For the majority of our projects the customer’s domain name is a given. With startups we get involved in the strategy and then we assist in domain name selection, in those instances we have the following process/rules:
Brainstorm 5-10 keywords for your Product/Service
This list will provide the basis for you to mix and match all the keywords to form a domain. A process, for example if you are setting out to launch a mortgage related website would be to start with words like “mortgage, finance, interest rate, house payment” then manipulate them until you come up with a series you like – then open a site like domainmonster.com and check if they are available.
When brainstorming focus on:
- The product/Service (e.g. Show stand erectors)
- Your solution – if it is one
- Your location/target market (If relevant – e.g. Hampshire)
e.g. Hampshire stand erectors
Remember, read it from a visitor viewpoint and establish if the title communicates what you do.
Make the Domain Unique
Getting your site confused with another would be a disaster, so stay away from domains that are just plurals, hyphenated or misspelled versions of a domain that is already running.
Identify your geographic market
If your business is global then you should attempt to source the .com however if you are very local or country specific then source a local suffix, eg – .co.uk for the UK or .com.au for Australia etc. A particular benefit is that a country specific domain assists Google in identifying your websites target market and thus your local rankings get a boost.
Suffixes (.com, .net, .biz, .org etc)
We would generally recommend that you focus on a top level domain – one that has the country suffix (mydomain.co.uk for example) rather than a non-std suffix (mydomain.net).
Our opinion is that the more std a domain name is the more “trust” and credibility the domain imparts. In rare instances the suffix can be a value add to the domain for example BBC.tv however, even here one would use it with care as it is “not naturally” a domain name.
Ensure the domain is easy to type
If a domain name requires attention to type correctly, with complex spelling or long (boring!) words you’ve lost a good portion of your branding and marketing opportunities – as ever “keep it simple stupid”.
Of course do not forget you will an email on this domain so it is particularly important that it be “easy”.
Make it Easy to Remember
Word-of-mouth and the ease with which the domain can be called to mind significantly enhances its opportunity of being remembered and thus being passed on.
Keep it as short as possible
Short names are easy to type and easy to remember (the previous two rules). They also allow for more characters in the URL in the SERPs and a better fit on business cards and other offline media.
Use the domain name to identify your business
Ideally a domain name should identify the type of business that the website serves. So when a domain is mentioned it should be patently obvious what is done “under the hood”. eg careerbuilder.com and autotrader.com.
It is critical that you check for copyright (When we say copyright we mean in a business sense NOT in a digital sense) in your target market – make sure you check visit copyright.gov and search before you buy.
Set Yourself Apart with a Brand
If possible try and find something unique it is a great way to build additional long term brand recognition. Bear in mind that long domains are not as powerful as short sharp product specific domains.
Reject Hyphens and Numbers
Hyphens and numbers are a no-no for communicating your domain verbally or in terms of being easy to type.
Latest trends are not good
Whilst a lot of sites are now trendy in their naming conventions – trendy is what it is – fashionable today but not tomorrow – your domain name is fundamental to your business and it needs to last for a very long long time.
Think of those businesses who were named “AAA… x” not sure that they walk away with pride now!
Most domain providers offer bulk search tools – so there is no one solution here.