Are you wondering how to go about creating a domain name? Are you searching for a unique name that reflects your business in modern times? One that will stand above the crowd?
Finding that perfect name will take a bit of research, but don’t forget the domain name extension or TLD. That’s another way to have your domain stand out and there are new ones being registered all the time.
A domain name is something you need to decide upon before you can start building your website. I know this can be a daunting process for some people, but don’t let it be. The choices are endless, and if your #1 choice isn’t available, just try a different TLD.
Let’s look at what TLDs are, then tips to make your choice of a domain name as painless as possible.
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What’s A TLD?
TLD stands for Top-Level Domain. Techopedia.com describes it like this:
“Top-level domain (TLD) refers to the last segment of a domain name or the part that follows immediately after the “dot” symbol. TLDs are mainly classified into two categories: generic TLDs and country-specific TLDs. Examples of some popular TLDs include .com, .org, .net, .gov, .biz and .edu.”
We’re all used to seeing .com, .net, .org, etc. But what about adding a different TLD for some extra pizzaz? There are more and more being launched every month. For instance, what if you are:
- writing a blog about children’s party ideas? Use .fun
- launching your own real estate business? How about .realestate
- raising money for your favourite organization? Try .charity
Most domain registrars will offer many extensions. Some more than others. After doing a search on TLD List, I found that well-known companies like Namecheap.com offer 470 different extensions. How will you decide? LOL
Just enter your business name in their search bar, and click the “search” button. You’ll notice it searches the bulk options. You’ll get a list of everything that’s available, filtered by interest.
I think these new TLD’s are fun but think about the long term. If you’re building a business that you want to start branding, then don’t be too silly. People won’t take you seriously.
Personally, I like these unique TLDs when it makes sense and is an extension of the domain name. For instance, in the baby bath niche, use something like BathTime.fun. Or if you have an e-commerce site for the home, consider HomeDecor.bargains.
How To Choose A Domain Name
Choosing your domain name is an important step because it’s a reflection of you and your business. It’s the “first impression” your visitors will see, so you want to make it a positive one.
Looking at some TLDs above may have given you some great ideas already, but if you’re still thinking, let’s look at some helpful tips.
#1. Shorter is Better
Short names are great because they are easier to remember, faster to type, and easier to read. And… they’re easier to fit on your business cards, caps, and t-shirts.
According to a study by Gaebler, size does matter! The more popular websites have shorter names. The top 50 websites have approximately 6 characters in their domain names.
Did you know that the longest domain to make it on the Most Popular Websites List is 63 characters long? Unfortunately, it’s no longer in service. But I did find one with 71 characters and it’s still operating, lol.
#2. Avoid Numbers and Hyphens
You were probably thinking this could make your name shorter, didn’t you? I’m sorry to tell you that it won’t work in your favour. Using numbers and hyphens actually, make them harder to type and harder to remember.
For instance, someone has heard about your website and tries to type it into the search bar. But your domain name has a number in it. Do they spell it out or just use the number? Did they remember to put in the hyphen? Probably not!
People are notoriously impatient, and if they can’t find your website in the first couple tries, they’ll most likely move on.
So unless you are extremely well branded, like this… coca-colacompany.com, you should stay away from anything that can confuse your visitors
#3. Make It Easy To Type
Just as numbers and hyphens can be confusing, so can the use of slang or words with multiple spellings. For instance, using the letter “u” instead of writing out “you”, or using “donut” (doughnut), or “grey” (gray).
Another no-no is trying to be clever and purposely misspelling words. Let’s say you’ve created the best carrot cake ever! So you decide to call your new business KarrotCake. Yes, it’s clever if written on business cards, but if someone is trying to find you online, they will almost definitely type in CarrotCake, and never find you.
A good way to test any name is to have a friend type it out after hearing it. Did they get it right, with ease? If not, you should go back to the drawing board.
#4. Use Keywords
Try using keywords that describe what your business does. This will make much more sense to your customers and will help you rank on Google.
Think about what people would type in the search bar to find your products or services. Do you offer house painting services? How about HousePainting.com or HousePainting.solutions.
#5. Easy to Pronounce
Is your choice of names easy to pronounce? If you’d like your visitors to share your business by word of mouth, then make sure it’s easy to pass on.
Play the telephone game and round up 10 friends. Whisper your domain name in the first person’s ear. Have each person pass it on to the next and see what the last person hears. Is it right?
#6. Don’t Box Yourself In. Think Long-Term
Think of the person who chose the name CarrotCake, above. This is fine if you never intend to branch out because that name boxes you into a corner and limits your growth.
Now, what if you develop the best tasting cheesecake, and decide your business needs to expand? You’ll need to get extremely creative to attract customers to your cheesecakes when your business name is CarrotCake.
When you’ve chosen the niche you want to build your business around, consider what you want to do with it in the future. It’s great to start with a smaller, more focused niche. But as your business grows and has a sizable following, you’ll probably want to build it out to include other products or services.
You are essentially married to your domain name, lol. So don’t box yourself in with a limited name. Changing your name down the road is costly and painful.
#7. Check Availability on Social Media
Most businesses will have a presence on social media, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. It’s a great way to attract more visitors to your social media promotions.
This isn’t always possible, but if you could find your name still available on social media sites, you’ve ensured your visitors can find you there as well.
Knowem.com is a great place to check if your name is available on over 500 social networks. I tried CarrotCake to give you an idea. The results in the “most popular” search are in the picture below.
#8. Is It Brandable?
We all want our businesses to be memorable because it’s easier to promote. So instead of using something generic, think of words that are unique and catchy. It’s much easier to brand a name that stands out from your competition.
The use of a thesaurus can be really helpful here. Or make up a new name. That’s what “Google”, “Bing” and “Yahoo” did. Remember though, any new word still needs to be easy to pronounce and spell.
#9. Are You Global or Local?
Do you offer products or services worldwide, or are you strictly a local business. If you’re global, but live in New York, don’t put your location in your name. You might like it, but your customers probably don’t care where you live. Now, if your business only services your local area, then go for it!
This also applies to TLDs. A global business would benefit from .com or .net, whereas a regional business that only serves their country, for instance, would benefit from .ca, or .eu.
#10. Use Your Own Name
Do you plan on starting a personal blog or podcast? Then consider using your own name. This can be a great strategy, because someday when you make it BIG, you’ll be glad you did.
Think about all the celebrities out there, who buy up every domain name available whenever they have a child. I’m sure they purchase all the name possibilities before they announce the baby’s name so that no one can take advantage of it.
#11. Don’t Be Cheap
For the most part, we can find the name we want for a reasonable price. But sometimes, that perfect name choice is only available in .net. The .com is for sale for $1500, but you decide it’s too expensive.
Two years later your business explodes, and your product is everywhere. You’re comfortable enough to want to purchase the .com, but now it’s $14,500. What??
This is what happened. Loads of people have been typing in .com when they were searching for you online. That’s because it’s the first thing people think about. But now, the web page with the .com domain name has gotten so many “hits”, that the price spiked. I doubt the owner will let it go for $1500. That was an expensive lesson!
For fun, I went to GoDaddy to find carrotcake.com. It wasn’t available. I could choose to buy their “Domain Buy Service” for $101.99 CA, to have them try to negotiate a price with the current owner. If they succeed, they make 20% of the sale price.
I then checked on the current value of the domain name through Godaddy’s appraisal tool. Wow!
This is why people buy up domain names and just let them sit to increase in value. When I searched the name on Google, there was no website. Just a page saying it was for sale. Hmm… new business idea? LOL
#12. Do Your Research
Always check to make sure your name choice is not trademarked, copyrighted, or used by another company. The last thing you want is a legal battle that could cost you a fortune.
If you go back to Knowem.com, you can enter your name and search under Trademarks. I checked “CarrotCake” again, and the results were fine. No one has trademarked it.
Something else to consider is a domain name’s history. The last thing you want to use is a name that’s been linked to any illegal or immoral activity and was banned online. To check if this domain name has ever been banned by Google, use:
#13. Use A Domain Name Generator
OK, so you’ve come up with some names, but they’re all taken or too expensive. You need some fresh ideas. Did you know there are such tools as Domain Name Generators? Here are a few for you to try:
- Name Mesh – This site spits out everything from a 6 million word database, and all available TLDs. It will mix things up, make them fun, or preserve your SEO keywords. I spent way too much time here, haha.
- Lean Domain Search – Enter your keyword or the term you want to build around, and this site will bring up a HUGE list of ideas. Using carrot cake as my keyword, it brought up 4,974 available .com domains. Put the coffee on!
- Instant Domain Search – Here, you can see everything that’s available by generator names, extensions, what’s for sale, and what’s expired. If you find something you like for sale, make an offer!
#14. Protect Your Brand
Have you already trademarked your business name or slogan? Hopefully, you’ve secured the matching domain name as well. The last thing you need is some sketchy person using a domain name of a product you’ve already trademarked.
So always remember to secure any and all domain names for anything you wish to trademark before someone else gets it! This might mean various TLD extensions, misspelled versions, and anything else that could keep your visitors from being directed to your website.
For those of you who prefer videos, here’s one from GoDaddy explaining some of the things we just talked about…
I hope all these tips and suggestions are helpful to you. Finding the right name can significantly impact the success of your business, so you want to put careful thought into it.
Using the tips above should help prevent the mistakes that so many new entrepreneurs make. It may take a little more time, but in the long run, you’ll be much happier.
If you are new to the online marketing industry, then the most important things to consider before registering your domain name are:
- Shorter is Better
- Avoid Numbers and Hyphens
- Make It Easy To Type
- Use Keywords
- Easy to Pronounce
- Don’t Box Yourself In. Think Long-Term
- Check Availability on Social Media
- Is It Brandable?
- Are You Global or Local?
- Use Your Own Name
- Don’t Be Cheap
- Do Your Research
- Use A Domain Name Generator
- Protect Your Brand
And don’t be afraid to invest a little if the name is perfect.
If you’re looking for a domain name, you’re wanting to build a website. And if you’re building a website, your new career is just starting. Do you have a plan? Do you know the techniques and strategies that are needed to become successful online?
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I’m so pleased I could help you choose the perfect name for your new business. Have you thought of any ideas yet? Would you like some additional help?
If so, please leave your question or comment below, and I’ll get right back to you.
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