“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet”
This quote by Shakespeare couldn’t be more wrong when it comes to picking the right domain name. A domain name is the identity of your business. It is the way people will identify with your brand, such as Vipra Business and how they will find you. It has to be clear, succinct, easy to convey and interesting all at the same time. Moreover, it is the first impression that your audience will have of your business. Your business should live up to the expectations that are built by your domain name. Thus, it is no exaggeration that your choice of domain name will either elevate your business or bury it completely.
What is a Domain Name?
A domain name is an online address and is formally called the URL (uniform resource locator) of your website. Without a domain name existence of a website cannot be imagined.
Just like how people have a first name, middle name and a surname, your domain name has the following:
Prefix: an internet application protocol – It can be either HTTP (standard) or https (secured)
Sub-domain: Third level domain – www (some use it and some don’t)
Name: Second level domain – This is what you need to choose or pick
Extension: Top-level domain – .com, .net, .org, .jp, .ru and also based on country of origin like .in (India), .uk (United Kingdom), .ca (Canada) etc
The entire domain name will look something like this:
Now that we have our basics covered, let’s look at some tips on how to choose a domain name that best fits the nature of your business, suits your personality and appeals to your target audience.
1. Identify the perfect keywords:
The first step in deciding on a good domain name for your business is to brainstorm. You should ideally come up with ten different terms that are descriptive of your services. For example, if you have a wedding dress boutique, your keywords would be wedding, dress, beautiful, elegant, classy, bride etc.
Now, try to mix and match the words to find a combination that sounds good and fits well with your vision. If all else fails, use a handy thesaurus to find similar words that express the same idea.
2. Go with .com
As of 2017, 46.8% of domain names globally end with the domain extension .com. Another 4.3% end with .net. Numbers don’t lie. It is best to register a domain with .com to ensure that your site gets maximum web traffic, especially since people are so used to typing .com after a website address. Also, think of it this way, would you rather buy high-end shoes from Woodland.com or Woodland.net?
One drawback is that, since .com has been around for over 35 years, a lot of domain names ending with this prefix are already taken. This will require for you to be a bit creative or find an alternate name that serves the same purpose.
3. Short and sweet does the trick
Shorter domain names earn favor among users because they are easier to remember, simpler to type and rolls off the tongue better. The best rule to follow is not to use more than three words in a domain name. Which sounds better? BestChocolateCakesOnline.com or ChocolateCakes.com? It is not without reason that the top 5 websites globally have an average of only six characters in their domain name.
4. Keep it classy
You may want to look trendy by using the current “it” words and short forms. However, as soon as trend passes, your domain name will sound old and irrelevant. Put some thought into choosing a domain name that will withstand the test of time.
5. Stay away from misspellings and abbreviations
It may seem like a great idea to register something with 2 instead of two, 4 instead of four, or U instead of you. However, it will result in misspellings, and your customers will not be able to find you when they need to. Abbreviations also deal with the same problem. For example, Flickr.com eventually had to acquire the domain Flicker.com in order to cater to all the customers being misdirected. This leads us to the next point.
Also, try to stay clear of words that can be spelled in multiple ways like barbecue/barbeque and collectible/ collectible.
6. Register similar domain names
Once you have found the best domain name, be meticulous in registering all similarly spelled domain names as well as their .net, .in, .org, .ru versions. This will help you to redirect the traffic of customers who are misspelling your domain name or using the wrong extension right back to your website. Moreover, you can prevent other businesses from acquiring similar domain names and eating a chunk out of your potential sales in the future. This is especially crucial if that similarly-named business ends up getting a better ranking on search engines in the future.
7. Try to incorporate your service into the name
A domain name that clearly specifies your services will resonate well with your target audience. It will also give you a decent level of visibility on search engines. Something that includes the location of your business will also give you an edge.
HairSpa.com instead of Styletrends.com zeroes in on the exact nature of your business and translates into attracting the right customer; though it may not sound as fancy.
8. Be creative
Avoid generic domain names. They don’t go down well and makes your services look unreliable. Customers will be suspicious about the quality of cars available from bestcarrentalservicesindia.com but would find RentAcar.com easy to identify with and trust.
If you can’t think of anything original that doesn’t already exist, take inspiration from Google, Bing or Yahoo. Create your own short, catchy name that is quirky, interesting and memorable to resonate with your customers.
9. Name for the future
It is important that you have a clear picture of the future of your company when you are zeroing in on an ideal domain name. Imagine that you are a company that sells only bags right now, but plan to expand and sell fashion accessories. Instead of FashionableBags.com consider AllThingsFashion.com. Trying to change your domain name after you have established your brand is a digital nightmare.
10. Research before you finalize
Search the web extensively to see if your desired domain name is being used elsewhere. One reason for this is to avoid the legal issue of copyright infringement. Another reason is to make sure that your domain name is available on social media platforms. This will help your customers to identify and follow your brand anywhere on the web.
11. Use your location in your name
With the advent of smartphones, more and more customers are looking for specific services in their location. Weaving the name of the place into your domain name will direct local customers to your doorstep. For example, DelhiFlowers.in gives a clear idea about the location and the service. However, you have to be sure that you are not planning to expand your business to other locations in order for your domain name to stay relevant.
12. Try out a domain name generator
If you still can’t make up your mind, a domain name generator is not a bad bet. They will help you to find domain name options that are unique and available. Some great domain name generators are Wordoid, LeanDomainSearch and Domain Hole. These generators match your keywords, generating many permutations and combinations that may not have struck you previously.
The domain name game is one which requires a lot of thought and consideration. Even after you zone in on a great name for your domain, you may get stuck again if it is already being used elsewhere. Worse yet, you may find that the domain name you desire is in high demand and very expensive. There’s nothing wrong with taking your time to choose the perfect name. It is a long-term commitment and one which cannot be reversed easily.
A great way to know if your domain name works is to run it past a few friends or colleagues. Ask them to spell it and pronounced. If more than half of them struggle with this, you may need to rethink your name choice. Be flexible and open to constructive criticism and suggestions.
Creative prowess, patience, and perseverance are required to pick just the right domain name for your business. However, once you stumble upon something that clicks and resonates with your customer, there is nothing that can stop the growth of your business.
On a parting note, we leave you with this quote from Bob Parsons, founder of famous and renowned website GoDaddy.com:
“A domain name is your address, your address on the Internet. We all have a physical address; we’re all going to need an address in cyberspace. They’re becoming increasingly important. I believe we’ll get to the point where when you’re born, you’ll be issued a domain name”.
Photo by HenryLeongHimWoh