Choosing a domain name can quickly grow from a simple task, into an incredibly daunting decision. After all, it’s a big choice as this is where people are going to find you on the internet. You’re going to advertise this name all over social media and your marketing materials.
So, to help you choose we’re going to give you some tips on how to decide the perfect domain name for your business. By the end of this blog, you will know the following:
- What is a domain name?
- The do’s and dont’s of choosing a great domain name
- What to do if the domain name you want isn’t available?
So, what is a domain name?
Your domain name is where people go to find you on the internet, typically it’s your brand or business name.
For example, the domain name on our website here is “simpsonscreative.co.uk”. If we didn’t have domain names, we’d have to memorise a long string of numbers, also known as an IP address, just to be able to visit our favourite websites.
The domain name was created to make it easier to navigate between sites and remembering “simpsonscreative.co.uk” is a lot easier than “22.214.171.1249”. Your website does still have an IP address, but we don’t see them.
A Domain Name is Made Up Of 3 Parts:
- Machine Name also is known as ‘www’
- Mid-Level Domain or simply, Domain Name.
- Top-Level Domain or TLD. The TLD is the part at the end of our domain name, like .com or .co.uk etc.
The do’s and dont’s of choosing a great domain name
Use a Common Top-Level Domain
.com is still the most popular option for domain names, shortly followed by .co, but .net and .org (only used for non-profit organisations) are great options too. If your business is location-specific, then a country-specific TLD may be a good option, such as “co.uk” or “co.au”.
Make it Relatively Short, Memorable and Branded.
Ideally, you want your clients to visit your website without needing to click a link, as they know it off by heart! Do your best to keep it short and sweet, while keeping it branded to your business. For example, B&Q (a website most of the UK has tried to get on recently) is a well-known DIY store and their domain name is simply DIY.com.
Use Keywords When Appropriate
If you own a beauty salon, then it might make sense to have a domain name like “www.[yourname]beautysalon.com” but never feel obligated to use keywords in your domain name unless it fits with your brand. It won’t make a great deal of a difference to Google. The main benefit of using a keyword is that when someone does search for ‘beauty salon’, Google will highlight the term that was searched for in the search results. This isn’t a huge benefit, just something to know about.
Cram Your Domain Name with Keywords
Previously, packing your domain name with keywords would score well with Google in the SEO game. That time is over. Google cares about relevant, helpful and inspiring content, not about the most keyword specific domain name. Just because someone owns the domain name “www.bestkitchenever.com” doesn’t mean that they actually make the best kitchens ever.
Avoid Using Hyphens Where Possible
If your domain name is two words, for example, www.costacoffee.com you may want to separate the words with a hyphen for readability www.costa-coffee.com. But, keep in mind that the use of hyphens isn’t great to branding and decreases your domain name readability and memorability. For that reason, generally, no more than one hyphen should be used (if any must be used at all).
What To Do If Your Domain Name Isn’t Available
Don’t stress about it, although it’s important, don’t make it a huge, overwhelming decision. Choose what feels right for you and your business. It doesn’t need to be a time-consuming decision, brainstorm some ideas based on what’s available and then turn your attention to writing great content for your website.
A Few Examples…
So, you’re ready to buy a domain name, but what do you choose? Say your name is Tom and you own a coffee shop in London.
This is a great option! It’s short, easy to remember, and uses the word coffee, which relates to his business and shows relevancy.
This is another good one, your coffee shop is based in London so this will give a little hint to Google and help guide people who are looking for a coffee in London, to head to Tom’s shop.
This one could work, but it doesn’t say a whole lot about your brand. Unless you are calling the shop “The Best Coffee Shop” I would stick with a name that feels authentic and representative of who you are.
This feels a little like we’re trying to trick the system. Remember, keywords in your domain don’t matter. Your domain name should fit your brand and your story. Google knows this and you lose points when you try to play the system.
With these tips in mind, we would love to hear from all of you about your domain choices, or if you need any website help from us here at Simpsons Creative, please do not hesitate to get in touch.