Many people assume that the first step to starting a website is the design, however choosing the right domain during the early stages is equally important and quite often the hardest.
“What should my domain name be?” is a question we get asked a lot and the reason I thought it would be beneficial to write this guide covering some important things to consider:
Be Broad – You sell wedding cakes in London and you are excited at the fact that weddingcakeslondon.co.uk is available (it’s not, please don’t look!). This may be the perfect match for your business now, but what about in 2, 3 or 5 years when you make the decision to expand and start selling cupcakes? When picking the perfect domain for your business, think long term.
Keep it short – Short names are easy to remember and type. They are also a better fit on business cards and other offline marketing material.
Which extension? Our advice is always to start with .co.uk for UK based businesses or .com for US based businesses. After that, .org and .net provide additional options. We always advise our clients to avoid uncommon extensions like .name, .cc and .ws which are often deemed indicators of spam.
Be Memorable – Choosing a domain name that is unique, easy to remember and easy to type will not only provide visitors with something to associate your website with, but help you brand above the competition.
Use Keywords When Possible – Fitting your targeted keywords into your domain name is always a Brucy bonus. However, don’t lose sleep over it if you can’t. Never pick an awkward domain name just for the sake of squeezing in a word or two.
Don’t try to be clever – Forget about hard to spell, long winded and clever/complex words. That is unless you actually want to make it hard for people to remember your domain name?
Avoid Hyphens & Numbers – Hyphenated domains and those which include numbers often act as a spam indicator and detract credibility. They have very little branding value and could arguably affect any SEO campaigns you decide to undertake.
No Copying! – You’d be pretty annoyed if someone infringed on your successful and unique domain name right? Maybe even take their ass to court for copyright infringement? While copying someone else purposefully is plain stupidity, violating trademarks without even realising could be a major headache you simply don’t need. My advice – do your research before finalising your domain purchase.
Consider How It Looks – whoRepresents.com looks perfectly legitimate right? Now bear in mind that domain names use lower case letters only and you’re presented with something completely different!
Purchase The Whole Collection? This will be dependent on your type of business and what you are trying to achieve. While I’d recommend an ecommerce start up to purchase the whole collection .com/.net/.org & .co.uk, a solicitors firm in Manchester (UK) will be fine with just .co.uk. It’s important to note that you do not have to build a separate site for each domain extension, simply forward any additional domains to your primary website.
Where can I buy my domain?
There are hundreds of domain registrars where you can buy domains. The most popular are:
My first choice is not available what should I do?
Depending on the type of website you are building you could consider getting an alternative domain extension, for example swapping .com with .net or .org.
You could also consider adding a keyword explaining what your business does further. For example you run an interior design company called Studio Red, studiored.com isn’t available, so why not add the keywords interior design making studioredinteriordesign.com.
If you’re struggling to find a suitable alternative, you could consider approaching the current owner and making them an offer. Use who.is to find the owners contact details – I believe the saying is “if you don’t ask you don’t get”.
Still Need Help?
There are countless free domain name generators available online. They make it easy to mix and match keywords, provide some great suggestions based on similar domains you’ve entered and provide instant notification of availability.