Choosing a domain name

“What Domain Name Should I Use?”

The website name or more commonly referred to as the domain name is a crucial part of your business presence. Choosing the right name can make or break a business or at least hurt it. This is not like selecting a username for an online account. In this blog I will cover 7 important points you should consider when choosing a domain name.

Think of your website name like a person’s name. We create an association mentally between a person and their name. For example, if I say “Donald”, you think of firstly, a Donald that you may know and secondly, an emotion or characteristics of that person. The same can be said for a business name and a website name. In this blog, I will cover the key things I think are important when choosing the right domain name.

Your website naming or URL structure

For those with little to no knowledge of how domain names are set up, this part will help you structure your site URL so that anyone navigating your site can easily identify their location by simply looking at the URL. This only keeps it short and sweet as I will discuss later.

In the image seen here, we identify the different parts of the URL.

Domain name structure

When you purchase a domain name, you are reserving the right to use a top-level and second-level domain.

Subdomain – You have the freedom to call this whatever you want. Some common subdomain names are blog, online, shopping and store. So if you are creating a website and you are an interior designer, you would have your gallery concept images or work you have done, types of services and so on. But if you also have a place to write blog type material, you may opt for a blog subdomain. Or you might also sell handmade ornaments to include with your core business so then you can create a store subdomain. It is not required to use subdomains unless you have a clustered hosting platform where the subdomain is on a different server or network to provide additional features or security.

Subdirectories – This is similar to subdomains but works differently on the webserver. These are, as the name says, directories on your web server on which your website is hosted.

These options are available to you to consider depending on the scale of your website and the features needed.  

Things to Consider

1. Which TLD to use?

This would depend on your target audience in the long term. Yes, I mean really “long term” because regardless of how small your business is, which geographical areas do you see yourself eventually covering. There is a whole range of TLD’s available and none of them will provide you with a technological advantage, only a psychological advantage. This means that you are selecting a TLD that people can relate to or feel inclined to visit. If I Googled, “palisade fencing quote” I wouldn’t open a URL that is .co.uk, com.au. As a South African I would want to open a .co.za, .com, maybe a .co as These are the businesses I can quickly identify as being near me or possibly within my geographical location.

2. Throw in some Keywords

Keywords are another important factor and again you would need to consider a long term approach to a name. With my interior designing example from earlier, if your website name was blinginteriordesign.com but later started offering hand-made crafts, a more suitable name would be blingcraftsndeco.com or blingdeco.com. Be a bit more generalized with keywords that you use unless you are sure of the direction of the business upfront.

3. Accessibility and Spelling

The domain name should be unambiguous, easy to remember and spell. it makes it easier for someone to refer your website to someone else or recall when they need someone like you. Avoid tricky combinations like double letters (mmlounge.co.za or sscouriers.com) or similar characters like (10open.co, mnmicro.co.za). These make your site an easy target for typosquatting which is when someone reserves a domain similar to yours that prey on peoples typos to generate traffic.

Your name should also be as short as possible which encompasses the essence of your business. There is no fixed number that says it’s too long but you have to be reasonable. lucyshairandbeautysalon.com is much too long.

4. Avoid Hyphens and Numbers

URL

This is not a hard and fast rule as there may be special use cases, like the demo sites created by Web Force here. Hyphens and numbers are hard to communicate or remember when typing or misspelt. When you tell someone “clubtwo”, they would ask “The number or the word two?”. It is a slight inconvenience you may not mind but to everyone else, the simplest frustrations could lead them to competitors. If your business name consists of numbers for whatever reason, then I suggest you purchase both, numbers and words, i.e. club2dance.com and clubtwodance.com and point them to the same website.

Remember to be creative with your name and NOT be creative in getting a name you want. Doing so may lead you to get the name in creative ways which are often harder for people to remember.

5. Maintain your Uniqueness

The domain name should consist of words or a short phrase that are unique to your business and the industry you serve. Be too generic and you lose your business identity.

6. Put in some Leg Work

Do some research and check how others are doing it. It does take time to find the right domain. It will tie deep into your marketing strategies with SEOs and branding. Once you choose a name, it will be very hard to change to anything else without the downtime and some frustration.

7. When should I look for a domain name?

The moment you decide you need a website or when considering registering your business. The sooner you get down to it the better. Once a domain name is unavailable it would become extremely costly to buy if at all possible.  

popular domain names

Summary

As you may have noticed, all of these points need to be considered when choosing a domain name. There will be cases that you would go against it and that is ok. Just be sure to consider all the variables before you proceed.

Alternatively, Contact Us and we will put our expertise to work and find the right domain for you!