When starting your blog, choosing a domain name is one of the first things you’re going to do.
While it may sound like one of the simplest parts of the process, it is actually one of the things that a lot of people get stuck on for days, barely making any progress at all.
In this article, I’m going to outline a few tricks you can use to come up with a great domain name without having to think too hard.
However, before we get to that, let’s first define what a domain name is.
What is a domain name?
Put simply, your domain name is your website’s name. It’s how people find you. This graphic sums things up really well:
In this example, the domain name is google.com. The suffix .com identifies what top-level domain (TLD) it belongs to.
Apart from .com, you may have also come across several other TLDs, such as .org, .net, .edu, .gov, and so on.
The URL, or the Uniform Resource Locator, is the address of a website or web page on the internet.
If you type in this URL in your browser’s address bar, you’ll be directed to the Google website.
How to choose a great domain name
1. Do you want a brand name or a keyword name?
The first decision you’ll need to make is whether you want to have a business name/brand name on your domain or if you’d rather go with a keyword name.
Brand domains make you look trustworthy and immediately let visitors know that they have come to your business website.
Keyword domains are better optimized for search engines and will probably have you ranking higher in search engine results.
I should mention here that search engines have improved a lot in recent years.
If you want to rank highly, you’re going to have to do a lot more than just having a nice keyword domain name.
2. Keep it legal
You do not want to use the names of famous people, companies, or other legal entities in your domain name unless they are directly associated with your brand.
You also do not want your name to sound too similar to someone else’s brand.
If you are not sure whether you are infringing someone else’s copyright, confirm with the patents and trademarks office website first.
3. Keep it simple
Short, simple domain names perform better than longer ones. They are easier to remember, and it is harder to make a mistake when typing them out in the address bar.
Avoid misspellings, numbers, and hyphens wherever possible.
4. Choose .com
.com is better because it’s the most popular therefore most memorable. Since .com is popular, it almost guarantees that you will be found on the internet.
If you find that your domain name is available, it is important to perform a quick social media check too to make sure that no social media accounts that use the same name exist.
You want your name to be consistent across all your accounts, so if there is a Facebook page that uses the same name as your website, your visitors might get confused.
6. Sound it out
When choosing a great domain name, read your domain name out loud to yourself. Then read it out to other people.
If they can’t understand it, or if it sounds awkward, you may have to go back to the drawing board.
Domain names don’t have spaces between the words, and hyphens only make them harder to share with people.
This can lead to awkward situations, like mightypenisland.com for the Mighty Pen Island Company.
7. Be original, but not too original
I’ve mentioned the importance of keeping things simple. This point goes hand in hand with that.
While single-word domain names are the best, they are mostly taken.
This means you may have to make up your own English-sounding word or opt to string together a couple of words into a phrase.
A word of caution, though: being 100% original is a 50/50 thing.
Coming up with a unique name that no one has ever heard of can either make you stand out among your competition or make your site’s name too hard to pronounce or too hard to remember.
Whatever you do, avoid weird spellings (think kool kidz) and abbreviations (4U, R Us). People tend to spell things correctly when they type.
8. Avoid hyphens
You can use hyphens on your domain name but this will make it harder for you to be found on the internet. It’s very easy to forget a hyphen when searching for a website. Your users might find themselves on your competitor’s website.
Choosing a great domain name should now be easy as pie!
As you choose your domain name, you also want to make sure that it is relevant to your niche. Of course, this only applies if you choose to go with a keyword domain over a brand domain.
I’ve talked about niches in detail in this post. However, if you want the short and sweet version, you need to think about your niche as your audience. These are the people you’re building your site to serve.
Domain names that are niche-specific are easier to identify and more memorable.
That’s why it is very easy to tell what sites like parents.com, technewsworld.com, businessinsider.com, and healthline.com are about without having to look them up.
How to check for available domain names or if yours has been taken
As you think about that perfect domain name, it is also a good idea to brainstorm while performing name searches.
Quickly write down a list of names that you like, then eliminate them one by one with a domain name generator like Namecheap, which I highly recommend using.
The best part about using Namecheap for your name search is that you’ll also get a list of highly relevant similar name suggestions when the names you come up with are already taken.
Final Thoughts on Choosing a great Domain Name
Once you settle on that perfect available domain name, you’ll need to own it.
You can opt to buy it right away from the name search service you are using. Alternatively, you can choose to get it directly from your host as you buy your hosting.
Did you find this helpful? Let us know in the comments below or share with your friends!
And if you need a step by step guide to building your own website right from choosing the perfect name to creating your first webpage, you can find that here!