How to Choose a Domain Name
When choosing your domain name you need to take into account a number of things.
- Keep it short and easy to spell: Remember that when people search for your website, they have to type it in. If they can’t spell it they won’t find you and that’s a pretty big problem. If the domain name is really long they might not remember the whole thing, and again finding your online presence becomes more challenging. Keep it simple.
- How does it sound out loud: Think about what it sounds like spoken out loud. Would someone be able to spell it if they heard it spoken. Does it sound awkward, is it hard to say or do you perhaps have to explain what you’re saying? For example, a halloween store might be called ‘WhichWitch.com’. It’s interesting, fun and easy to remember, but said out loud you would have to constantly claify the spelling of ‘which’ and ‘witch’.
- Use keywords: If you’re not going for a company based URL, i.e. ‘mycompany.com’, then you want to choose something that is relevant to your industry. Targeting keywords that are relevant to your industry will help your SEO helping you show up in organic searches.
For example, if you are working in construction, you might brainstorm around terms like ‘development’, ‘architecture’, or ‘building’. Googles Keyword Planner can help with find suitable keyword ideas.
- Avoid numbers and symbols: There’s a couple of reasons to avoid symbols and numbers. One is that saying it out loud sounds rubbish. Imagine saying ‘MyConstruction, hyphen, sixty two, that’s sixty two the number, dot com.’ Much easier to just say ‘MyConstruction.com’ and much easier to type and remember. Which bring us onto the last point.
- Make it memorable: Having a memorable, unique, original domain name can massively help your brand. A memorable domain makes you easier to find online, increases your brand awareness and will eventually lead to getting more business.
Our Business Name Guides
Related: How to Create a WordPress Blog
How to Find Available Domains
Before you settle on any final ideas check whether or not your domain is available. This can easily be done using our service, which allows you to simultaneously generate thousands of awesome domain name ideas and then check their availability.
Using the domain check widget on the results page you can see which TLDs are taken, which are free ad easily register your domain there and then.
How to Generate Short Domain Names
Keeping your domain name short and easy to spell makes finding your website easier.
To help you keep your domain short, use the filter on the left hand side of our Domain Name Generator. This filters the name ideas, showing only those under 7 characters. You can then check domain availability using the domain check widget on the results page.
Generate Domain Names in Other Languages
Starting any new business should be paired with simultaneously building an online presence. If you’re looking to start a business overseas, for example you want to open a cafe or store in France you want a domain name that feels local. Even if you are following a model that has worked elsewhere, you may want to use a completely different URL. You may even want to have a completely different name for the store.
There are a couple of things you can do. One, trust in a brandable business name, like Kodak. You can add a location based extension on for example, .fr, for France to make it clear this is a French site.
Or you can explore domain names in the local language, and choose one that is fitting for this new business venture overseas. To help you do this try using our domain name generators which work in French, German, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese.
Personal Domain Name
A personal domain name can be incredibly useful when trying to build your personal brand. On top of this a personal website is a great place to house your online resume and sending and receiving emails from your personalized email address shows you’re a professional.
When structuring your personal domain you can use either your full name or just your surname. On top of this, for your personal domain you should use a .me TLD. If your name is hard to spell then using just your surname may be better for you than the whole name. Keeping it as simple as possible will help people find your website online. You can also use your initials, for example, John Smith might use JSmith.me, SmithJ.me, or even JohnS.me. You also have to think about how your email address will look. For example, if the the website domain is johnsmith.me, the email address would be email@example.com.
Brandable Domain Name
By brandable we mean that when you hear or see the name written it sounds and looks like a brand. It’s easy to remember, short, relevant and engaging.
This is another reason to avoid hyphens and numbers like the plague.
Compared to a generic domain a brandable name stands out from the competition. A generic name might be stuffed with keywords which will help their SEO, but it doesn’t help people remember them and can be damaging to your brand identity.
One way to create a brandable domain name is to create original words that are’t dictionary words, but are easy to spell and pronounce. A good example would be Spotify.
This is a mishmash of the words ‘Spot’ and ‘Identify’. It is catchy, easy to pronounce and spell, short and holds various potential relevant meanings, like identifying music on the spot.
.com or not to .com
There are huge numbers of TLDs (Top Level Domains) out there so why would you get a .com domain?
When you choose your domain extension, ‘.com’ is still the best for most websites. Around 75% of domains have the .com extension. It is the most familiar, and this the easiest domain extension to remember. On top of this, because it is so prolific, it’s what people will guess first if they are trying to find your website online.
However, with all that being said, it is precisely because everyone uses a ‘.com’ extension that you might not be able to. Most of the .com domains have already been claimed, so finding one for your business could end up meaning you either compromise your domain name, or pay a large amount to buy the domain.
There are plenty of other TLDs out there now that you could use, each with their own generic meaning. Find a complete list of all TLDs here.
- .co : an abbreviation for company, commerce, and community.
- .info : informational sites.
- .net : technical, Internet infrastructure sites.
- .org : non-commercial organizations and nonprofits.
- .biz : business or commercial use, like e-commerce sites.
- .me : blogs, resumes or personal sites.
M&Ms chocolates. The name has an ampersand in, so to make the URL work they have removed the symbol leaving mms. This actually works in their favor as mms is reminiscent of the sound someone makes when they have eaten something tasty.
This is a small London based marketing agency. They have kept true to their branding but made the domain into a phrase. They could have done a number of things to make their domain more interesting or relevant, for example, thetreemarketing.com, which would have made their company more search engine friendly. However, the phrase they chose is a brandable statement of identity that is easy to remember and type in. It is creative with the alliteration of the ‘T’ and bold.
Adidas, with it’s highly original name has no trouble getting the most relevant URLs. One interesting thing to note is they have also bought addidas.com, and adiddas.com. Both of which redirect to adidas.de. They are aware that their name isn’t easy to spell so they bought the obvious misspellings. This also stops others from being able to set up a business with a similar name.
Milka are an international brand from Germany to deal with the international market place they have multiple domains. .de is their German site, .com their international site.
Canon do something a little different for their URLs. For their international sites they use sub-domains. The canon.com site is their direct website only.
Lindt, like the other major international companies has multiple websites. The sites are largely the same but with variations in products and are obviously translated into the relevant languages. Lindt.com redirects to lindtusa.com and the German site has the .de extension for example.
What if your Domain is Taken?
As we mentioned before, when it comes to domain names, especially ‘.com’ a lot of names have already been taken.
There are a few ways your can get around this. First of all if you’re not 100% set on making your business name exactly like your domain name you can get a little creative. Try making the name into a phrase by adding a prefix or suffix onto it. For example, adding, ‘This is’, or ‘the real’ before hand. e.g . you might have a wine distribution called ‘Wine Warehouse’. A quick check using our domain checker show all the various TLDs are taken. However, for ‘The Real Wine Warehouse’, everyone is available.
If however you are set on making them exactly the same then you will likely have to use a different TLD, for example, ‘.co’, ‘.net’, or, ‘.us’.
Finally, if you can’t find one that’s available, do a search and find out who owns the domain name you really want and ask them if you can buy it off them.
Things to Remember
Choosing your domain name depends on a number of things, whether it’s a personal domain or a business domain. If it’s a business what kind is it? Are you thinking about international expansion?
Your domain can include keywords to help your SEO or it can be short and brandable like Spotify or Kodak. Considering other gTLDs is also really important. You can get one that’s relevant to your business, like .net, or relevant to location, like, .co.uk, or .de.
However, don’t purposely misspell words as people will find it difficult to pronounce. Also don’t use offensive language or double entendres, for example, PenIsland.com.
Do a bit of brainstorming and create a few captivating phrases. Try and imagine how you would visualize your brand too. Experiment with our Name Generator. Just enter a word or phrase and you’ll be provided with dozens of interesting suggestions and you can quickly and easily check their domain availability at the same time using the domain checker widget on the results page.