How thoroughly should you think about your domain name? Is it really that important?
If you have a quality website and business, people will visit your site no matter what the domain is, right?
Well, not so fast…
You see, your domain name is the key element of your website. It can make or break you, so it’s crucial to choose a domain name that works for your business.
But wait, why is your domain name so important?
- It’s your “first impression”. Your URL is the first thing your visitors will see. A good domain name can make a positive and lasting impression, while a bad domain name can send visitors running.
- It affects SEO. While exact match domains (EMDs) are no longer a necessity, keywords in your domain name can still help your SEO ranking.
- It defines your brand. We’ll talk about this in a minute – your domain name is a branding opportunity! The right domain name can increase brand recognition.
These elements are only a few of the many reasons why your domain name is so important.
How do you choose the right domain name? That’s precisely what I’m going to share with you today.
Important factors of choosing a domain name:
1. Use The Right Domain Name Extensions (.com, .org, .net)
When you choose your domain name extension, you can be sure of one thing: “.com” is still the best.
According to research from DomainNameStat, 43% of all domains have the “.com” extension.
Why? Well, “.com” is the most familiar and easiest to remember.
While there are many successful websites with a “.net” and “.org”, your website will probably do better if it has a “.com” extension. It’s the safest bet.
My advice: Go with .com. If that’s taken, try .net or .org. If these are taken too, you’d be better off brainstorming a new domain name. And oh! – Avoid those weird extensions like “.club”, “.space”, “.pizza” and so on.
2. Brandable Over Generic
Creative and brandable are always better than generic.
Remember: Your domain name is how visitors will find, remember, and share your company on the web. It is the foundation of your brand.
Here’s the main difference between a brandable and generic domain name:
A brandable domain name is unique and stands out from the competition, while a generic domain name is usually stuffed with keywords and unmemorable.
For example, do you know the difference between Healthinsurance.net, Newhealthinsurance.com, or Healthinsurancesort.com? Probably not, right?
These are horribly generic. They don’t have any meaning. You won’t hear anyone talking about how awesome “Insurance.com” is. Variations of the word “insurance” will increase the competition and make it blend in even more.
Sites like UnitedHealthCareOnline.com and Anthem.com stand out because they stand for something. When people hear those domain names, there is a trust factor there.
Here’s how to find a more brandable domain name:
- Create new words. You can make up your own catchy, new words. That’s what Google, Bing, and Yahoo did.
- Use existing words. You can use a thesaurus to find interesting words that fit your brand.
- Use domain name generators. These tools can help you create a unique, brandable domain name from your initial domain ideas and keywords. (We’ll highlight some of our favorite domain name generators later in this post.)
3. Short Is Better Than Long
In general, when it comes to the length of your domain, shorter is better.
According to research from DataGenetics.com, a blog by Nick Berry, the most common name length is approximately 12 characters.
(Popularity, in this case, refers to the amount of web traffic the site receives.)
All of this data shows that you should keep your domain name concise.
Aim for 6-14 characters – and remember the shorter, the better. Most likely the shorter domain names are taken a LONG time ago and sold for thousands of dollars. If you can’t find something short, make it brandable.
My own site – websitesetup.org is exactly 12 characters.
4. Make Sure It’s Easy To Type
Think of some of the most popular websites in the world. What comes to mind?
Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Yahoo, CNN…
One big thing they have in common is that they’re all easy to spell.
Your visitors should be able to type your domain name without a problem. If you have to explain the spelling more than once for it to be understood, it’s too complicated!
The last thing you want is for the potential visitors to mistype your domain and end up on a different website!
Here’s an easy way to test this…
Tell 10 people your potential domain name and ask them to spell it. If more than a few people struggle to spell it, you need to simplify it.
5. Make Sure It’s Easy To Pronounce
As easily as your domain name rolls off the tips of your fingers, it should roll off the tip of your tongue.
This makes it easier for visitors to share your domain name by word-of-mouth and makes it easier for you to share your site with friends and potential customers.
You can test this the same way as with the “spelling”.
Write your domain name on a piece of paper and ask 10 people to pronounce it. If more than a few people struggle to pronounce it, you should simplify it.
Here’s what to keep in mind: You want your domain name to be passed along easily by you and others. The only way for that to be possible is if it’s 1) easy to spell and 2) easy to pronounce.
this is just a transcript of Nick Schäferhoff’s original article that you can read here