If you plan to have a website for your company, blog or private business, the first thing you have to do is get a domain name.
Whenever you advertise your website to increase online traffic, you are essentially popularizing your domain name. So your domain name plays a huge role in establishing your online presence. But this also leads to another problem.
Because your domain name is part of your online identity, you have to put some serious thought into choosing a domain name you think will be a fitting representation for your brand and yourself.
Here are some of the ways you can make a great domain name that will stand out from the crowd and help drive internet traffic towards your website.
The first step towards choosing a good domain name is to brainstorm with a few people about the possible names. Pick about half a dozen of words and phrases that describe the service your business offers or the content you will be posting on your website and write them down.
Rearrange them in an order of preferences. Asking friends, business partners, relatives or anyone else who can be included in your target demographic to help you, is a great way to come up with a fitting domain name.
Be as unique as possible
There were more than a billion websites worldwide at the end of September 2014, and that number is growing every day.
So you need a name that is completely unique from the rest so that people do not mistake another site to be yours. Make a list of possible domain names and check if there are any other websites with similar ones.
Do not choose domain names that are misspelled versions, plurals or homophones of existing websites, as it will give rise to many problems later on. You may need to go back and brainstorm a few more names to ensure that you use a unique one.
It should be brandable
A brand is a very effective way of telling your target demographic what your company or website stands for without requiring too much explanation.
This means that you will need to look beyond a simple combination of words. For example, brand names like “Tesla”, “Intel” and “RedBull” instantly make you think about their services and products. Find a name that has a unique reference to your field and help it drive your target demographic towards your website.
It should be memorable
Word of mouth is still one of the most organic and effect way of marketing as it adds authenticity to your website.
If your visitors, customers or fans need to tell their friends about your website, they should be able to easily remember your domain name. Since there are more than a billion websites, a memorable name is one of the best way to help your target demographic will find you.
It should be easy to type
Many times you will be advertising in places where giving a link will not work (like newspapers, magazines, posters etc). Here you will have to mention just the name. In these instances, a fancy name may not help.
If you need to spell the website out repeatedly before people understand what you are trying to convey, it is a sign of a bad domain name. Having numbers or hyphens in your domain name makes it difficult for first time visitors to know the right spelling, so avoid them as much as possible.
It should have an appropriate extension
The domain extension is a suffix such as .org, .com, .net and so on.
The .com extension is by far the most popular and it should be used if possible. The downside is that it is also much harder to get a good domain name with a .com suffix since it has been in use for far too long.
Most of the other popular extensions have specific uses, .org for instance, shows that the website is of a non-commercial or nonprofit organization.
You may even use some top level, generic domains like .music and .photography can provide the perfect opportunity to make relevant and memorable domain names for your website.
Shorter is better
Long and complicated domain names increases the chance of error on the part of your visitors and reduces the possibilities of online success for your website.
A shorter domain name on the other hand, is not only easier to remember and type, but it also helps you advertise it more creatively and effectively. Many social media networks have a word limit while posting, and a short domain name gives you plenty of space for ingenuity.
Shorter domain names are also cheaper to advertise on print media and more effective in word of mouth marketing. If you are not able to find a short domain name with a .com extension, look for other domain name extensions.
Choose longevity over short term trends
Some new websites have odd misspellings, overused short adjectives or some other “trendy” element in their domain name.
This may seem like a great idea at first, as an internet trend will make a lot of people look for related content, but remember that these trends last only for a very short time, and eventually everyone will forget about it.
So resist the need to achieve short term internet success and choose a name that will be relevant without the help of social media trends. Identifying a trend that will not last long is a matter of personal judgment, so use you instincts to keep away from what you think will push your website into obscurity in a few years.
Make it quick
As we have seen previously, there are more than a billion websites on the internet and there are more being created by individuals and new companies everyday.
This means good domain names sell really fast, so you need to act quickly if you want to keep a well thought out name for your website. It is smart to purchase a number of your favorite domain names as early as possible so that you may not have trademark issues later on.
Protect your domain name
Once you have purchased your domain name of choice, it is important to protect your reputation amongst online users.
To do that, you will need to purchase misspelled versions, homophones or plural versions of your website, and then simply forward the traffic to your primary website. This move will prevent other individuals or companies from using the reputation of your website to drive traffic towards their website.
Flikr, for example, had to purchase the domain name “Flicker” because of how the brand uses a misspelled word, and they were losing many potential visitors who had heard of the popular website by word of mouth.
Whatever you choose as the name of your website, don’t forget it will be set for years to come. It is best to never rename your website once it has been online for a considerable amount of time as you will lose all the branding and online reputation it has gathered.
Once you are absolutely sure of your domain name, go forth and build the website, and update it with interesting content frequently. With the right strategy, your website will continue to gain online visibility amongst your target demographic!