If you’re in the process of developing a website for your online business, you’re probably trying to pick your website’s name. At some point, you might wonder if the name matters as much as people say.
Won’t customers visit your site if you have great content? Well, don’t count on it. Choosing your domain name is a crucial element of your website’s success and your business’s reputation.
Generating a name requires some careful contemplation. Your website’s title needs to reflect your brand, and it should be easy for you to promote and others to find. It’ll also help with the online impression you make because your URL is the first thing most customers will see. Moreover, these names impact search engine optimization (SEO), affecting how often any website comes up on keyword searches.
Catchy is Better than Generic
The more creative and memorable the website name, the more impact it’ll have. It needs to stand out because it’ll be part of your brand, and you want people to remember and share it. Try inventing a new term to avoid using a generic word or a name stuffed with keywords. After all, it worked for Google!
Another tactic is to use a synonym of the word you’re thinking of using. For example, instead of touting your “writing” business, how about selling it with a brandable name that reflects “composing” or “storytelling”?
Use Niche Keywords
Incorporate a keyword to make your website more searchable and improve your SEO. Suppose you’re setting up a website for your coffee shop. It might be a good idea to use a word like “coffee,” “brew,” or “roast.” Going overboard on keywords will make your name appear more generic than you’d like. Use the keyword early in the name, if possible.
Target Your City or Area
If you’re targeting a local market, consider using your city’s name. For example, “bestcoffeeinDenver.com” might work. It’ll make your website easier for locals to find your business in a search engine. You might also use a geographic extension, such as “.boston.”
Plan for the Long Term
How committed are you to your website? Before you settle on a name, your answer should be “very” because your URL will potentially define your brand for a long time. A name change costs money, and it can affect your branding and disrupt your SEO rankings. That’s why you need a name that will stand the test of time and still be relevant as your business grows. Try not to pin yourself down to a highly specific niche if you think your services will change or expand.
Keep It Short
Keep your website’s name between six and 14 characters so that it stands out and is readable. Because many short names have already been taken, focus more on making your name brandable if it has to be a little longer.
Make It Typeable
Try a simple test. Tell some of your friends your possible website name and ask them to try writing it down or spelling it. If even a few struggle with the name or get it wrong, you need to simplify it. You don’t want a name that you have to explain or spell out verbally. One of the reasons why sites like Facebook and Twitter caught on so quickly is that they’re easy to type.
Make the Name Easy to Pronounce
Wouldn’t it be great to have potential visitors and customers be able to say your website name easily and share it with others effortlessly? The best names roll off the tongue and leave no question of how to say them out loud.
Try another test: Write down the name and ask a few people to pronounce it. Revise the name if just one person has difficulty with it.
Stick with Letters
Because you want people to spell and say your website’s name with ease, avoid using hyphens, underlines, or numbers. Imagine talking about LinkedIn if it had a hyphen in the name. It might be challenging for people to say “Linked-In” and then have to mention the hyphen. A name has to be smooth and catchy, and hyphens get in the way.
You should also avoid numbers (e.g., “2” rather than “two”) because people might not be clear on how to spell them. They also could diminish your website’s credibility.
Make Sure It’s Available (and Not Trademarked)
Suppose you’ve come up with the perfect name for your website. It’s short, catchy, easy to type, and reflects your brand beautifully. There’s another thing you must not overlook—whether your name is available and that it’s not already trademarked. To do a thorough check, see if your name already exists on social media sites, and search on Google or other search engines.
Are there any trademarks registered to the name you’ve chosen? Finding this out ahead of time will help you avoid legal snags. Even a variation on a trademarked name isn’t good enough; steer clear of anything remotely similar to your brand. Taking these precautions will help you avoid legal trouble down the road. Sites like Knowem make trademark searching relatively easy.
If your name’s not available, tweak it a bit so that you still have something original. If you’re stuck on creating the perfect name for your website, try using a generator like Lean Domain Search, Domain Wheel, and DomainHole. Many of them allow you to use keywords to search for brandable and available names.
Choose the Appropriate Extension
Does it matter whether your site is a “.com,” “.net,” or “.org”? Indeed, it does. Overall, the “.com” extension is the best choice because almost 43 percent of all websites use it. A “.com” is the easiest type of website to remember. If the “.com” extension is not available, you might use “.net” or “.org” instead. A better strategy would be to tweak your website name so you can still use “.com.”
Register and Host Your Site’s Name
Registering your website’s name and finding a hosting service are two separate steps, but they’re not complicated. First, virtually anyone can register their name with very little money. To do this, locate a web hosting provider or an independent domain registrar. To complete this step, you need the website’s complete name and a credit or debit card for payment.
You also need a hosting service. Whereas registrars maintain records of used website names and reserve a “spot” for your domain, web hosting sites provide a place for your website to “live.” There are web hosting companies that offer a variety of plans to fit most budgets and needs. You can even link a blog platform to your newly hosted website.
Don’t Wait Too Long
Time is of the essence when setting up your URL because the name you want will probably sell out quickly.
While you can hold off finding a hosting site, you must register as soon as possible. If you have the budget, you might want to register your domain with various extensions, for example, “.org,” “.net,” and “.biz” to prevent competing websites from buying up domains similar to yours. Also, consider buying domains with varied spellings of your name.
Don’t Let Perfect Get in the Way of Great
You already know that creating the perfect name for your website takes time and careful thought. However, don’t take so much time that you never get it done. The excess time spent on the name could instead go toward marketing, building a client list, or other activities necessary for launching your business. Your name doesn’t have to be perfect; just make it ideal for your business.
Choosing your domain name is an essential milestone in setting up your website and personal brand. It’s the portal to your business, and the thing with which customers will form their impression of you. A carefully crafted domain name can make a significant difference in web traffic, reputation, and sales.
If you haven’t yet started, take the first step in brainstorming a name. Research it and get feedback from those you trust. Take the time you need so you can set yourself up for success online and if you need some assistance we are always here to help. Feel free to Contact Us.