Choosing a domain name is a serious process. While it is certainly more important to get a website set up than to spend a lot of time agonising about it, you still don’t want to get it wrong. The right domain name can bring more traffic and make your site a hit, while the wrong one could derail your plans quickly. Here are five things to ask yourself before you make a decision.
1. Is it memorable?
First of all, figure out whether your web address is going to be easy to remember. There are plenty of potential names you could use that might be really clever, or describe your business really well, but will people be able to remember them when they’ve lost your business card and just want to try and find you? This is going to be important when you’re introducing yourself or your brand to people, but don’t have any cards on hand, too. You need to make sure that what you say will stick in someone’s mind right until they get home to their computer.
2. Is it relevant?
Does your domain name reflect what people will expect to find on your website? Most of the time, you will want to use the name of your business as your web address. Of course, if you don’t have a company name yet, that might not help! Think about how you can signify to people what your business is. Let’s imagine you have a children’s clothing brand called Giraffe. The address giraffe.com is not only going to be expensive (and probably unavailable), but it will also attract people who are interested in the animal rather than clothes. Giraffeclothing.com, or giraffeforkids.com, would both be alternatives that tell the visitor something about what to expect.
3. Is it short?
Don’t ask your customers to type in a huge address, especially if you are expecting them to find you from events or networking, or from seeing your items on sale elsewhere. Again, drawing from our earlier example, giraffeclothing would be a little on the long side as it is. Giraffeclothes might be better, or even giraffekids. Giraffeclothingforkids.com is far too much of a mouthful. Remember that the more characters there are in your domain name, the higher chance there is that a customer will type them wrong. Over a certain length, there’s a chance the customer might not feel like the effort of typing it in is worth going to your website.
4. Is it easy to spell?
Bear in mind also that people aren’t going to be able to remember how to spell long, complicated, or unorthodox brand names. Giraffekidz might be something that you could get away with as it’s a misspelling that is somewhat common in children’s brands. However, if you were to get really creative and try a domain name like gyraphkydz.com – even though it would be pronounced the same way – you might find that most people aren’t able to successfully navigate to your site without the web address written down in front of them. Even then, they might struggle! Try to be sensible, and if your brand name is hard to spell, consider finding an alternative. GKydz.com, the same brand name condensed down to a shorter version, will be easier for customers to type as they only have to remember the y and the z as unusual parts of the word.
5. Is it similar to something else?
Finally, if you think you’ve hit on the right domain name for your brand, it’s time to do your due diligence. Even if giraffekids.com is available, is someone already using giraffekids.co.uk or giraffekids.info? If so, you might lose a lot of your traffic to those competing websites. Try to find a domain name which is unique to stop this from happening.
There’s a lot to think about, but running through these checks should help you to reduce the risk of making a mistake. At the end of the process, you should have a name which is easy for customers to remember and type in, without any chance of going to a different website by mistake – and anyone who sees your web address by accident will know where it leads.