Business owners around the world often think that a domain is just an address for their website, they think they can pick anything and it won’t matter because it will work out well for them. But a domain is so much more than just an address.
A domain is the first thing your potential customers see.
A domain is on all of your business cards, it’s on all of your social media, it’s on all of your business emails and it’s how people will remember you.
Here are my 7 tips for picking a top-notch domain for your business, whether it’s a start-up, a rebrand or you are growing. You’ll be able to nail a great domain with the help of these 7 tips.
Be a Brand
As I mentioned above, your domain is the face of your business. So brand it up.
Whether its a personal brand, like mine (SEOAndy.com — a name) or a large business like google which owns domains like blog.google too, or obviously smaller companies or organizations make it branded and memorable.
Keep it short too is usually the keep.
Don’t Be Tempted to Shorten Everything
Words such as science don’t always fit with being shortened, sure with science-fiction to sci-fi it fits well but if your brand is planetscience.com I assure you no one will remember planetsci.com — the same goes for a bunch of other similar words. A few extra characters never bothered anyone, yes there is a balance but perhaps the balance here is not having too many words and not putting hyphens in your domain.
The second thing I would say is if your brand/domain is multi-worded, cut it down to just a few characters. Think WWF uses wwf.org.uk and Charities Aid Foundation uses CAFonline.org — short is better in these cases.
Having a TLD is like the gold standard for domains, go for it. I would say if you can get the .co.uk and .org.uk type domains to for the country-level too to match up just to keep your brand locally, but if you can’t get the TLD your brand is likely already on the dodgy territory. (in the first instance check to see what's on that domain, you may be about to have a copyright battle!)
The majority of all sites use .com as their domain, and you can always forward other domains you buy to it.
Avoid Copyright Terms
Speaking of copyright above, avoid any copyright or trademark issues — don’t go for branded terms that are obvious. Don’t say “googleiscrap.com” in your domain or anything stupid, don’t even use a brand in praise in a domain — you are on dodgy territory.
Before nipping to your favorite domain registrar, I use Hover, to brainstorm some ideas using 3 or 4 keywords to summarize your business. (On hover if you enter one or two words it will shoot out domains that may match your thoughts, see below for the words SEO and News — additionally hover have a huge range of domains available that can’t be found elsewhere I’ve found, such as .ltd)
Mix and match, see what makes sense and what doesn’t — cut the crap out yourself, and then ask a friend or two to help you.
Pro-tip: Don’t use any complex words or difficult-to-spell words, if it's not memorable, easy to type or you use long words, no one will ever just type it in… even from your business card, never mind their memory.
Ignore Current Fads / Trends
Don’t fall for fads and trends such as missing I’s from your domain because ‘it looks cool’ — it will just look silly in a few months when you try and buy it with an I and you find it doesn’t exist or the brand with the I is already in your sector … and you have to rebrand… be very careful with your domains and picking them on a fad.
Stuck for a word? Use a Thesaurus
One of the best tips I picked up from a friend was when looking for domains always pick up a thesaurus, and see what other related words there are, what similar words describe the same thing and whether I can say the same thing with fewer words. It’s always just worth a flip through for a random idea too!