In Part 1 of this blog post, we discussed registrars and domain name availability. You’ve jotted down 8 or more great domain name ideas. In Part 2, we’ll help you narrow down your list.
Ask Yourself 4 Questions:
(1) Is your Domain Name Short?
- If your domain name is long, people are more likely to forget it or to make a mistake when typing it.
- If your company name is long, it makes more sense to use an abbreviated version of it as a domain name.
(2) Is your Domain Name Easy to Spell?
Tell friends or family members your potential domain name and ask them to spell it. If they struggle, you need to change it. You don’t want potential visitors to mistype your domain name and end up on a different website.
Here’s an example of a complicated, though famous, organization’s name:
McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center is a place where you can learn about astronomy, aviation and the Earth.
DOMAIN NAME starhop.com
The domain name (starhop.com) is totally different than the name of the center.
They didn’t choose “McAuliffeShepardDiscoveryCenter.com.” It would’ve been way too long and difficult to spell.
Take a close look at this peculiar name of a museum:
Strawbery Banke Museum is an outdoor history museum dedicated to bringing American history to life. Wait a minute! Did you look closely at the name and catch the one (r) in Strawbery and the (e) on the end of bank? The name of the museum and the domain name are the same. Both are hard to spell. Go Figure!
DOMAIN NAME: strawberybanke.org
In this case, it’s a great idea to also buy the domain name: strawberrybank.org so visitors who misspell the domain name can end up on the website anyway. By buying common misspellings of the domain name, you are also defending your domain name against “typosquatting.” A “typosquatter” is someone that registers very similar domain names to yours in an attempt to steal your traffic.
(3) Is it Easy to Pronounce?
It helps if the sound of your domain name rolls off the tip of your tongue. It will be so much easier for you to share your site with others. Most people will give up searching for your website if they can’t figure out how to spell what you said to them over the phone.
Here’s one that is hard to spell and say out loud:
DOMAIN NAME: islesofshoals.com (The Isles of Shoals Steamship Company) Luckily, the Isles of Shoals is a popular attraction in New Hampshire so visitors can often find this website in spite of its tricky name.
(4) Does it include Numbers or Hyphens?
- If you have a number in your domain name, visitors may not know whether to spell it out or use a numeral if they hear your domain name mentioned.
- If you have a hyphen in your domain name, it’s easy to forget when, where, and if to use it.
Take a look at the domain name choices on your list. Can you cross off a few? Good. We’re on the home stretch now.
“Brandable” versus Generic Domain Names
- Brandable domain names sound like a company when you say them out loud such as google.com or bing.com.
- Generic domain names are made up from common words and phrases.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Your domain name is how your visitors will discover, remember, and share your brand around the web, so don’t settle for awkward strings of multiple SEO keywords.
What are SEO keywords?
SEO keywords are the words and phrases in your web content that help people find your website through search engines. Keywords also help search engines, such as Google and Bing, understand what your company is all about. In my domain name crimsondesigns.com, I have included the word “designs.” It is a keyword.
Domain Name Keywords
Having some keywords in your domain name can help drive traffic to your website. You should use them sensibly and not go overboard. Stringing too many of them awkwardly together may make your site seem less professional. So be careful.
On the other hand, a unique, memorable domain name with ONE effective keyword can make it easier for new customers to remember your brand. They’ll also have a good hunch about what you do right away.
Generic Domain Name Examples with Keywords
Trademarks and Blacklisted Domain Names
- When you’re ready to register your domain name, check the name in a search engine first. Look for companies that already use the name and have a similar type of business. If you find anything, you should pick another domain name.
- Also go to NameCheck.com. This website checks domains, new domain extensions, brand names and trademarked terms.
- Check the domain name’s history. A domain name that was used in a site with a questionable background may negatively affect your new website’s SEO rankings. You can check a website’s history via the Way Back Machine. It lets you see what a website looked like in the past.
Congratulations. You’re ready to choose your small business domain name like a pro.
NOTE: Once you own it, make sure it doesn’t expire. You can check the auto-renew box at the registrar. That way, you won’t lose it as you immerse yourself in your new day-to-day business tasks.