8 tips for the perfect domain name
Posted on 21st November 2018
5 min read
Whatever the nature of your business online, getting your domain name right from the beginning is a crucial part of your future success. When you set up a new business, a domain name is an essential part of that branding, and something that you can build future brand projects around. Get the domain name wrong at the beginning and it becomes increasingly harder as time goes on to change it.
However, making your choice based around branding is not the only consideration. In the UK alone, a new domain is registered every five seconds, so demand and competition are high. This means it’s not as easy as picking something that is catchy or memorable, you also need to think about how likely it is that the name has already be taken.
With all this in mind, we have detailed below everything you need to help you make a good domain name choice that will boost branding, help you stand out, and be future-proof:
1. Your domain name should reflect what you do
Perhaps the most important consideration of any domain name is making sure it in some way reflects what you do. It needs to be unique, of course, but it also needs to be suitable to your industry and area of business. All of us have developed a sense of web grammar, and we understand what certain keywords, phrases, and even spellings can connote. So, if you get this wrong you can inadvertently develop a sense of incongruity around your brand.
It is obviously better if your domain matches your business name in some way, but if that is not possible, then it at least needs to be closely related to what you do. Or so memorable as to not make any difference either way. Which brings us on to…
2. Make it memorable
Obviously search engines like Google play a big part in people finding your site. But direct searches can also have a big impact. So, if you can make your domain name catchy and memorable, you could pick up a lot of traffic this way.
This means keeping it short and simple. Remember that people will have to type your address in manually for a direct search, so the shorter it is, the better. It’s best to avoid numbers, long words and other characters, such as hyphens. Do a quick bit of research with friends and family. Is your domain easy to say, easy to remember, easy to spell and does it make sense with the nature of your business (this is an indicator that it will help people to remember it).
3. Get creative
With so many domain names taken, it can be very difficult to be catchy and memorable with the words you have at your disposal - why not try making up some new ones? There are some excellent examples of companies being creative and inventing new words that both manage to reflect what they do and stick in the imagination. Think about Moonpig and Funky Pigeon.
But remember, even if you are being creative, always follow the same rules about being easy to say, spell and type or you could fall into the same traps.
4. Remember the future
If possible, try and choose a name that will stand the test of time. If you have to move in the future then this presents all sorts of branding and SEO issues. For this reason, try and avoid domains with years or time-related phrasing. You never know where your site might go, so don’t limit it with an unnecessary ‘2018’.
5. Think about extensions
Sites are no longer just limited to the .co.uk or .com extensions. These days there are a huge variety to choose from, and each comes with its own inherent meaning or suggestion. For example, a .org extension tends to imply trust and authority. Other extensions such as .biz imply a less than professional approach.
Try and keep the extension relative to what you do or where you are based. So, if you’re a UK firm, choose a .co.uk extension as these are fairly neutral. Or try the more up-to-date and compact .uk.
6. Research is key
As we have mentioned above, it’s well worth carrying out a bit of research before settling on your domain choice. For example, a few quick Google searches will tell you if there are any similarly named sites out there that could cause confusion. The last thing you want is to have any unwanted negative attention or to lose business to a rival through a domain mistake.
You can also search for similarly named companies on official registers at Companies House. And don’t forget that the internet is a global entity, so think about the US and beyond.
Then test your name for memorability and originality with friends and family. This is a decision you only want to make once, so it pays to get it right.
7. Swallow up variants
Just as you don’t want to choose a name too similar to an organisation already in existence, you don’t want the same to happen to you down the line. So, once you have settled on a domain, try and buy up the various extensions. Not only will this prevent others from using it, but it will also give you the opportunity to expand should you wish to in the future. You never know where business might take you, and having these domains in storage for when you need them could help your brand to grow.
8. Act quickly
Modern business moves fast, and good domains don’t hang around for long. So, while it pays to do the legwork and research, you can’t always afford to put it off. This is especially true if you are moving into an area of business experiencing rapid growth. A decade ago, vaping.com would have meant little to anybody, but these days it could be significant business tool in an emerging market. Act fast to avoid missing out on your chosen domain.
Already got your domain sorted but need a website to go with it? At it’seeze Web Design Ashford, we specialise in professionally designed websites and affordable web design services for businesses throughout Kent. What’s more, we’ll automatically renew your domain for you every year as part of our monthly package offering, so you never need to worry about securing your domain again. Want to find out more? Get in touch with our friendly team today.
This article is brought to you from the desk of Nick Templeton, consultant for it'seeze Ashford, Kent.
Nick has been working in the website industry for over 15 years. If you want to find out more about the perfect domain name for your project, feel free to contact us for more information.
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