The beginner’s guide to choosing the perfect domain name
A domain name is a lifeline to your business and a fundamental part of your online profile. Rushing in and picking any old domain won’t do your business any favours, taking the time to ensure your domain name fits your business to a tee and engages with your audience is the key to choosing the perfect domain name.
So, how does one choose the perfect domain name I hear you ask? I’ve pulled together little nuggets of domain name gold to create a dummies guide for choosing a domain name that will work perfectly for your brand.
1. Choose “.com” or country-specific domain
A top-level domain (TLD) is the last part of a domain name – they are the letters directly after the final dot in the internet address. It’s key to go with the most recognised TLD in the world which is “.com”, however, if your name isn’t available there are plenty of great options such as .com.au, .net and .co that will shout your message loud and clear to your target audience online. Check out SiteGround to find out what domain name options are available.
2. Make your domain short and sweet
Ain’t nobody got time for a super long and possibly forgettable domain that could be difficult to spell and recall. Make your domain name short, sweet and memorable. Aim to choose just 2 or 3 words that best describe your business and your brand message. Keeping your name short will help customers remember your domain name and smartphone users to search your name while they’re out and about.
3. Say no to (some) abbreviations in your domain
Anyone choosing to use abbreviations like 4U, 2U or gr8 in their domain name is setting themselves up for failure. These cutesy ways of abbreviating words don’t help potential customers remember your domain name and if they’re heard and not read the listener could be really confused about how to spell the domain. So do yourself a favour and avoid using abbreviations or unusual spellings of words that customers or potential leads could easily misspell.
I’m hesitant to say all abbreviations are bad. In some cases they might be necessary. For example, I recently had a client who’s business name is Brisbane Height Safety Certifications. The logical domain name for this business would have been brisbaneheightsafetycertifications.com.au, but man that’s one heck of a mouthful! As bhsc.com.au was already taken we decided on bhscertifications.com.au for their domain name. This made it a lot easier to say over the phone or on radio and for leads to understand. It also made it significantly shorter in length meaning less possibility of being misspelt and easier to fit on flyers, business cards, etc.
4. Avoid awkward domain strings
When you are choosing your domain name ensure the words look legible together and are not embarrassing to your business. The last thing you want is an embarrassing domain name out there like Pen Island: “www.penisland.net” (*giggles*) or for the art lovers out there Speed of Art – “www.speedofart.com”. Before you register your domain name make sure that you review your final selection and make sure it’s legible and not embarrassing!
5. Sound like a brand
Your goal is for potential customers to look at your domain name and understand what your business is offering and what your website will be about. Consider the domain name as a label for your brand and ensure you’re stepping out with a professional digital footprint.
6. Make it memorable
A good domain name has to be easy for a customer to recall. Domain names that are easy to remember are usually short, represent the brand, and avoid hyphens, numbers or words that are easily misspelled.
7. Check for copyright
Ensure that the domain name that you have chosen is not going to step on anyone’s toes. Are there any trademark issues that may pop up or any past businesses that used the domain name or something similar that will bring negativity to your business. A quick check on AusRegistry will guarantee that your domain name is squeaky clean and ready to use.
The Wrap Up
These are the key things I consider when choosing a domain for either myself or my clients:
- Choose “.com” or a country-specific domain extension
- Make your domain short and sweet and ensure it isn’t easily misspelt
- Say no to cutesy abbreviations in your domain
- Avoid awkward domain strings (Here’s another I found… whorepresents.com 😂)
- Ensure it sounds like and represents your brand and isn’t misleading
- Make it memorable
- Check for copyright
I really hope you’ve found this short guide useful. If you have any questions, comments, or just wanna say ‘hey’, leave me a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!
About the author
Hola! I'm Emma. I'm a freelance graphic designer and web designer at Hola Websites, founder of a little non-profit named By Faith Design Co, and a freelance design mentor. I'm also currently creating a course on how to build websites. In my spare time I love writing about my freelance life, creating pretty things and hanging out with my fur-baby.
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