Let us start from the beginning. The world of the Internet is your opportunity to cross borders without physically leaving the comfort of your home (especially in these trying times, right?). If looking for a job, new creative outlet, or even deciding to open an online store, you need an address, so people can find you on the world wide web. So, start with a domain name – the address of your online home.
Keep in mind that there are millions of domain names in use, so your goal is to choose the one who represents your business the best. To make sure your domain name in fact stands out from the crowd, you need something memorable.
Here are 10 tips on how to choose a perfect domain name and get recognized in this digital game.
1. Aim for the memorable and unique domain name
The competition out there is fierce. So, your goal is to choose a domain name that is catchy and memorable. To do so, you’ll have to have a set of values and a vision behind your work. You want to show your customers/visitors that you are here for them, and they can expect a great service.
Let’s say for instance you made a tool for a better workflow and you want to reach people who work in teams. To make your domain name brandable, try thinking outside of the box. Figure out what describes your audience the best, and create your domain name in that favor.
Our .MEr did a great job on this part by choosing Beesy.ME for this idea. Not only it’s easy to remember, but it’s unique as well! And keeping the website name the same as your brand name is ideal.
2. Keep your domain name sweet and short
Keeping your domain name short and simple will allow people to remember your online address without any trouble. If you are not sure how short it should be, try aiming for 6 – 14 characters. The only challenge you may face: short domain names are usually already taken. But don’t worry! We already talked about making it memorable, and this is your chance to do it!
Make a list of all words that can be associated with your business. See if they can stand alone, or they need to be combined with another word. Think of something catchy. One of our .MErs found a way to improve the art system and create tools that can protect artists and their art. They simply named their site ArtRights.me. Right to the point, don’t you agree?
3. Avoid numbers and hyphens
You’ve found a great name that can suit your business, but it is already taken. So adding hyphens and numbers might seem like a great idea, but trust us – it’s not! Using numbers always confuses the audience, since they don’t know how to spell the name. By using numbers (4) or by spelling it (four). Thus leading them to your competition.
Not to mention a typical writing mistake when typing hyphens. Misplacing and forgetting the dash is very common. So let your mantra be – always stick to letters! Oh, one more thing – using slang or words with multiple spellings can be a tough one too since they can easily get misspelt.
4. Do a radio test
Domain names need to be easy to type and pronounce, and that is crucial to online success. If your online business has more than one word, you need to be careful when combining them into a domain name. Sometimes it can sound weird, inappropriate or hard to spell.
Now when you have a few options that you already like, it’s time to do a radio test and check it with your friends. Gather around 10 people and ask them to read and spell your name. If more than a few people struggle with it, then you need to simplify it.
5. Use keywords
Keywords are an essential part of SEO. They are the words you type in, for example, Google search box when you are looking for answers. Most users, yourself included, click only on the first few results that come up. If you choose to use keywords in your domain, try putting them at the beginning. This way they are the most powerful for your ranking.
Beware of keyword overstuffing since it can get you nowhere! As we said it before, make it short and memorable! For instance, students in a search for schooling would most likely type “Where to apply for” or “how to apply for”. Making Apply.me a perfect domain name for a website that revolves around education and scholarships.
Read more: SEO 101: Ensure Your Freelance Website Gets Visits
6. Choose your niche
You should choose your domain name according to your business. If your business is local, feel free to include your city or state in your domain name. Thus making it easy for local customers to find you and remember you. But, if your business is expandable, or even online, think beyond your borders.
Let’s imagine you are a graphic designer, and you are choosing a domain name. ArizonaGraphicDesing.me might not work in your favor. Since you can work both locally and online, you can use your own name for your website or online portfolio. NashVail.me and Murilo.me are some of our .MErs who did just that. Making their work more personal.
7. Check the availability
It’s important to have two things checked after choosing a domain name on which you want to build your brand. Availability and trademarks. You want your domain name to be purchasable, and on the other hand, legal.
GoDaddy Domain Appraisals is a place to go if you want to check the trademark and value of your potential domain name. GoDaddy is the largest reseller of aftermarket domain names. It has access to extensive data that can be used to analyze millions of historical domain sales. But what to do if your name is out of your reach?
Read more: Domain Names and Trademarks – What’s the Connection?
8. Don’t sweat it too much if your domain name is taken
Believe it or not, sometimes, if your domain name is already taken, there is a way of buying it. Of course, if it is not in use. Meaning, if it features only ads and not a specific website, it’s most likely on sale from a different source.
If your dream website name is unavailable or too pricey, there is no room for panic. Remember, you can always use the list we mentioned before. Try making your domain name more specific. Add the name of your region/country, or try to personalize your domain name with the right extension. Don’t forget that you can always buy one name now, and change it later on.
9. Make it personal with a right domain name extension
Your extension comes after the final dot in your domain, and it can tell a lot about your website as well. If you are an organization, .org is a natural choice. And .com extension was originally intended for commercial websites. But options are diverse. Nowadays, there are no clear rules regarding which extension to choose in most cases.
It’s important to know there are many options for combining your extension with your name. You can play with words and create a phenomenal call to actions. Label.ME; RipeNear.ME and Join.ME are just some of our .MErs who recognized this chance and took it. Not only these domain names are creative, but they are memorable and great for branding.
10. The next step
Now that you’ve found your perfect online address for your website, it’s time to work on your branding as well. Everything you share on the internet becomes a part of your online identity. That identity, in turn, is slowly shaped and turned into your personal brand.
This being said, your focus should be on sharing a story behind your work, across all your platforms. Giving your experts’ opinion regarding your working field, and doing some good networking with other professionals from your niche. All these things combine will help you grow your business and your brand. Make sure your personal brand stands out in the overgrown crowd with tips from our experts.