When creating a website or a new company your domain name is almost as important as your company name. This is how people will find you online and how your brand will be portrayed online.
Choosing the right domain name can be tough, so we’re going to give you a few pointers to make sure your domain name is of a high quality.
First you need to think about your brand, this will be easy for established brands as this will be the same as your existing brand. Even if you are an established brand you need to think about the way you portray your brand through your domain name. For new brands, you should read this before thinking of your brand name and use this to guide that thinking process.
A great tool to see if a domain name is available is Namechk. This will search for .com .net .org as well as every single possible social media site. If you want to check for the .co.uk you can use 123-reg.
.com is the most popular and industry standard top-level domain extension. Yes, there are domains like .media, .xyz and even .energy, but these domains aren’t known and aren’t popular, using these types of domains will cause confusion. This can potentially work if you’re targeting the tech world that know that these domains exist but for the mass market it just gets too confusing. When someone is typing in a URL to their browser they will instinctively type .com after it. If you simply can’t get the .com or change the domain name slightly, make sure the .com isn’t taken by a competitor or a website that could easily be mistaken for yours.
If your desired domain name isn’t available you can add a suffix or prefix like thetablevillage.com as long as this doesn’t cause confusion for the user. This confusion could come about if tablevillage.com is a keen competitor of yours.
When thinking of your domain name you need to make sure it sounds like a brand, it’s memorable and it’s unique. For example, try to avoid hyphens, numbers, and keywords. A poor example of a domain name is buy-tables-here.com, another poor example is besttables.co.uk. These aren’t memorable, aren’t unique and don’t have any sort of brandability. A good example is tablevillage.com or thorpefurniture.co.uk. These can be brandable, they’re unique and they are memorable.
Since you’re online, people will read your domain name and could pronounce it differently to others, you need to try and make sure that this is minimised as much as possible. Humans have a cognitive bias towards things that we can easily say and think about called processing fluency. If you can’t easily say the name and it’s hard for users to guess the correct way of saying that name, you lose a significant amount of memorability and brandability. If your brand name is more than one word you need to make sure that when it is put together it doesn’t make another word.
Alongside creating a readable and pronounceable domain name you should make sure it is as short as possible. This will make it easier to type, write, say and show. But don’t make it shorter than it needs to be.
Avoid any names that could infringe on another company and their copyrights. This will put the risk of that company taking over your domain completely. It will also create some confusion around the brand too.
Make the name intuitive but not keyword-rich. Your target audience should be able to immediately guess what you do from your name but you shouldn’t throw keywords into your domain name to make this happen. For example, buyshoesonline.com and shoemaintenance.com will tell you what the website is offering, but to Google, these are highly suspicious domains that will be looked at carefully as domains with keywords in have historically been spammy. Domains like flowshoes.com or redboots.com tell the user what the website is about while not looking like you are trying to game the system by including keywords in your domain name.
To conclude, your domain name should be short but not too short, pronounceable and easy to read, preferably a .com, infringement free, and intuitive.