Think About Your Top Five Keywords
When you begin searching for a domain name, its helpful if you have in mind a set of terms and expressions that aptly describe your line of business. Once you have this list, you can start combining the words or adding prefixes and suffixes to come up with some good ideas for domain names. For example, if youre launching a domain related to mortgages, you could start with words like mortgage, finance, equity, interest, home, etc. and then play with them until you find something that fills the bill.
Make Your Address Mobile
Mobile devices drive 51.89% of internet traffic as of the second quarter of 2018.
Interestingly, that number has declined from its height in Q3 2017, but the fact remains:
At least half of the people using your domain address are going to be using a mobile device to get there.
Which means you need to think about all the autocorrect-victims of the world and make your domain as memorable and concise as you can for them.
Examples of easy, mobile-friendly domain names that come to mind are and Bing, respectively. Theyre short, simple, and everyone knows how to spell them.
Far less mobile-friendly examples include and the infamous Comic-Cons homepage.
Although both of these domain names hit the mark for memorable, they lose points for being an easy typo, and in Comic-Cons case, requiring users to switch between their digital keyboards to type.
So, when youre picking your domain name, try it out on your mobile phone first. How easy is it to type? If youre an expert-level phone typer, have someone a little less savvy try it out on your phone.
Now, lets change gears a little bit and talk SEO.
Domain Extensions: What You Need To Know To Get Your Suffix Right
Theres no doubt about it
Dot com is the undisputed king of domain extensions.
Since the internet took off, dot com is how the worlds described internet businesses.
Despite the burgeoning number of domain extensions on the market, .com remains the most recognized of all top-level-domains.
Its a great TLD for SEO too.
As we already pointed out, a memorable name is critical to a domains success.
And, the same applies to a domains suffix .
Im sure youll agree with me that .com is memorable, but what about gTLDs like .io and .biz?
Not so much.
Cognitive fluency dictates we should opt for a domain extension thats easy to remember.
Memorability ensures users will find your website when they go looking for it.
Because of that, I suggest that if the .com you want is available you should snatch it with both hands.
Its the most common and popular, but also the most expensive:
If the .com is unavailable or too expensive, I recommend you choose the .net.
There is however, one exception to this rule:
Choose a ccTLD if you target a specific country.
Country code top level domains are the single strongest way you can show users your content is focussed towards a certain country.
When you use a ccTLD, Google assumes your site is relevant to the geographic area targeted by the ccTLD:
- .co.uk United Kingdom
- .fm Federated States of Micronesia
These are some of ccTLDs that have become popular with tech companies in recent years.
I hope Ive made it clear
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Avoid Hyphens Numbers And Doubled Letters
Each of these elements is another hurdle for users to attempt to jump just to access your website. It’s not exactly intuitive to keep these characters in mind, and doubled letters can make the domain name messy and hard to read.
Not to mention, all of these elements are susceptible to becoming typos as users try to search the internet for your business website. If you’re sharing your website via word-of-mouth to clients, it’s also much harder to convey the domain name clearly when it is jumbled with hyphens, numbers, and the same letters back-to-back.
How To Choose A Tld
A TLD is the last bit of your URL address and it indicates the purpose of your website, as coordinated by ICANN.
In summary, there are three main types of TLDs:
- gTLD generic top-level domain
- sTLD sponsored top-level domain
- ccTLD country code top-level domain
A gTLD is the most common type of top-level domain that doesnt have any restrictions for registration. Good examples of gTLDs are:
Ideally, each type of gTLD should represent the purpose of your site. For example, .com should be used for commercial sites, while .org should be reserved for organizations only.
However, nowadays anyone can register their website using any of the gTLDs, no matter if it fits the purpose or not.
sTLDs are handled by private organizations. Meaning, you can only register an sTLD if you follow specific rules and have permission to do so.
Good examples of sTLDs include:
- .gov for government institutions only
- .edu for educational institutions
- .mil for the military organizations
The last type of top-level domain is ccTLD. These represent the location or country that the website or organization is based in.
Good examples of ccTLDs are:
- .us United States
- .ca Canada
- .fr France
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Has The Domain Been Previously Registered
Some domains have been previously registered.
This may or may not be an issue.
Since the old days of SEO and up to the present time, there is an issue with penalties that stick to a domain name.
What happens is that sometime in the past, a spammer used a domain, burned it causing the spammer to let it drop so that the domain becomes available again.
What sometimes happens is that when the next business registers that domain they will find it impossible to rank it for anything meaningful.
The site might pop into the bottom of the top ten once a month for a few days but then it drops back to the second, third page of the search results or worse, nowhere.
Before registering a domain, its wise to visit Archive.org where entering the domain name will show whether the domain has ever been registered.
If the domain has been registered, Archive.org will show an interactive timeline that can be clicked to view previous versions of the websites associated with that domain.
As I understand it, Google does not provide a way to remove a legacy penalty from a domain that received a penalty years earlier.
The Google Search Console will not report that there is a manual action.
So there is no way to submit a reconsideration request for a penalty that the Google Search Console does not acknowledge.
The first time I heard of this happening was to a newbie SEO professional around 2005 who couldnt figure out why his SEO site didnt rank.
How To Buy Your Domain Name
With everything checked off from the previous section, itstime to buy your domain name.
There are plenty of places to buy your domain name, but we recommend Namecheap.
Note: Many web hosts also offer domains, sometimes bundled as part of a first-year package. But for security and convenience, we recommend buying your domain name separately.
Head over to Namecheap and enter the domain you want. If .COM is available, you can register it straight away. If not, youll see a list of all the alternative gTLDs.
Consider buying theother extensions as well
You may want to consider buying the other TLD extensions, aswell as .COM, to avoid anyone setting up a competing site or misusing yourbrand name.
Consider buying themisspellings
Some people also buy the likely misspellings of their domain name and set up a redirect to the correct site. Thats precisely what Flickr.com did when they bought Flicker.com.
Set your domains torenew automatically
You usually register your domain name for 12 months. Towardsthe end of that period, you should get an email reminding you to renew yourdomain before anyone else nips in and steals it from you. But with Namecheap,you can set your domain name to renew automatically, so theres no chance ofyou forgetting.
Register yourcorresponding social media handles
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How To Register Your Domain Name
With over 370 million domain registrations as of September 2020 and a 3% year-over-year growth rate, you want to lock in your domain fast.
By using the Domain Name Generator, you can find and register a domain name in just a few clicks. This will save you time getting your store live, so you can start selling faster.
If youre not ready to register your domain name yet, thats OK. You can use an auto-generated free domain name: yourstore.myshopify.com. That way, you can design your Shopify store and buy the best domain name for you when youre ready.
Read more: The Essential Shopify Store Launch Checklist
How Many Is Enough
Theres no need to go crazy with how many domains you need. Usually one will suffice. Sometimes if the .com version is available taking that and your local country domain is a good idea. Different spelling or common mistakes also make sense, for example Forest Enterprises have the domains forestenterprises.co.nz and forestenterprise.co.nz.
Another reason for bagging additional domains is simply to stop your competitors using them. These domains dont have to be used and can just be registered and parked to prevent others using them.
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Create A List Of Alternative Domain Names
Unless you have an extremely unique business name, the chances of the domain name being available are slim. Before you begin your search, come up with a list of at least 10 other ideal domain names you can use. Again, words like The can make all the difference, as evidenced by domains like TheKnot.com.
- Avoid hyphens: Hyphens make your domain name harder to remember, and the harder it is to remember, the greater the chance that people will make mistakes while trying to find it.
- Avoid acronyms: Unless people know your business by an acronym , its best to stay clear of acronyms. Potential visitors are unlikely to find your domain name if you use a shortened version of your business name.
- Avoid double letters : Doubling up on letters increases the chances of your visitors typing in your name wrong. An example of this is All Learn, which uses the domain name All-Learn.org . In this case, using a hyphen actually makes their domain name easier to spell.
Pro tip: When thinking of names, consider how it looks in different languages. Sometimes, words in one language mean something completely different in another, and you want to avoid any chance of using an offensive wordespecially if youre trying to market internationally.
Clear The Legal Field Before Registering
Youve registered your domain namebut lo and behold, a few weeks later you receive a cease and desist letter from the law offices of someone who makes five times as much money as you every thirty seconds.
Its not a pretty picture, but its not an uncommon one, either. Making sure your potential domain name isnt trademarked is an absolute must if you want to avoid getting caught in unwanted litigation.
Fortunately, its pretty easy to check. For websites that will operate in the US, you can check for trademark status by searching the United States Patent and Trademark Offices website.
And when it comes to legal bases, it never hurts to cover them twice, right? Especially when faith can be a deciding factor in domain name case law, as Bloomberg discovered.
Other things to keep in mind when considering trademarks is consumer confusion. If your domain name could reasonably be confused with another domain it competes with then you could have a losing arbitration on your hands.
What about a website all about WordPress? Here is what the WordPress team has to say about it:
Simply put, dont take the risk.
Additionally, if your website will operate outside of the US, now or in the future, youll want to get familiar and check trademarks in those respective countries, as well.
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Creating A Brandable Domain Name
In this section, youll discover how to get inspired andcreate your brandable domain name. At this stage, its better to come up with ahandful of potential ideas.
#4 Choose a short name
Short names work best for several reasons. For starters,theyre easy to remember, spell, and type.
You only have to think of the most popular sites likeGoogle, Bing, Yahoo, Amazon, Apple, to realize there must be a logical reasonfor choosing a short domain name.
However, it might be challenging to come up with a one-wordname unless you create a new word.
#5 Make it catchy and memorable
Two-word combos work particularly well. Here are a fewexamples:
I think this comes down to the rhythm when you say the name.Try saying a few out loud, and youll see what I mean. And because it soundsgood, it sticks. Its catchy and memorable.
#6 Check your competitors
Its always worth checking what sort of name yourcompetitors are using. If you examine a niche or industry, youll see theyoften follow patterns.
For example, in the tech industry, theres TechRadar and TechCrunch. And in the beard grooming niche, youll find Beardbrand and Beardoholic.
Note: Did you notice those examples all happen to be two-word combos?
Try and get ten words down on paper. And if you wish, askyour friends and family to throw in a few ideas too.
#8 Try naming formulas
Over the years, Adam has managed a few websites with sometop names.
So how does he do it?
So Many Potential Domain Names
Theres a lot to think about when choosing a domain name. After all, its one of the first major decisions youll make when establishing your online presence. Putting some time and care into this selection can help set the stage for success down the road.
Fortunately, theres lots of information you can rely on to help you make your choice. Keeping your domain name short, pronounceable, and easy to remember will get you off to a strong start. Once you have a name in mind, you can follow our suggestions for choosing a registrar and getting a free domain with your web hosting provider.
Have you settled on the perfect domain name for your website? Get a free private domain registration when you sign up with DreamHost!
About the Author: Angelica Trujillo Toro
Businesses, start your engines! Angelica Trujillo Toro is passionate about helping online businesses launch and grow smoothly. Constantly on the lookout for website tips and tricks, she joined the DreamHost team in 2019 and is a driving force behind our international marketing efforts.
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