There are a few simple rules to follow when choosing the right website domain name. Make sure yours stands out and snares the views you’re after.
Selecting a website domain name is something you’ll need to do pretty early on if you want to have a website for your business (and you DO want to have a website for your business–see our blog on exactly that topic). If you’ve decided on simply using your own name for your business, check to see if that’s available and use it.
If your business name is something other than your own name and is available (and affordable), great. If not, read on. The following simple suggestions will ensure your website name pops and will be discovered by those who are looking.
A word on website domain extensions
The first thing you’ll want to consider is how your website domain name ends. When you see a website that ends in .biz or .cn (or .pizza—seriously), how much do you trust it? As we all know, the gold standard is .com. While other endings can be and are legit, there’s something that often seems a little sketchy when you run across them.
Most businesses will also snap up .net and .org for themselves to avoid another business piggybacking off of them, though neither have the same authority as .com.
Keep It Simple, Stupid! This acronym was coined by the US Navy in the sixties, and, as lame as it may seem, it’s actually really good advice. Keeping your website domain name simple is a good idea for several reasons, not least of all you want it to be easy to remember. The shorter and simpler it is, the easier it will be to input into a browser with fewer typos and redirects. It will just be all around easier to remember with our shortening attention spans.
You also want to make sure it’s easy to pronounce. Seems like a silly thing but a University of Nevada, Reno study shows that people will shy away from difficult pronunciations. This also goes back to the being easy to remember part–the harder it is to pronounce, the harder it is to recall. It’s also difficult to recommend to anyone if you can’t communicate the actual name.
Mind your characters
As much as we love Prince and his spelling quirks, you should refrain from using numbers and modern text abbreviations (yes, I’m speaking 2 u, lol). Besides the fact that it’s going to be more difficult to remember for a potential client, it also looks less professional.
Build in that SEO
If at all possible (without getting too heavy-handed), you should try to get a keyword/keywords rolled into the name. It will help your search rankings and put you in front of others that are offering the same or similar services. Use keywords that have less competition, or your website will be relegated way down in the rankings.
Stay on-brand, and don’t get too clever
While it’s fun to use wordplay and puns, it will likely just make your website more difficult to find and remember. If possible, relate the name to what you do or offer, and be straightforward.
Research your website domain name to make sure you’re not stepping on anyone’s toes, or more specifically, not infringing on anyone’s copyrights. Besides the fact that that can land you in some litigation trouble, you’ll likely get either the wrong kind of traffic or traffic headed for you ends up elsewhere. Imagine the website domain name Sparbucks or MackDonalds. You get the picture.
Matthew Ogden is a Minneapolis-based copywriter and content writer and editor. He’s written for national retailers and lobster roll companies alike. When not writing he can be found nose deep in a book, writing and performing music, or nerding out about guitar tone.