Choosing a domain name is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make as a website owner. If you choose poorly, it can negatively impact your brand’s reputation. So, what’s the secret to finding the perfect domain name? We hope you’ll have a better idea by the end of this post.
Why Choosing the Perfect Domain Name is Crucial
A domain name is your website’s address. It is a part of a larger Domain Name System (DNS) that enables internet users to input a combination of words instead of a lengthy set of numbers.
Your domain name serves a highly practical function, but it’s so much more than that. In many cases, your domain is the first impression a customer will have of your brand. This is true whether you’re a freelance photographer, a small business, or an international corporation, this is true. Therefore, your domain is nearly as important as your logo and brand name.
A lengthy URL may seem like a red flag to customers. Moreover, if it’s hard to remember, users might be less likely to revisit your site. Therefore, your domain name should be short and memorable.
Note that changing your domain name can be challenging. It’s not impossible, but it can lead to unwanted outcomes such as a loss of traffic and unnecessary downtime. With this in mind, you’d be wise to carefully consider your domain name from the get-go.
Choose Your Top Level Domain Extension Carefully
A Top-Level Domain (TLD) extension is the last part of your URL that comes directly after the name of your site. Some of the most popular TLDs are .com, .org, and .net.
Among all the TLDs, .com is often a popular choice. However, if .com is taken, it’s not the end of the world. In Zimbabwe, our TLD is co.zw which we suggest choosing.
Avoid Hyphens and Doubled Letters
Using hyphens may seem like a creative way to get the domain name you want and is admittedly still popular in some European countries (www.deutsche-bank.com). Unfortunately, they’re tough to express verbally (imagine yourself saying “dash” or “hyphen” out loud). They also make the domain more difficult to type. This can create a poor User Experience (UX) from the start, leaving a user frustrated. Even worse, they may give up entirely and end up on someone else’s website.
While there are exceptions, when you’re brainstorming domain name ideas, it’s best to avoid anything that isn’t a letter. This includes replacing letters with numbers, which make the name a lot easier for people to mistype.
The same goes for doubled letters – it’s asking for typos. Doubled letters are hard to read and even harder to type correctly. If mistakes happen often enough, you may end up with someone typosquatting and stealing your traffic.
Keep Your Domain Name Short
There are several reasons short domains work better. First, they’re easier to remember and faster to type. Therefore, they are more likely to support a positive UX.
This is especially important as more and more people are browsing the internet on mobile devices. A short domain name means fewer opportunities for mobile users to get blindsided by autocorrect.
Furthermore, an overly long URL is yet another way to scare off visitors. If you’re overcomplicating your domain with unnecessary keywords, your users might get suspicious.
Stay Unique and On Brand
A unique domain name can help your website stand out and potentially help you avoid legal trouble. It can also contribute to your marketing efforts. In fact, if your site represents a larger brand, you would be wise to consider your domain name as you’re creating the brand name itself.
If you’re a self-employed individual, you can still consider your body of work and your website as part of your personal brand. For instance, if you run a private therapy practice, an original yet branded domain name might include your full name and field. In this scenario, a strong URL might read something like: janesmithpsychology.com.
Another powerful way for businesses to reach a local audience is by including geolocation within the domain name (e.g., harareautoshow.co.zw)
Pick a Domain Name That’s Flexible
Your domain name is one area where you don’t want to put yourself into a box. While you should be specific enough to attract an audience, you don’t want to be so precise that there’s no room for your website to grow.
For example, “shutter.photography” might be perfect for a photography blog. However, if you decide to write about other art forms in the future, you’ll be stuck with an inaccurate domain name.
Therefore, it’s smart to consider how your site or business may expand over time. You’ll want to make this decision with a long-term vision.
Protect Your Brand with Multiple Domains
Even if you manage to snag a coveted .com address, you might consider purchasing other TLD variations and setting up redirects. You can even go a step further and buy common misspellings of your domain name — that way, you’re not missing out on traffic lost due to “user error.”
Get started with Nethosting today. Register your domain