9 Tips for Choosing the Right Domain Name

Domain Name Scrabble

When you’re creating a website, choosing your domain name can feel really stressful. You want something that accurately represents you, your business, your industry/niche or all of the above. After all, you’re going to be stuck with it for a really long time.


Before you register your domain name, here is a list of things you should keep in mind and what to avoid.


1. Make it brandable and unique

When you say it out loud, does it sound like a real brand or generic? Your goal is to make the domain memorable and generic keyword strings are hard for people to recall. For example, if your business is desserts, does WorldsGreatestPies.com or DarnGoodPies.com sound better? I’m more partial to DarnGoodPies.com.

2. Easy to say, Easy to spell

It’s important that you can easily share your domain both when speaking and writing. You will come across instances where you’ll be sharing your domain in person. So it’s imperative that any listener can easily understand it and spell it.

3. Short and sweet

The shorter the better. This is for multiple reasons. The shorter it is, the easier it is to say, share, type, and the better it will perform on search engines. 15 characters is a pretty good length to aim for.

4. Just say no to hyphens

Never use domains with hyphens. They can be read as spam domains.

And remember that easy to say, easy to spell tip? Hyphenated domains are prone to typos, which means you’ll be missing out on valuable traffic. Also, imagine saying, “Make sure to visit my website! Its darn hyphen good hyphen pies dot com.” Awkward right?

no hyphens in domain name


5. Stick with using .com

Not .net, not .info, not .co or any of those other custom extensions like .CLE.

It can be tempting to be clever with your domain extension and you may think you’re setting yourself apart from your competition.

But these extensions are viewed them as untrustworthy and are prone to spelling errors.

Not only are .com extensions the most credible, but they’re the most memorable. Think about this, how many times do you automatically type in dot-com at the end of a domain? Most other users will do the same. If your website is JanesPies.yum, people might search JanesPies.yum.com and you’ve lost out on traffic and confused a customer.


6. If you use keywords, use broad keywords

Using a keyword rich domain name doesn’t carry as many positive associations and benefits as one might think. While they can play an important role in terms of SEO, Google tends to lean away from exact match keyword domains.

If you do use a keyword in your domain, I would suggest only using it if it helps make it obvious what you, your business or your blog is about.


7. Make sure your name is available on social media

Do a quick search on social media sites to make sure nobody else has your name, too! Using the same name on your website and social media pages reinforces your brand and makes it more memorable.


8. What if the domain you wanted to use is already taken?

It is very possible that you could come up with the perfect domain name and fallen in love with it only to find it’s already been taken. That’s okay. Be creative!
Crowdsource and ask other people for ideas.  Mix some words around. Go to thesaurus.com and see if there are similar words you can use. Do you have a tagline or nickname you use all the time?

Are you your own brand? Consider using your name.

Just avoid registering it if another person or company has the same name. You put yourself at risk for an infringement lawsuit. That’s no fun.


9. Leave room to expand

What I mean by this is don’t make your domain so niche you put yourself in a box. You never know how your business might expand. For example, a baker could choose the domain BestPieRecipes.com. But what if they want to start publishing about cakes and cookies, too? How would anyone know there are recipes other than pie on there?



Choosing the right domain can be stressful. But the process can be easier if you follow the tips outlined in this article.

  • Make it brandable and unique
  • Make sure it’s easy to say and easy to spell
  • Short and sweet
  • Avoid hyphens
  • Stick with using .com
  • Use broad keywords
  • Make sure it’s available on social media
  • Make sure it’s available period. You don’t want an infringement lawsuit.
  • If it’s not available, get creative.
  • Leave room to expand
Karen Leonard
February 14, 2017

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