable and easier to share by word-of-mouth. The test here is the same as it was for typing. Write down your domain name and ask a dozen individuals to pronounce it. If more than a few are having a hard time pronouncing it, it needs to be simpler.
Avoid numbers and hyphens
Numbers and hyphens make a domain name harder to pronounce and spell. Imagine explaining Google if it had a hyphen or a number in it. Hard, right? The most popular search engine out there might not have spread so fast if this was the case. The conclusion is to have a domain that’s smooth and punchy – numbers and hyphens get in the way of that.
Consider using keywords
Keywords exist to help improve your SEO – just kidding! The point is, they have their place in your SEO strategy. You just have to be careful with them. Just trying to awkwardly stuff keywords into your domain comes across as generic (a bad practice we explained before).
If you do opt for keyword usage, put them at the beginning of your domain. This will turn them into a stronger SEO ranking factor. You can explore different keywords with tools like Google Keyword Planner.
Since a domain name is one of the strongest factors that will define the future of your business and brand, you will need to select it with long-term in mind. Otherwise, you might have to change it as your business expands, which will cost you money and downgrade your branding and SEO efforts. The point is not to pin yourself down to a particular niche if you believe you might expand out of that niche.
Check availability on social media platforms and trademarks
Before you go forward with a particular domain name, you should check its availability on social media websites as well as trademarks already registered to the name. To effectively develop your brand, you need to have the same name across all channels, including your domain and social networks.
This creates familiarity and makes it easy for fans, visitors, and customers to find you online. There is also the added bonus of avoiding legal problems since you’ll be staying away from names that have trademarks on them. You can either search yourself to see if a name is already taken or use online tools for it. If the name is taken, consider changing it a bit so that you can build unique social media profiles for your company.
Use the right domain name extension
In essence, your domain name extension is your domain’s “surname”. It finalizes your site address and assigns it a location on the web. Moreover, it provides your domain name with the much required “finishing touch”, making it recognizable and unique. Remember, the last thing you need is customers forgetting how to access your site or misspelling it with the wrong domain extension.
The purpose of your website determines the selection of domain extension, as it has to accurately represent who you are and what you do. In our case, it’s best that you choose a “.com” extension, since it is used for websites with a commercial purpose, is the most familiar and the easiest to remember. Selecting a wrong extension can confuse your future visitors and put your brand name at risk of being misinterpreted.
Use a domain name generator to gather ideas
If you’re still having trouble to pick the right domain name, you can use a domain name generator to collect more ideas. It analyzes the keywords you enter in its search field and suggests the best domain name ideas for your company.
That’s it. By now, you should have a hang of what is needed for a perfect domain name. Remember that it is the first impression people have about your business, so choose it wisely.