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Many business owners mistakenly think of a domain name as just an address for their website, it’s so much more than that.
Consequently, there are a number of factors you should seriously consider when brainstorming domain name ideas. Below, we give you a quick rundown of tips for selecting a great domain name. You’ll be able to nail one that’s smart and effective by sticking to these simple guidelines.
Your domain name is the face of your company—in the form of a URL. Therefore, you should make sure it actually sounds like a brand.
Make it pronounceable
This tip is closely related to our first bit of advice. Even though users aren’t likely to be saying your domain name out loud, pronounce ability is still important. This is because of something called processing fluency: the ease with which our brains can process information. Names that don’t require a person to think too hard are usually the easiest to remember, and also more likely to inspire positive associations.
Keep it short, but not too short
Shortness can help keep a domain name simple and memorable, but going too short can have the opposite effect. Compare “PastaScience.com” to “PastaSci.com”. Thanks to the abbreviation, the latter is harder to both pronounce and remember, despite it having fewer characters. The first version works fine.
The key here is to strike a balance. Go for something brief, but don’t mangle your name by hacking off whole parts of words.
Go after .com
When it comes to extensions, being unique isn’t always better. While new extensions like “.me” or “.pro” may feel hip and eye-catching, “.com” is still the easiest to remember and most often used. In fact, ¾ of all websites use a “.com” extension.
If you can’t get the “.com”, go with other well-known extensions like “.co.za” or “.net” or “.org”. Then plan on acquiring the .com in the future. Of course, you’ll need to check who owns the .com first. If a big brand already owns your preferred .com, you won’t be able to afford to buy it from them down the road. Unless you make mega bucks.
Avoid trademark infringement & confusion
The ideal domain name is distinctive. It shouldn’t be easily confused with the name of another site or brand. After all, you don’t want any lawsuits on your hands. If your domain name infringes on a trademark, you could be sued and forced to give up the domain.
Make it instantly intuitive
The ideal domain name should give users a good idea of what your business is all about. For instance, Rand Fishkin uses “PastaPerfected.com” as an example of an intuitive domain name for a site all about pasta. Right off the bat, a potential customer can make a good guess as to what they’ll find at that site (perfect pasta!). Your domain name should have the same effect.
Don’t Try to be Clever
Forget about hard-to-spell, long and clever words or anything too complex—unless you want to make it hard for people to remember your url. Do yourself a favor: dump the cutesy names and don’t use numbers—they won’t help. Best practice? A name with only one possible spelling.
The creative process of choosing a name for your website is just as important as choosing a design for it. Just as you need a rational, strategic way to run your business, finding a memorable and successful name for your website requires that same rational strategy.