One of the first steps to getting a website up and running is deciding on a domain name. A domain name is essentially the name of your website in the URL. When people type the domain name into their browser, they will be directed to your website. In general, domain names can be purchased for $12-$18 or included for free in a web hosting plan.
Choosing the right domain name is the first step to making your website show up in Google searches. (We’ll discuss more on the topic of Search Engine Optimization/SEO in later articles).
A good domain name step 1: website suffix
The first important decision is deciding on the website suffix. The last part of the URL, usually .com or .org. When you are looking at your domain options on sites like GoDaddy, you will be provided a host of options from .com to .wordpresssite. Certain options are much better than others. In general, using a .com suffix is the best as it is considered the most reliable. Some organizations may choose to use .org which stands for organization. This is also reliable but probably best for established organizations or non-profits. .Edu is also a viable option for schools and universities.
Don’t be tempted by the cheaper website suffixes such as .net or .site. Websites with these suffixes will not show up in web searches as easily and it will be much more difficult for clients to find your site.
Step 2: Short and Memorable
The next key to deciding on a website URL is choosing something that is short and easy to remember. You should be able to tell someone your domain name and have them remember it at a later time. Your potential client should be able to type it in without seeing it written down. This will make it much easier for people to find you and you won’t have to hand out a business card every time you want someone to visit your website.
If you offer an emergency plumbing repair hotline instead of choosing CallTom4AllYourPlumbingNeeds.com, you might choose something like CallTomFirst.com. Choose something memorable, short, and easy to spell. Also, avoid the use of numbers. It will be hard for people to remember whether you use the numerical format or the written format in your URL.
Step 3: Easy to pronounce and spell
In the same regard, your website’s name should be easy to pronounce and spell. It might sound like a fun idea to call your website supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.com, but people are never going to be able to spell it. It’s also extraneously long. Who would ever want to type that out? And unless you’ve seen Mary Poppins, you probably wouldn’t know how to pronounce the name anyway.
A better domain name would be aSpoonfulofSugar.com. People would understand the meaning, it would be memorable and easy to spell and no one would have trouble with the pronunciation.
Step 4: Avoid nuances
Finally, when deciding on a domain name, you should avoid nuances. You may have your heart set on CreativeObsession.com. However, this domain name is already taken meaning you’ll have to change it or pick something else. If you decide on CreativeObsessionn with two ‘n’s as such, people will have a hard time remembering which letter was spelled wrong or they’ll think your business card has a typo. This will mean they end up on a competitor’s site instead of your own.
It’s better to choose a different URL and avoid nuances that will make your domain name hard for people to remember.
Choosing a Good Domain Name
Now that you know the steps to choosing the best URL, where do you start? You can purchase your domain name anywhere, but I would recommend using GoDaddy to research the domain name first. Their domain name availability search will let you know what options are available in addition to providing tips on whether the name is user-friendly or not. You can find this resource here: https://www.godaddy.com/domainsearch
What steps have you found helpful in deciding on a website name for your business?