Having the right domain name is an important part of your businesses identity and with so many websites out there, it is getting more challenging to find the right domain name. When it comes to choosing a domain name, there are a few simple rules that you ideally want to stick to:
Rule 1: Keep it short!
Ideally you want your domain name to have either one or two words or if you choose three words you have to make sure that they are short words, you also really want your domain name to be less than 15 characters long. Longer domain names, especially those with multiple words are more likely to be forgotten.
Rule 2: Keep it Simple
Even short names can be a confusing and hard to remember, especially when the person or business has created a ‘new’ word for their brand. If you are creating a new word you want it to simple and memorable in the way that the likes of Google and Uber did, they are words that roll of the tongue. If you find that people are struggling to pronounce the website name, that is not a good indication!
Rule 3: Don’t Hyphenate
I see lots of companies do this one, obviously the name they wanted was already taken so they opted for the hyphenated version, there are two really big downsides to this. Number 1 is, like with long names your visitors will 99 times out of 100 forget to put the hyphen in and Number 2, if they forget to put the hyphen in then they will be going to someone else’s website and you will end up losing a large number of your potential visitors and if the domain name without the hyphen is parked (owned by someone but not being used) then these visitors might think that you are no longer in business!
Rule 4: Don’t go with obscure suffixes
We have been conditioned since we started using the internet to use suffixes like .com and .co.uk and to a degree .org and .net. So stick with one of those when choosing your domain name, ideally you want to get the .com and .co.uk, especially if you are here in the UK so that no matter which one your visitors type, they will still end up on your site. Don’t go with things like .london, .business or .online as people will just not remember it, definitely avoid going for .co as well as people will always type .com or .co.uk just out of habit.
Rule 5: Try variations
My rule of thumb is if the .com and .co.uk are taken, then I move onto a different variation of the name. Sometimes this can be things like abbreviation, this can also be really useful if you have a long business. For example Jones, Hopkins and Smith Management Consultants would be way to much for a domain name but jhsconsultants is short, not as likely to be taken and much easier to remember. Get creative but make sure that the domain name still fits with the business.
Now you might be thinking, how am I ever going to come up with a domain name while following all these rules, especially if you are just starting out? Well it may take you a little time but it will be worth it in the end and when you do have an idea, test it out on family and friends, they will usually tell you pretty quickly what they think of it or alternatively test it out on facebook groups or reddit threads. Now not everyone is going to like it, that’s life unfortunately but if you get more positive than bad then it might be worth pursuing.