What makes a good domain name and how to choose a domain name that is going to help your website be successful?
As competition increases in the online space, your domain name becomes more important – it is your first impression to the world.
Potential customers may actually turn away from your entire site if your website name is difficult to remember or type in!
If you are going to be starting a blog or building a website for personal or business use this article is a great place to start.
Here is what you need to know about how to pick a domain name.
What’s a Domain?
A domain is what Internet users type into their browsers to find your website. It is the same as your home address.
The process of choosing a domain basically means picking an address that makes your house is easier to find, which improves your business prospects.
Any domain name tips that you consider should make your domain name shorter, simpler and more relevant to your audience. But how to choose a domain name that is going to help make your site successful is the real question.
How to Select a Domain Name
Ideally, you want a domain name that is easy to remember and relevant to your brand or product.
If you are running short on ideas, you can use a domain name generator to help. Many free generators online will let you input your idea and give you domain names based on optimized synonyms and buzzwords surrounding that industry.
The number one rule in how to name a website is to keep your domain name as short as possible.
Most experts agree that 19 characters is the absolute maximum domain name length to consider. However, 14 characters or shorter is optimal.
In general, you should stay away from special characters when selecting a website name. People find those kinds of names rather difficult to type in, especially if they are using a virtual keyboard on a mobile device.
Adam Lang from Rewind & Capture has put together a fantastic resource for people or companies who need to come up with a successful brand name. I recommend taking a look at his naming guide and if you have a chance you can learn more about how some of the top tech brands in the world came up with their brand names.
Checking the Availability of a Domain Name
Depending on the domain name generator you choose, you may or may not have to separately check to see If that actual name is available. Because all domain names are regulated by a single governing body, it is not possible to pick a domain name that is already in use.
You can check the availability of a domain name by going to any accredited web hosting site. Because records for domain names are centralized, all of the hosting sites will have the same records. Alternatively, you can see if the domain you want is available my going to NameCheap.com.
If a domain name is already taken, you can contact the current owner to see if he is willing to sell it. You can also wait until the license on the domain name expires and attempt to pick it up if the owner does not renew.
Using Keywords in Domain Names
If at all possible, use relevant keywords in your domain name. The URL that you choose is the number one bookmark to signal to search engines how to index your site.
For instance, if you are selling cat food on your website, “catfood.com” would be a very effective domain name. It contains a high ranking keyword that is relevant to your product, so it is likely your site will rank higher in Google, Yahoo and Bing.
If you can get an especially high ranking keyword, you may be able to get away with certain special characters in your domain name. In the above domain name example, “cat-food.com” would probably be just as effective as “catfood.com” because the relevance of the terms is so high.
Selecting Your Domain Suffix
The suffix in a domain name is the portion after the “.” that follows the main string.
Examples of domain name suffixes that you are probably familiar with include .com, .org, .net, .us, .gov, .edu, and .io.
The suffix explains the general nature of the website.
For instance, only government websites may use the .gov suffix. Only educational institutions can use the .edu suffix. The .com suffix is a shortened version of the word “commercial” and usually represents a private business. This is the most common suffix used on the Internet today. The suffix .org usually represents an organization that is either fully nonprofit or has a nonprofit arm.
If you are having trouble getting a domain name with a main string that you like, you may be able to keep that mainstreaming if you change the suffix.
For instance, catfood.com is a completely different website from catfood.net. If catfood.com is taken, you can still conduct a search for catfood.net and possibly obtain the domain name.
Pick a Domain Name That is Easy to Remember
You may not be able to choose a domain name with obvious benefits such as catfood.com. If this is the case, you will have to be a bit more resourceful in your search.
Your goal is still to choose a domain name that is short, relevant and easy for a potential customer or site visitor to remember. You can start by looking up synonyms of your main keywords using a keyword search tool. This will give you long lists of words that search engines consider relevant to your industry. You may be able to drill down into these lists depending on your industry niche.
How to Choose a Domain Name: The “Superword”
One of the most effective techniques of choosing a URL is to combine short keywords into one long “superword” that has not been thought of before. The string is called a superword because you will be combining all of the separate words together into the URL without spaces between them.
Search engines can still tell the word separately from each other, so you can still rank quite highly for each individual keyword.
Hopefully, you are have decided to use WordPress to create your site because WordPress has plugins that make SEO really easy.
An example of a superword URL might be “chickenpureecatfood.com.” The term “chicken puree” might be a relevant term for the pet food industry, because many pet owners value natural ingredients in the food.
Putting all of these words together gives you a better chance of obtaining a URL that has not already been taken. However, you lose no relevance in search results. Additionally, you draw the interest of cat owners with a penchant for chicken purée food for their pets.
Domain Naming: The Bottom Line
In general, picking a domain name is all about helping your customer find you.
Keep your name as short as possible. Try to choose relevant terms that correspond to the interests of your target audience and keywords within your industry.
If the domain name that you want is not available with a certain suffix, look for alternative suffixes.
Finally, stay abreast of the tricks you can use to keep your URL short and sweet while navigating around your competition for the best URL, including combining keywords into a superword that is fun and easy to remember.
Although the online landscape is always changing, the basic rules of selecting the best domain names will stay the same.
Follow the tips above for how to pick a website name that will help your website rank well in organic searches and appeal to your target audience.
Make sure to conduct the proper research into your audience so that you can hone in on the experience they are looking for, even for something as simple as a URL!