Choosing a great domain name for your business is one of the most challenging parts of taking your business online. It can be so frustrating to pick the perfect business name and then find out you can’t get the domain name to match. OR you end up with something that just doesn’t make sense or - horror of horrors - you purchase a .net or .co because you don’t know … what you don’t know!
There are several reasons it may be time to tackle finding a domain name. Maybe you’re starting a new business and checking your options for the website you know you will need at some point. Or it could be time to rebrand your company and you’re looking for the perfect new name. You may want to expand your business offerings and your current domain does not represent all that is ahead. You know you need to choose...but how do you choose without driving yourself crazy?!?!
Here are 5 easy tips that will help you choose the right domain name without losing your mind.
Use .com- Resist the lure of the other domains extensions (like .co, .net, etc). .Com is still the preferred Top Level Domain (TLD) by most internet users and it’s the default extension your prospect will use. It’s what they will type in first by habit. .Com is familiar and familiarity speaks to our cognitive fluency.
Cognitive Fluency is defined as the ease in which we process information and are able to understand what that information means. By using the principles of cognitive fluency we can select a domain that will work with our business and be easy for our prospects to remember.
It Should be Brandable - Make it simple, short, easy to spell AND easy to say. No numbers and no hyphens. Your URL will be part of your brand online so make sure when you see or hear your domain, it sounds like a brand.
For example: - cupcakes-shop.com is a domain that does not represent a brand. It sounds common and strange. The hyphen is hard to explain and even if you took it out you would still have to explain the plural of cupcakes. Cupcakepalooza.com would be fun but it’s hard to spell and mistakes will happen when typing this domain meaning your customers won’t find you. CupcakeSprinkles.com is a great domain. It says what the business is. It is brandable because think of all the fun you can have with the word “sprinkles.” It’s also memorable and it will stand out!
Avoid obscure terms, industry terms or terms strung together. Unless your market or product is very niche specific, avoid using industry terms or uncommon terms. You want your domain to be easy to remember so the more memorable you can be, the better.
For example: kuhpkeykjimmies , while clever and creative from a usage standpoint, would not be considered a good domain name. Kuhpkeyk is the phonetic spelling of cupcake and jimmies is a slang term for sprinkles. Kuhpkeyk is very difficult to remember - much less spell (see Tip # 2.) Very few of us have heard or are aware of the word “jimmies” for sprinkles. Overall - not even close to a great choice for domain name. We are back to cupcakesprinkles.com!
Don’t overthink it and be ready to purchase. So much angst over a domain name! Yes… in an ideal world - or maybe 20 years ago - the perfect domain name was an easy acquisition. But now businesses are getting creative. Add a “the” or “a” in front of the name. Use a thesaurus and look up similar words. Add keywords to expand the domain if necessary. Ask your tribe for help!
Once you’ve created a list of a couple of choices, be prepared to purchase the domain. Searches can activate spider bots that will grab and purchase your domain and resell it to you at a higher price. Domains are inexpensive so purchase it for a year if you aren’t sure. Set the auto renew to “no” and make the decision to purchase. You don’t actually have to use the domain until you are ready to build an online presence with your website. (Or you can forward it to an existing website/URL if needed.)
Make sure it’s available in other areas. Do a full search of state and federal agencies to make sure the domain is not trademarked. This step is especially important if you are going to use this as your business name as well.
Make use of the site https://knowem.com. This site does a search for your domain as a username on most of the prominent social media sites. Using the same name on all your social media as well as your domain and business name will solidify your branding.
Bonus Tip -
Do you know the difference in a domain name and a URL? A domain is the name of your website plus “.com (extension)” - cupcakesprinkles.com A URL is the full address of the domain with the http or https. https://cupcakesprinkles.com Now you know!
As the tips above show, sometimes you just have to get creative with your domain. There is no longer a “perfect” domain only one that is right for right now. The bottom line, now that you know the 5 tips above, an imperfect domain will not break your business or cause you to lose customers. Domains can be changed. It is far better to choose one that is not exactly right than to spend hours, months or even years debating over domain names and not moving forward with your new business. Just START!