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How To Choose A Domain Name
How thoroughly should you think about your domain name? Is it really that important?
If you have a quality website and business, people will visit your site no matter what the domain is, right?
Well, not so fast…
You see, your domain name is the key element of your website. It can make or break you, so it’s crucial to choose a domain name that works for your business.
But wait, why is your domain name so important?
It’s your “first impression”. Your URL is the first thing your visitors will see. A good domain name can make a positive and lasting impression, while a bad domain name can send visitors running.
It affects SEO. While exact match domains (EMDs) are no longer a necessity, keywords in your domain name can still help your SEO ranking.
It defines your brand. We’ll talk about this in a minute – your domain name is a branding opportunity! The right domain name can increase brand recognition.
These elements are only a few of the many reasons why your domain name is so important.
How do you choose the right domain name? That’s precisely what we’re going to share in the following.
1. Don’t be stressed if “.com” is taken
What if the “.com” Top Level Domain (TLD) of your preferred domain name has already been taken? First, keep calm.
There are other popular domain extensions that you can explore. On the plus side, these domains (“.net”, “.org”, “.co”, “.edu”, “.biz”, “.review”, “.photography”, “.biz”, “.me”, “.ly”, etc.) are as good for branding as the .com TLD.
Better yet, their acceptability is constantly increasing.
Domain name preference study conducted by Domain Name Association in 10 countries had 5,000 complete responses. In that survey, a clear majority of people surveyed believe there should be more domain extension options.
In countries with mature Internet markets (the US, the UK, and Australia), between 50% and 60% said there should be more options. For Internet users in the fast-developing markets (China and India), the number is between 66% and 75%.
2. Keep it simple and predictable
Keep the name short and memorable.
If it makes any sense, use the initial of your brand name considering you have brand name initials. WHO.int for World Health Organization is a clear example. FB.com, which is a shorter form of Facebook.com, is another idea you can take a clue from.
Keeping your domain short and predictable will help your audience to share your website via word-of-mouth. And to be confident the domain name is short and predictable, here’s a simple trick.
Share it with your close confidants and get their opinion before committing to a purchase.
3. Short is better than long
In general, when it comes to the length of your domain, shorter is better.
According to research from DataGenetics.com, a blog by Nick Berry, the most common name length is approximately 12 characters.
All of this data shows that you should keep your domain name concise.
Aim for 6-14 characters (before the dot) – and remember the shorter, the better. Most likely the shorter domain names are taken a LONG time ago and sold for thousands of dollars. If you can’t find something short, make it brandable.
Our own site – premiumdomains.business is exactly 14 characters.
4. Make sure it’s easy to type
Think of some of the most popular websites in the world. What comes to mind?
Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Yahoo, CNN…
One big thing they have in common is that they’re all easy to spell.
Your visitors should be able to type your domain name without a problem. If you have to explain the spelling more than once for it to be understood, it’s too complicated!
The last thing you want is for the potential visitors to mistype your domain and end up on a different website!
Here’s an easy way to test this…
Tell 10 people your potential domain name and ask them to spell it. If more than a few people struggle to spell it, you need to simplify it.
5. Make sure it’s easy to pronounce
As easily as your domain name rolls off the tips of your fingers, it should roll off the tip of your tongue.
This makes it easier for visitors to share your domain name by word-of-mouth and makes it easier for you to share your site with friends and potential customers.
You can test this the same way as with the “spelling”.
Write your domain name on a piece of paper and ask 10 people to pronounce it. If more than a few people struggle to pronounce it, you should simplify it.
Here’s what to keep in mind: You want your domain name to be passed along easily by you and others. The only way for that to be possible is if it’s 1) easy to spell and 2) easy to pronounce.
6. Choose a symbolic and intuitive name
Choosing a symbolic name can make all the difference. More like a symbolic name will help you promote your brand.
How can we then say that a name is symbolic or not?
Well, a domain name is symbolic when it’s unique, easy to memorize, pronounceable, and trustworthy. The primary goal should be a domain name that has the potential to support your products or services.
Likewise, a symbolic domain name should be self-evident or intuitive. It should give a firm idea of your website right off the bat.
Basically, any word might be symbolic. Have you ever thought that “Apple” could be brandable but it is now, right!
7. Avoid hyphens and numbers
Remember how your domain name should be easy to spell and pronounce? Hyphens and numbers make it more difficult.
Imagine explaining Facebook if it had a hyphen in there…
“Have you seen this new site Face-Book? There’s a hyphen in there by the way, between the ‘Face’ and the ‘Book.’”
Facebook might not have spread so quickly if that was the case.
The bottom line? Your domain name should be smooth and punchy – hyphens and numbers get in the way of that.
Stick to the letters!
8. Consider using “niche” keywords that reflect your website
Our website is mainly about premium domains or helping people to establish a new business as a brand. Hence we chose to add a name that reflects all of it – “premium domains”. Since premium.domains was not available for registration, we simply choose the domain extension .business to represent our intended niche with our domain “premiumdomains.business”.
Keywords can help to improve your SEO – you need to tread carefully here! If you try to awkwardly stuff keywords into your domain, it doesn't comes across as an unique online presence.
If you choose to use keywords, put the keywords at the beginning of your domain. That’s where they’ll be the most powerful for your ranking.
9. Think long-term over short-term
Are you ready to marry your domain? You should be because it will be one of the biggest elements that define your business and brand for years.
If you decide to change the domain in the future, it will cost you money, branding, and SEO rankings. In short – it’s a huge pain!
When you’re choosing your domain, think long-term.
For example, if your company helps businesses optimize their websites for SEO, you could choose a domain name like, “SEO.tel”
If you think there’s a chance you might expand to more general digital marketing services in the future, like email marketing, PPC, etc. then it might be wise to reconsider your domain name.
You don’t want to pin yourself down to a certain niche if you think you might expand out of that niche.
Therefore, keep your long-term vision in mind when picking your domain name.
10. Check if it’s not trademarked or already used
Before you move forward with a specific domain name, check to see if the name is available on social media sites, as well as if there are any trademarks already registered to the name.
To build your brand, it’s ideal to have the same name across your domain and social networks. This builds familiarity and makes it easy for your visitors, fans, and customers to find you around the web.
Avoid legal issues; you should stay away from names that already have trademarks.
How can you quickly check social networks and trademarks for your potential domain name?
It’s quite easy with a tool like Knowem. Search your potential domain name – it’ll show you if it’s available throughout over 25 popular social networks and if there are any trademarks already registered to the name.
If it’s taken, consider tweaking it so that you can create original social media profiles.
The Revolution Of The Internet
The Future Of New Generic Top-Level-Domains (gTLDs)
Bringing some fresh air to the market, new domain extensions have gained a real momentum in recent years.
The latter focus is on the factors that challenge the adoption of nTLDs and the measures that should be taken to foster global recognition.
The following is our takeaway from this overview plus some highlights from our experience with new domain extensions.
What are new gTLDs about?
By encouraging the expansion of the domain name system, the New gTLD Program aims to enhance innovation, competition, and consumer choice.
The new set of TLDs was carefully selected by businesses, communities, and governments, and was aimed at solving specific problems on the market.
Up until this time, domain owners had a choice of only 22 generic and over-crowded TLDs at hand (.com, .net, etc.), which gave them slim chances of nailing down a short, memorable, and relevant web address for their sites.
What are the new gTLDs’ key advantages?
Today, more than 6 years after the first new gTLDs delegations, domain owners can choose from more than 1200 new domain extensions for their websites.
Bringing a wealth of advantages to the market, new gTLDs are expected to settle in consumers’ minds for a long time.
They are eye-catching, niche-relevant, and are often easier to acquire than the over-crowded legacy extensions like .COM or .NET, for example.
Here is what makes them so attractive in comparison to the classic extensions:
Variety – with more than 1200 new domain name extensions to choose from on the market, domain owners are presented with a wealth of sky-is-the-limit opportunities for naming their website(s).
Availability – the newly introduced TLD is just 6 years old, as compared to the 30-year old .COM TLD; hence, a domain owner is presented with a lot more opportunities to get a winning combination for their website than if they go with a .COM extension, for example;
Relevance – new TLDs empower domain owners to search for a domain name by niche, topic or target audience. This way, they can choose the one that is most relevant to their brand or message;
Customization – new TLDs allow domain owners to step outside the norm and customize the ending of their website address – an option not available back in the ‘classic period’. They can fully synchronize their site with their online presence and not be limited to an all-purpose, neutral TLD;
Opportunities – new domain extensions offer individuals and businesses exciting new ways of communicating their brand and promoting their services to their target audiences.
What are the challenges with new gTLDs?
Undoubtedly, new gTLDs have become increasingly accepted worldwide.
There are a few factors, however, that could be slowing down adoption rates, as follows:
Psychological barriers – the human mind is set to accept “new” with criticism and caution until it has proven to be trustworthy and starts being recommended by others; with just 5 years on the market, it looks like new TLDs will need some more time to grow on users and become the new norm in their minds;
Insufficient public awareness – there is still a lack of awareness among the general public about the importance and variety of new TLDs; the majority of users still perceive classic TLDs as the norm and would rather select a neutral domain that is not fully relevant to their website than go for a TLD that could offer a 100% match for their online identity;
Oversaturation of choices – with more than 1200 new TLDs competing for their attention, users might get discouraged when trying to choose the “right” or most relevant extension for their specific online project;
Technical incompatibilities – as with any new technology, compatibility could be an issue. There are still some web apps and services, which do not recognize new TLDs as valid.
For this reason, ICANN has formed the Universal Acceptance Steering Group (uasg.tech), to encourage software engineers and website owners to update their systems accordingly to accept new TLDs.
Will new gTLDs become the norm anytime soon?
Despite the continuing predominance of classic TLDs in the consumer mindset, new TLDs have great potential for becoming the new norm in the foreseeable future.
Observing the user choice trends over the past few years, we’ve seen a growing preference for TLDs that work best for users’ particular online presence over the classic TLD choices.
When registering a domain, a growing number of users seem to no longer distinguish between TLDs by the date of release (classic vs new TLDs).
They search by niche or topic, looking for the one that is most relevant to their brand or audience instead.
We’ve seen that small companies looking to start an online business are more likely now than ever before to choose an extension like .COMPANY, .SERVICES, or .DEALS than a classic extension.
A personal website owner in turn would prefer a .SPACE, .SITE or .FUN TLD over the established neutral extensions.
Looking at the age of domain buyers, industry experts (in the research article cited above) have found out that millennials – the generation with more enthusiasm to start up new online projects than the boomers, are more open to new TLDs.
And, as we may guess, the millennials’ online initiatives are only going to grow in the near future.
Looking at the bigger picture, we can see that big corporations like Google are recognizing the potentialities of new TLD and are opting to register domains with new extensions in addition to classic ones.
From a technical point of view, search engines treat new TLDs the same as .COM with regards to SEO and indexing.
Social media giants like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn now recognize new TLDs as valid.
Major tech pioneers like Apple and Microsoft keep investing efforts in publicizing the need for global acceptance of new extensions.
All that combined with the ICANN UASG group’s dedication to promoting a more open Internet, the widespread recognition of new gTLDs is not far away from turning into a reality.