Top 5 Things to Think About When Choosing a Domain Name

So you’re choosing a domain…

There’s a lot to think about when you’re choosing a domain name. If you Google it, you’ll see lots of do’s and don’ts and five point lists. Here’s another one! If you need more help choosing a domain or you’d like to know what to do next. Drop us a line!

1. Make it easy to say.

Your customers and visitors should be able to type and verbalise your domain name without difficulties. If it takes the whole elevator pitch to communicate the idea behind your domain, then it’s too complicated.

It should also be easy to spell and easy to type. Swapping words out for numbers, unusual spelling of words or even both makes your domain increasingly difficult to communicate. If your business name is Cats For Life and the domain you want is taken you should thorough consider any unexpected mods to your domain spelling.

  • cats4life.com – numbers substituting words sounds like “cats for life except the for is a four”
  • catsfrlyfe.com – unusual spelling of words “cats for life except the for has no ‘o’ and the life is ‘L. Y. F. E.'”
  • cats4lyfe.com – both “cats for life except the for is a four and the life is ‘L. Y. F. E.'”

You will say it to new and existing customers and we hope that those customers will say it to others. Don’t make it too hard for them or yourself!

2. Be Concise.

Similar to this title you want your domain to say what it needs to say but not anything more. Extremely long domains are hard to read, type and remember – something we don’t want to inflict on ourselves or our customers! Even though your website may sell amazingly creative hand made handbags your domain name doesn’t need to say all that.

3. Stick with .com, except when you don’t…

Almost 47% of all websites use a .com domain – it’s the one that is most well known, it SEOs well, it’s easy to say and spell. It’s the obvious choice but it’s not the only choice. The original domain extensions come with an element of trust and are often expected by people who aren’t as tech savvy. If ‘.com’ isn’t available and you really want that specific name you could consider choosing something known as a ccTLD – which is basically the extension of your country (eg. .com.au) – or a .net.

You may also have heard of some exciting new top level domain names. Everything from photography to Sydney has it’s own domain extension now – but are they right for you? Be prepared to do a little educating or even purchasing the standard .com and .photography versions of your domain if available. Over time these new domain identities will become more commonplace and people will start to view them in the same way that they do .com, until then though it will be a talking point.

Depending on your business it could be a good or a bad point of difference. There are no lists on the internet that can advise you whether this is a good choice for you and your website – that one is entirely up to you. If you’d like to discuss this further feel free to contact us directly and we can expand upon these ideas with your specific situation in mind.

4. Think about the future.

Eventually, we all hope that our businesses will expand and it’s important to keep this in mind when choosing your domain. Not only do you want your business name to encompass all the elements of your business you should also be sure that your use of it doesn’t impinge on someone else’s rights!

Make sure to check for registered trademarks, availability on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other social media channel that you may wish to use in the long run. Don’t forget to go back and register them once you’ve selected a domain name!

5. Don’t stress too much if your ‘perfect’ domain is taken.

Choosing the right domain name is clearly important but it isn’t as important as getting the idea behind your business or website right. The right idea combined with focus, determination, and time can overcome the ‘wrong’ domain name.

That’s fine, but what do you do then? You can walk one of three paths but those paths come with their own concerns.

1. Make a minor adjustment (eg. Different TLD – .cafe, .info, .rocks).

Awesome! You’ve found an idea that you’re passionate about and want to stick with. Things to consider here:

  • Who is using the other domains?
  • Are these other websites targeting that same markets that you are?
  • How well known is there website?
  • Would it damage your brand if there was confusion over which website was yours?
  • Have they already registered your name on any social media platforms you intend to use?

2. Buy it!

Great! It’s important to be invested in your ideas and to back yourself. You know when what you’re doing is working so believe it. Things to consider are:

  • This can be costly! $$$
  • The internet never forgets. So what used to live at that address? Services like the Wayback Machine record the changing states of websites over time.
  • If the name is already taken it may also be a registered trademark or brand – be wary of potential legal issues.
  • As above, if it’s taken you may find the previous owner had an active social media presence – this can cause customer confusing.

3. Move on.

It’s possible to feel defeated if your first (second, third, twentieth) idea doesn’t work. It’s important to remember that each time you go through the process of defining your ideas and your concept you’re a step closer to having exactly the right one. It might take hours, days or months but in the end you’ll get there. Only one thing to consider; don’t give up.

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