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Founder of Website Simplified
Hey, my name is Oskar. I’ve created Website Simplified to help people create and grow their first website. I’ve been building websites online for over 7 years now and this blog is my way of giving back to the internet and helping beginners to create their own site. It’s easy and after reading this tutorial you’ll be one step closer by having a perfect domain name selected.
If you’re reading this blog page then congratulations, you’re already on your way to building your very own website.
But first, you need to figure out how to choose a domain name – the best one for your business at that.
By the time you have finished reading this blog, you’ll be well on your way to creating your own website. With my tips and recommendations, you’ll have all the ammunition you need to take the internet by storm.
Let’s get to it, shall we?
According to research carried out by Domain Name Stat, over 37% of top-level domains use the .com extension.
There is an array of possible extensions to choose from today, such as .org and .net. There are countless successful websites with these two extensions, and I would recommend either of them if .com is unavailable. If .com, .org or .net aren’t available, it may be time to go back to the drawing board and think up a new domain name. After all, .pizza is just going to make everybody hungry and send them away from your website to their nearest pizza delivery place.
Many internet users, through habit or through a lack of technological know-how, will automatically type .com without realising.
Let’s say for instance, your website is to be called paddy.photograpy, and potential visitors type paddy.photography.com, they’ll be taken to that ugly looking error page.
The best way to avoid such an occurrence is to opt with the trusty .com extension.
In reality, if your business becomes as successful as I’m sure you want it to be, the chances are you are going to try and capture the .com domain anyway. Doing so can be expensive if already taken, so you’re best to get in there right away.
The fact that most mobile phones now have a .com preset on their keyboards may seem trivial, but take into account Statista’s research showing that 51.53% of global website traffic in 2020 was generated via mobile, and you see why catering for mobile users is essential. Those figures excluded tablet users, so the actual figures are likely to be much higher.
Less is very much more when selecting a domain name. Data Genetics complied a comprehensive study showing that the most common length for a domain name is 12 characters. In the same research, they also said that the average length of a .com domain is 13.539 characters long.
Of course, if your business or blog name is already longer than that, it is difficult to shorten it without losing the meaning of your website. My advise, where possible, is to keep your domain name to within six and 14 characters.
The world wide web has been around for a long time now, so there is always a possibility that your perfect domain name isn’t available. Try not to stress, if you can’t keep it below 14 characters, make it as brandable as possible.
Simplicity is key when selecting your domain name. You don’t want to be too clever, as potential visitors will struggle to find you if your domain doesn’t represent what the site is all about. There is plenty of time to experiment once you have the user on your site, but make sure you get them there first with a simple, short and concise domain name.
I touched on it above, but I’m going to go into further detail here on why keeping your brand at the forefront of your thinking is imperative when thinking of how to choose a domain name.
The best way for me to explain ourselves here is to use an example. Let’s say that your website is all about candles and sells a variety of different options.
Is candles-4-u.com a good domain name? Absolutely not. Yes, it does mention candles. However, there is a distinct correlation between the ideal domain name and how you would say it in a sentence. If somebody asked you about your fantastic candles business and how they would go about finding it, does speaking out ‘candles dash for dash you’ sound catchy? It really doesn’t.
Similarly, candlesconnoisseur.com might sound cool (it really does, right?), but it is quite a tongue twister if you ask me. That reverts back to my previous point about being too clever. The play on words between candles and connoisseur is quite clever, but it’s too much of a mouthful and not particularly easy to spell.
For me, candleman.com is the optimum domain name. It is easy to pronounce, easy to spell, easy to remember, and sits comfortably within the suggested 14 characters.
A quick tip that you may not have thought of. If you’re struggling to find a domain name that fits your brand and that hasn’t already been acquired, consider a thesaurus. There are often dozens of alternative words that you probably haven’t previously thought of, that could open an array of opportunities.
I don’t want to sound like a broken record, and I know I’ve mentioned this earlier, but please, avoid hyphens and numbers at all costs. Dates? Forget about it.
Let’s take Instagram for example. Their play on words combines “instant” and “telegram”. Telestant doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as Instagram – it’s a perfect play on words and super easy to remember.
Now imagine if it had a hyphen in there. Insta-gram.com. The cool and current photo sharing platform all of a sudden isn’t so popular. Can you imagine the millions of users asking for each other’s “insta dash gram” profiles? It just wouldn’t work.
Similarly, given that Instagram is all about being instant, they may have been tempted to include the number ‘1’ in there – it’s all about being first after all. I’m not going to explain why instagram1.com doesn’t work. We’re all in agreement on that one.
Put simply, you want your domain name to be as smooth and simplistic as possible. So, ditch the hyphens and bin the numbers.
Letters are king.
This point very much interlinks with my previous bit of advice, but there is more to it.
I’m going to move away from the candles, as much as I love the sound of candleman.com. To broaden the topics, and help to make my case, I’m going to discuss gym equipment.
Let’s imagine you are building a new website that sells state-of-the-art gym equipment. The fitness industry is extremely competitive, so you’re fighting a losing battle if you make your domain name is too difficult to type.
gymequipmentextravanganza.com is not only too long, but it’s extremely difficult to type out. A concerning number of potential visitors would more than likely begin typing this domain name and give up half way through. This is exactly the opposite of what you are hoping to achieve.
I much prefer gymkit.com or gymbot.com. With this domain name, I have included the word ‘gym’ at the beginning, so that potential visitors are aware of what the site is all about. I’ve kept it short, ticking the earlier boxes, and made it easy to type.
After all, the hard work should be done during the workout itself, not in finding the website.
I’m feeling pumped, so will stick with the gym theme here. Imagine you are a personal trainer, and looking to make some extra money by leading your own fitness classes at your local park. You’ll want to make a song and dance about your new venture on your social media pages, of course, but you’ll also want to create your own website as a central hub to showcase to potential new clients.
fitnessphilanthropy.com has a bit of a ring to it, but philanthropy isn’t a particularly easy word to pronounce. I would advise something shorter, punchier and above all else, easy to say. fitnessglobe.com gets the thumbs up from us.
Not much else to say on that really. If potential visitors are going to need a sit down by the time they have finished attempting to pronounce your domain name, it may be best to revert to the drawing board.
Make it easy to type, easy to pronounce, and easy to remember. They are all linked, but you knew that anyway.
You don’t want your website to be the one that is always on the tip of the tongue. You want it to be the one that people immediately shout out when thinking of a particular topic.
I’ll change the subject here, to garden furniture. gogogogarden.com, as an example, may have potential customers second guessing how many times they need to type go ahead of the garden. All of a sudden, gogogarden.com and gogogogogarden.com are getting visits, but not your precious gogogogarden.com.
gardengear.com avoids any such issues, and has a wonderful ring to it. Most importantly, it’s extremely easy to remember.
Congratulations on reaching this stage! You’ve thought of a potential business, and you’ve taking the plunge and put the wheels in motion to set up a website of your own.
If the creative juices aren’t flowing, don’t be too hard on yourself. Choosing the perfect domain name is a tricky business. As you can tell from the above points, there are plenty of things to consider.
Selecting the perfect domain name need not be a stressful process, there are plenty of domain name generators out there that can do the hard work for you.
www.wordoid.com is a brilliant tool that allows users to insert a key word, and then their clever generator shows ideas that either contain the word, begin with that particular word or end with it.
There are plenty of options out there. Just find one that works for you, and let their clever technology do all the leg work for you.
One of the quickest and most efficient ways to check if your potential new domain name is trademarked is to search for it on social media.
As we all know, any business worth their salt is active on social media. It is simply the best way to stay in touch with your clients. If the name is already in use across social pages, you’ll want to avoid pressing on with this. The last thing you want soon after setting up your own website is a legal battle.
Checking of social media pages is a great way to see if a potential name has already been trademarked.
To be extra sure, a quick visit to www.knowem.com will put your mind at ease. Simply type in your required domain name and it will show you if it is in use across 25 social media platforms and if any trademarks are already registered to the name.
If it is, you can either buy the domain name off the current owner, or simply move on to another name. The latter, of course, is much cheaper.
My final point is one of the most important. Many businesses start out as one concept, and then through time and evolution, spread their wings into a much wider reaching idea.
For example, a professional cook may want to set up a website to showcase their cuisine talents. They may specialise in Italian food, and are perhaps tempted to name their new website theitaliancook.com.
Over time, they realise they also have a love for French food, as well as traditional English grub. All of a sudden, theitaliancook.com seems a little limiting.
In this instance you are best keeping it generic with something like thetopchef.com. This domain name allows for growth. You can still specialise in Italian cooking, but there is nothing in your website name that suggests you aren’t an expert in other food as well.
I sincerely hope that the above has helped. Well done to you for taking the leap. If you stick to the above points when choosing your domain name, you won’t go far wrong.