When considering a domain name, you should remember that your domain represents your business’s brand and online identity. You’ll be using it in your email communications, on your social media posts, for digital ads and more. In fact, you’ll share your domain name any time you want someone to visit your website and learn more about your business.
Because your domain is so visible, it is absolutely critical that you get it right. Of course, you do have the option to change your domain name if you find that it doesn’t work for you, but you will risk losing the essence of your online identity, as well as your SEO advantage.
Therefore, it is imperative that you spend as much time and effort as you need to find a domain name that will stand the test of time for years to come. Here are five tips you should consider before you register your domain:
1. Find a Brandable Name
Your domain name is what your users will use to find you online. In order to beat your competition and pique the interest of your potential customers, you need a name that is unique and memorable.
- Steer clear of names that are too generic and may get lost in the crowd.
- Avoid peculiar or cryptic names which could be misleading.
- Find the right domain extension that highlights your industry.
There are over 1,200 new domain extensions that you can use to add context and meaning to your domain names. You can pair them with your brand name to not only highlight your brand but also to better communicate what your business is about.
New domain extensions range from industry-specific ones such as .TECH (for a technology-related company), .STORE (for eCommerce and retail) and .PRESS (for a news or media company), to more versatile ones such as .SITE and .ONLINE.
Since they are relatively new, they offer a better chance of acquiring a domain name that is among your top preferences.
2. Use Relevant Keywords
Using keywords related to your industry can make it easier for people to find you. It also boosts SEO and lends more authenticity to your backlinks, which can greatly improve your Search Engine Page Results (SERP) rankings and send more organic traffic to your website.
However, don’t go overboard by cramming too many keywords into your domain name. Not only does that make your domain name unnecessarily long but it also makes it seem suspicious to search engines and users.
New domain extensions help you keep your domain name concise and keyword-rich at the same time. For instance, if you are selling vegan clothing online, you can opt for something along the lines of www.wearvegan.store.
3. Keep It Short and Simple
Long domain names are hard to remember, even harder to type and prone to being misspelled. All of these are basic yet vital issues that you must avoid when trying to promote your business online. Here are a few pointers you should keep in mind:
- Keep the length of your domain name between two to three words or not more than 18 characters.
- Avoid modifying the spellings of words as that might confuse users when they are typing your domain name. For instance, u instead of you, hcks instead of hacks, tek instead of tech, and so on.
- Avoid using numbers (1, 2, 3…) and special characters such as hyphens (-) in your domain name.
4. Make It Pass the Radio Test
The Internet is not the only place where you will use your domain name. There will be instances where you or someone else (let’s say, your existing customer talking about your company to a potential customer) will have to communicate it verbally. Moreover, with the soaring popularity of voice searches, you will need a domain name that is also voice-search-optimized.
To ensure that your domain name is easy to communicate across all channels, you should put it through the radio test. The radio test involves checking how accurately people are able to remember something after hearing it only once.
You can test out your domain name with your friends or family by saying it to them once and then asking them to type it. If you find people struggling to remember it or misspelling it, you may want to reconsider your choice.
5. Check for Copyright Issues
As a business, the last thing you want is to get embroiled in a legal battle over your domain name. Not only will this cost you a lot of money, but you may also lose your domain name and risk damaging your reputation. Before registering anything, make sure you have done enough research to ascertain that the name of your choice has not been used before and is free of any copyright issues.
When picking a domain name, you also want to try to be consistent with the names that represent your business on different platforms. This means that your brand name, domain name, offline store/business name, and social media handles should ideally be the same or as similar to each other as possible. Maintaining this consistency allows people to easily recognize your brand when they see it, no matter where they are coming across it.
While you check whether your preferred domain name has not been previously trademarked, you may also want to see if it’s available for use on social media. Websites such as KnowEm allow you to search for your name across domain registries, social media pages and the USPTO Trademark Database.
Don’t get disheartened if you’re hitting roadblocks while finding the perfect domain name. The important thing is that you cover all your bases before you go out and register your domain name, from steering clear of legal issues to considering the name’s brandability.
Having said that, when you do find the right domain name, go ahead and register it as soon as possible. Always remember that there will be others with ideas similar to yours.