Domain names are the Internet equivalent of real-world property. They represent your business and brand; they’re often the first taste consumers will get of you. Choosing the right one is essential to help you build authority and create a valuable online presence for your business.
Shorter is often better
For most businesses a shorter domain name is better. Not only is it more easily recognisable but also easier to remember, something that will prove highly beneficial once you start advertising. Shorter domain names also look more professional and are more easily brandable. You may have to pay a premium price for a shorter domain name but this can often be worth the extra cost.
Make it unique
One unfortunate side-effect of the explosive growth of online activity is that most desirable domain names were snapped up long ago. This makes it increasingly hard to both get a unique, identifiable domain name and also to stand out amongst the sea of similar names. Do your best to find a domain name that’s unique, but be wary of quirky names that require substantial branding. Companies that make these work often have huge marketing budgets.
Use common suffixes
Choose a .com domain unless you have a reason to do differently. Online users will generally default to this suffix if they don’t know which one you use. If you’re a non-profit then choose .org, and if you do business exclusively in the UK you may wish to use .co.uk but it’s not essential. To cover all bases, considering buying your domain name will multiple suffixes which you can then forward to the .com variant. This helps both maximise your online coverage and ensure that those who want to find you can do so more easily.
Avoid unorthodox spellings
Deliberate misspellings may sound good but they create confusion, and go against natural human behaviour. This can make it difficult to get visitors to your site, particularly if you pass on your website to new clients phonetically. Ambiguity when it comes to domain names is not recommended; be as clear as possible to avoid confusion and ensure the maximum amount of people can find your website.
Consider how your domain name looks when it’s written down, and whether the space breaks are obvious. Take the spaces out of a sentence and the individual words may not be automatically clear; in some phrases it can be broke in more than one place. Also, domain names where the last letter of the first word and the first letter of the second are the same are often thought of as unattractive. Either choose another domain name or use hyphens.
Keywords are common words or phrases that online users type into search engines in order to find relevant information. Someone looking to buy tennis equipment online may type in ‘tennis equipment for sale.’ Consider including keywords in your domain name in order to increase the chance of relevant traffic coming to your site. For more information on keywords please see our guide to search engine optimisation.