Choosing a domain name can be one of the most important steps in establishing your brand or business. Your domain name is often one of the first things someone sees, and it can affect their impression of your website and your brand. A carefully chosen domain name may increase user interest and drive web traffic, while a carelessly chosen one might do the opposite.
While it isn't an exact science, and there are few absolute rules, here are some guiding principles for picking a name that reflects and helps your brand.
The making of a good domain name
When it comes to a domain name, less is more. Shorter names are easier to remember and to type, which means users are more likely to find you. It's also easier to stand out when there's less to read. It's a good idea not to exceed two to three words.
You want people to remember your domain name and type it accurately. Complicated or uncommon words or names may be hard to remember and spell correctly.
Relevant words help users find you in a search and recognise what you do at a glance. Keywords can include what you do or offer (like 'coffee' or 'cleaning'), or even your location. Including your location (such as 'Melbourne') in your domain name may also help you target local customers and users.
Your domain name should reflect your brand, and vice versa. Brands can take time to develop, and including your unique brand name in your domain can help you stand out, gain recognition and increase visits to your website. When creating your brand name and domain name, make sure that you don't use any existing brand names or trademarks.
While it may seem obvious, your domain name should be the same as your brand name, or as close to it as possible. You don't want to confuse people who type in your domain name and get to a website with a different name.
Good, not perfect
Many people get caught up trying to choose the perfect name, when that time could be spent building a great brand around a perfectly good domain name. Don't let choosing a perfect domain hold you back from starting your business or project.
An average domain name is better than no domain name.
Going beyond .com
The most popular domain ending or TLD (top-level domain) is .com, but there are now a wide variety of TLDs, ranging from .academy to .coffee to .photography. You can find the full list of new TLDs that Google Domains offers on this page.
With many TLDs to choose from, brands now have more options to create a distinctive domain name that quickly communicates the purpose and value of their offering. Because new TLDs haven't been around that long, short and memorable domain names are often still available. Another plus: they don't adversely affect your search ranking. However, a lot of people may still default to typing in .com, so many businesses also purchase the .com version of their domain name and then point that domain to their main website address.
Get the full scoop on TLDs and what's right for you in our post about how to choose between traditional and new domain endings.
Things to avoid
Some elements could negatively impact how people perceive your domain name, such as:
- Numbers or dashes in your name. These characters are hard to type and might lower the perceived credibility of your website and business.
- Funny spellings or words that can be spelled different ways (like 'way' or 'too'). These might make it hard for people to find your site.
- Misspellings. These can make your site seem suspicious and make people worry it's a phishing or malware site.
- Brand names and trademarks used by other companies. These should never be used in your domain name; trying to do so can lead to legal action and suspension of your domain.
Now that you know some important guidelines, the next steps are brainstorming, research and seeing which domains are available. As you go through this process, make sure that you have some ideas for back-up names in case the domain name that you want isn't available.
Ready to find a great domain name? Start searching now at domains.google.