How to Choose a Domain Name

Your domain name is more than your online address. It’s your online identity and the public face of your brand. Choosing the best name for your online presence is an important decision. A creative, memorable name plays a big part in drawing visitors to your site. However, getting it right might be a challenge. Don’t worry, we’re here to help you out! If you want to know how to choose the domain name that perfectly represents you online, then read on.

What is a domain name?

Let’s start with the basics. A domain name is the address that people fill in the browser bar. Otherwise known as a URL. For example, the domain name for bluehost is bluehost.com. You can buy your desired domain name at domain registries. If it’s still available, of course! If you want to know more, read our blog on how domain names work.

The in-depth answer

Domain names are a user-friendly way to avoid dealing with a website’s true online address: the Internet Protocol adress. The IP address is a string of numbers with a few other characters thrown in. While it is a unique code, it’s also nearly impossible to remember. That’s where domain names come in. They stand in for the unwieldy IP address with a word-based format that’s easier to remember. 

Now you know what a domain name is. But how do you choose the right one for your business? 

Tips on how to pick the perfect domain name

Think like a visitor

When deciding on a domain name, it might be helpful to think like a potential visitor to your website. What kinds of names related to your brand or business are easiest to remember? And which ones stand out for their originality? Keep in mind that your name should also be an accurate representation of your brand. Consider the most important features of your brand and the message they convey, then look for phrases, words, and keywords that express those ideas.

Make your domain name brandable

People form an impression of someone within seconds of meeting them. The same is true when they first encounter your domain name. The name you choose is the online representation of your brand, so it should reflect the service or product you’re offering as well as the values and mission of your brand. Why? Because it will make it easier for potential customers to remember you.

However, don’t use too generic keywords. Chances are that other companies already use these. And you want to stand out from the competition. It’s also important to think long-term about your domain name. Too many keywords might create limitations if your business changes focus later on. You could always change your name, but this will be difficult if you used it everywhere for a long time. 

How do you make your name memorable?

Studies have shown that the most familiar domain names in the world, such as Google, Apple, Facebook, and Twitter, share some key characteristics: they’re creative, instantly recognizable, easy to pronounce and spell—and short.

While keywords can help with searches for your domain, use them sparingly. Consider getting creative with an obscure word or phrase that evokes the spirit of your brand. You could also use an existing word in a new way. The most memorable websites typically have short, punchy names that are between 6 and 14 characters long. This makes them easy to remember and type into a web browser.

Word of mouth

Let’s imagine the best case scenario: people are starting to talk about your brand. Word of mouth is a great way to organically grow your audience. That’s why it’s important to choose a domain name that’s also easy to say. Avoid names that contain numbers, hyphens, or other special characters that make them hard to pronounce and remember. But what if your company has a long name? Consider using its initials, perhaps in combination with a single relevant keyword.

Choose the best domain extension

Aside from choosing a name, the part that comes after the “dot” can also influence your business. The most recognizable domain extension is still .com, even though many more are now available. New extensions like .church or .photo can help to instantly convey what a site is about, but more fanciful choices such as .me or .pizza may not convey the right image—or stand the test of time. In most cases, .com remains the best choice because of its familiarity and association with commerce and reliability. If .com is not available, you can consider other neutral extensions such as .net or .info.

Claim your domain name in all possible ways

Make sure your domain name represents you everywhere. It would be a shame if you found a great name, but it was unavailable as a Twitter handle. You want your brand to be consistently represented, so check if your name is available on all the platforms you wish to use.

Another option to consider are possible alternatives to your desired name, including potential misspellings. If possible, purchase those domains too. This will decrease the chance of another company choosing a similiar name. You can imagine how confusing that might be for visitors! A (pro) tip: use the other domain names to redirect to your website. This will ensure visitors always land on your website. Even if they misspell your domain name.

Conclusion: do your research

The Internet is home to more than 1.3 billion websites. There’s a good chance that your domain name, however unique and creative it may sound, has already been taken. That’s why it’s important to research your domain name carefully. By using domain name generators, keyword searches, and trademark searches, you can make sure your domain name doesn’t infringe on other existing uses. Because that could lead to legal action and the need to start over with a different name.

Choosing the right domain name to be the online face of your brand or company can be a challenging task. With planning and careful consideration, however, you can create an unforgettable domain name that stands the test of time.

Reminder!

Once you have picked the perfect domain, don’t forget to do the following:

  • pick a domain registrar
  • pick a web host

Are you ready to choose your domain? Use our Bluehost domain name generator and select the perfect website name to start you on your online journey!

Tiffani Anderson
Tiffani Anderson |
Tiffani is the Content and Social Marketing Manager for the Bluehost brand. She has a passion for creating engaging content, SEO and social media!

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