UPDATE: This perfect domain name post was originally published on 16 September 2015 and updated on 15 May 2020.
Choosing a domain name is similar to choosing a company name — it requires a lot of thought and consideration. Your domain name is your identity on the web; you want to make sure you choose a name that not only fits your business, but is also easy to find and promote.
Follow the steps below to help you pick the perfect domain name.
Here’s how to get the perfect domain name
Choosing a domain is one of the most important steps in starting a business, since it will serve as your web address for the life of your business. Here’s how to get it right:
- Make it easy to type.
- Keep it short.
- Use keywords.
- Target your geographic area.
- Avoid numbers and hyphens.
- Be memorable.
- Research it.
- Use an appropriate domain name extension.
- Protect and build your brand.
- Act fast.
Now let’s dig in to our pro tips.
1. Make it easy to type
Finding a domain name that’s easy to type is critical to online success. If you use slang (u instead of you) or words with multiple spellings (express vs. xpress), it might be harder for customers to find your site.
2. Keep it short
If your domain name is long and complex, you risk customers mistyping or misspelling it. Short and simple is the way to go.
3. Use keywords
Try using keywords that describe your business and the services you offer. For example, if you’re a glass replacement business, you may want to register GlassRepair.com or GlassReplacement.com.
It helps improve your rank on search engines (which increases traffic) and just makes more sense to your customers.
4. Target your geographic area
If your business is local, consider including your city or state in your domain name to make it easy for local customers to find and remember. Example: PhoenixGlassRepair.com.
5. Avoid numbers and hyphens
Numbers and hyphens are often misunderstood — people who hear your website address don’t know if you’re using a numeral (5) or it’s spelled out (five) or they misplace or forget the dash. If you need these in your domain, register the different variations to be safe.
6. Be memorable
There are millions of registered domain names, so having a domain that’s catchy and memorable is essential. Once you’ve come up with a name, share it with close friends to make sure it sounds appealing and makes sense to others.
Quick solution: Got a great idea for a domain? Register your name today and put a website out there before someone else beats you to it.
7. Research it
Make sure the name you’ve selected isn’t trademarked, copyrighted or being used by another company. It could result in a huge legal mess that could cost you a fortune, as well as your domain!
8. Use an appropriate domain name extension
Extensions are suffixes, such as .com or .net, at the end of web addresses. These can have specific uses, so make sure to choose one that works for your business. The .com domain extension is far and away the most popular, but it can be tough to get a short and memorable .com domain name because it’s been around for so long.
A bevy of new domain extensions — like .photography, .club and .guru — offer a great opportunity to register short and highly relevant names. Here are some other top extensions and how they’re often used:
- .hockey : for teams, retail stores and hockey blogs
- .quebec : for businesses or groups in Quebec
- .maison : for restaurants, boutiques and designers
Check out the entire list of literally hundreds of new extensions here.
Pro tip: You don’t need to build a website for every domain. Just forward any additional domains to your primary website.
9. Protect and build your brand
To protect your brand, you should purchase various domain extensions, as well as misspelled versions of your domain name. This prevents competitors from registering other versions and ensures your customers are directed to your website, even if they mistype it.
10. Act fast
Domain names sell quickly. Thankfully, they’re also inexpensive, so register your favorite domain names as soon as possible. If you’re having trouble finding an available name, domain registrars like GoDaddy will suggest alternate names during your domain search to help you find the perfect domain name.