Choosing a domain name is a monumental decision. It is one of the most important decisions you will make. Not only can it dramatically impact the success of your website, it’s also a phrase you’re going to have to live with for a long time.
This is the hard part. It’s not very likely that the domain name you actually want is going to be available so it’s important to assemble a list of acceptable variations.
However, it’s not as simple as brainstorming a list of catchy names for websites. There are four essential factors you need to consider before you purchase that domain name.
When it comes to domains, there are five things you need to remember:
Choose a domain name that is intuitive and keyword-friendly.
Although it’s tempting to really dig in and think of a million catchy names for websites, it’s important to remember that this is a great opportunity to start building your SEO. To get an idea of popular keywords related to your niche, use Google Trends and Wordstream’s Free Keyword Tool.
For example, I wanted to focus on “low income” so I purchased LowIncomeRelief.com even though it wasn’t the name I initially wanted. Sometimes, you will need to compromise and find the balance between a strong, optimized domain name and a name you actually like.
Of course, Google has said for a while now that having a keyword in a domain name isn’t necessary. However, my experience has shown that it certainly doesn’t hurt.
Choose a domain name that is brandable (and bearable).
I know you’ve been itching to use those catchy names for websites that are rattling around in your head. Now’s your chance.
Work your keyword into something brandable. Remember that you’re going to be saying this name a lot to a lot of different people. It’ll be on your social media. It’ll be in your email signature. It may even be the name that pops up on your caller ID. Be sure to choose a name you can live with.
Always buy the .com domain extension even if it’s more expensive.
Although we live in the age of .everything, the .com extension is still considered the default. Generally, if you buy a domain with any other extension you will inevitably lose some traffic to the .com variant.
I recommend sticking with the trusty ol’ .com for several reasons.
First, if you can’t purchase the .com it’s because someone else already owns it. If you purchase a different extension, you may find your website encountering legal trouble if you are violating copyrights or trademarks.
Also, when you are verbally telling someone about your domain, you want them to be able to remember it and find it. Unfortunately, many people will still confuse mysuperawesomestudio.photography with mysuperawesomestudiophotography.com.
You should be able to score a .com for around $13 per year. If it costs more, it’s because someone has purchased it and is trying to resell it for profit. Keep searching until you find a relevant .com domain you can afford.
Make sure your domain name is easy to spell and remember.
Aim for something that is easy to remember and easy to type.
Imagine verbally telling someone about your website. Do you want to have to spell it out with dashes every time? What if they can’t write it down right at that moment? If you have to spell it out, you’re probably losing visitors.
Try to keep your domain name as short as possible without resorting to acronyms. Remember, you want people to be able to remember it in a conversation and type it in easily afterward!
Keep the keywords intact whenever possible but feel free to eliminate the stop words (such as and, or, but, of, the, a, etc) that Google filters out of searches automatically
Do not infringe on other people’s trademarks with your domain name!
To avoid trademark trouble, you can conduct a search on the US Patent and Trademark Office. You can also conduct a simple Google search to see if any related businesses pop up.