How to Choose a Domain Name for Your Business in 6 Steps
Elizabeth Kraus has more than a decade of first-hand experience building and growing a boutique digital marketing agency and double that in small and mid-size business marketing management. She provides expert answers to marketing questions related to branding, content marketing, web development, email, social media, and SEO.
Jocelyn Dimaculangan has spent 14+ years in the online publishing industry while studying digital marketing and SEO trends. As a staff writer for Fit Small Business, she shares her expertise by creating articles that tackle the latest trends in marketing.
The best domain names are short, memorable, on-brand, and can even boost your rankings in online search. To choose a domain name, first try using your business name. If that isn’t possible, create a list of alternatives, incorporate keywords, choose the right domain extension, research the domain’s history, and finally, register your domain.
Create a List of Alternative Domain Names
Unless you have an extremely unique business name, the chances of the domain name being available are slim. Before you begin your search, come up with a list of at least five to 10 other ideal domain names you can use. Adding words like “The” or “My” or “Your” can make all the difference—as evidenced by domains like TheKnot.com.
Using relevant keywords in your domain name not only increases brand retention, but can also boost its standing with search engines. Keywords tell both human visitors and search engines what your site is about, so choose keywords that describe your brand, such as FlyAsiana.com.
If you get stuck, try using keyword research tools to help you choose a domain name for a business. Choosing a search engine optimization (SEO)-friendly domain name can improve your site’s ranking on search engines, which, in turn, increases traffic. For more tips for choosing a domain name, read our guide on insightful domain name ideas for business websites.
Domain name extension
When you choose a domain name, one of your choices will be what domain extension or Top Level Domain (TLD) extension to use. There are hundreds of top-level domains from which to choose. Here is the breakdown of the most popular ones.
1. Choose a unique name
If you are marketing yourself, ideally you’ll be able to use your first and last names (johnsmith.com or janesmith.com). Even if you aren’t marketing yourself, it’s not a bad idea to register your name as a domain now, in case you want to use it in the future. If you are marketing your business, you should see if your business name (yourbusiness.com) is available.
Using a search engine like Google, search for your proposed blog or website name. Does your search show any sites with similar domain names? If it does, try a different name. Giving your website a name that’s similar to other existing sites is the first step to failure. Also, don’t choose names that are plural or misspelled versions of existing sites.
Pick at least five words or phrases that describe the key topic of your website. Write them down, then mix and match the words to create possible domain names. Choose one that sounds good and will be memorable.
There’s a rule in advertising that says when launching a new product, you need to start by making a list of ten names. The first three are easy. Maybe you can do five or six without breaking a sweat, but by the time you get to the last one, you’ll be stuck for more ideas. Using the outline described above, choose the best one from your list and you are on your way. Don’t be afraid to ask some friends what they like. That’s the best way to help choose your domain name!
3. Make it easy to type
If you have to spell out your domain name more than once for it to be understood, then it won’t work. Keep the name simple to remember and easy to enter in an address bar or search field.
Why is simplicity important? Because you don’t want your future visitors to incorrectly type in your name and be directed to a different site. A classic example is the popular social media site, Flickr.com, introduced in 2005. Four years later, the company had to acquire Flicker.com for a large sum of money in order to redirect the many visitors who misspelled their name. If you’re determined to have that oddly spelled name, make sure common misspellings are also available so you can register them and redirect visitors to the main domain.
4. Choose “.com” first
Up to 75% of all websites are “.com” domains. It is still the preferred extension and the easiest to remember. If your number one name choice isn’t available, then try your second choice before accepting other TLDs. Remember that some browsers accept address-only entries in their address bar. If you type just the domain name (and who knows how many of your users will just do that?) they will return, by default, to the “.com” site.
5. Make it brandable
Your domain name will be your brand. Some names speak for themselves. When you hear the name, you know what the website is about. Take a look at 50+ examples of blogs, and you’ll see that most popular websites have brandable names.
6. Shorter is always better
As we’ve been saying, shorter is better. If you can’t get your domain name down to one memorable word (almost impossible to come by these days), then consider adding one or a maximum of two more words. Combinations of two words work great for memorable names like LifeHacker.com or GeekSquad.com. Also, don’t use an acronym. People will never remember the letters unless it’s a highly catchy name.
7. Avoid trademark problems
Once you’ve decided on your top choices for your site name, make sure you are not violating anyone’s trademarks. To check within the US, visit uspto.gov/trademarks and do the search before you register the name. It is always good to check now because this could kill a great website and business down the road. Also, if you are going to include some big name products, such as Twitter or Facebook, review their terms and conditions. Most will not allow you to use their name in any part of your domain.
8. No numbers or hyphens
Numbers and hyphens (especially hyphens) cause confusion. Stay away from them at all costs. Even something as clever as the number1website.com will cause confusion. Make the name speak for itself.
9. Beware of trends
Anything that deals with something trendy will, like the trend, fade away. Stick with a classic name that will span the generations and not be tied down to a trend or fad. Deciding whether something is a trend or here to stay, is a matter of personal judgment, but it’s usually not too hard to tell.
10. Marry your domain name
It sounds odd, but you have to be absolutely sure you love your domain name. Once it’s set, you have it for years to come. If you decide later to rename it, then you will lose time, money, branding, and rankings. We do not recommend changing your domain once your blog has been alive for a considerable amount of time.
10 Tips on Choosing the Best Domain Name
1. Keep It Short and Simple
As much as possible, keep your domain name short and simple. Yes, you have to consider keywords for your business or personal stuff but make sure it is not lengthy. Choosing a domain name under fifteen characters is ideal. A little bit more than that is not bad, but it doesn’t stand out. Remember, you want your brand to stay on top, right? Plus, you are helping users and customers to avoid typo errors when looking for your website. If they end up typing the wrong domain name, it could lead to lost traffic on your site. Certainly, that is the last thing you want to happen. That is why you need to keep your domain name short and simple. Make it easy to remember.
2. Stick With Your Brand
This is the tricky part of choosing a domain name for your website because you have your brand name to consider, in addition to important stuff like keywords, originality, and simplicity. Using your brand as your domain name is the easiest way to go. It is important to maintain consistency when it comes to brand marketing ideas. Having a unique domain name means giving your business brand a strong pillar. Something that your clients or customers can look up to. With your own brand, you can’t go wrong in choosing a domain name. In fact, it is the most ideal and perfect domain name to use.
3. Don’t Complicate the Pronunciation and Spelling
When choosing a domain name, it is best to not complicate the spelling and pronunciation. Your users might end up searching for another website if your domain name is too difficult to remember. It is always best to use a simple yet unique domain name that will serve as your business trademark. Since you will be using your domain name in your business transactions and communications, you must make it sound professional. Don’t complicate things. Also, you have to think of business-appropriate words. Otherwise, a personal domain name for your website may sound perky. Bonus tip: Avoid hyphens, special characters, or double letters. It may result in lost traffic due to typo errors. This is how you do things right in choosing a domain name.
4. Research Thoroughly
It’s always smart to do thorough research in choosing a domain name. If you have a list of perfect domain names for your business, check out possible duplicate matches online. According to WPbeginner, it is very important to perform a trademark search before registering a domain name. This way, you can avoid similar or exact names registered and trademarked. When you sign up with Strikingly, you can choose from over a hundred domain names to choose from, and it’s absolutely unique and updated.
5. Pick the Perfect Domain Name Generators
It is clever to use domain name generators, just like what we got here at Strikingly. Simply put in your preferred domain name and check if it’s available. Choosing the best domain name generators can be a time-consuming task for beginners, but you can always check out online or this blog from WPbeginner to come up with the perfect domain name.
6. Choose the Best Place to Register a Domain Name
When it comes to the best place to buy a website and register a domain name, we got you covered here at Strikingly. We make domain name registration simple, fast, and easy so that you can focus on what is more important for your business. We’re pretty sure you come across the best website builder and web hosting services, but our intuitive tools and features will definitely make your brand stand out. Choosing a domain name must be supported with the best place to register it. It is not enough that you’ve come up with a perfect domain name for your website; choose the best site builder that will also give you the best web services plus exciting freebies you need to go live. These are some of the very important things that you should consider.
7. Get Free Custom Domain and Web Hosting
Choosing a domain name is a tough job while getting free web hosting is another thing. Why do you need to consider a website builder covering everything from a custom domain to hosting? Because it saves you from unnecessary costs. Strikingly has affordable yearly plans that include free unlimited hosting and a free domain name when you buy a site. Who says free domain name? Yes, we have it free with any of our premiums. Customizing your website gives a professional impression to your customers online. It is more exciting that you can assure them of a seamless and secure online transaction with our web services. You may check out our pricing plans to help you decide.
Guide on How to Register Domain With Strikingly
∙ Choose Your Domain Name
You need to type in your desired domain name and click “SEARCH DOMAIN”. It will provide you with a list of suggested domains displays, you will see the results if it’s available, or there will be recommendations. You can take one free domain offer or domain credit in your first year. Pick the number of years you want the domain to be registered. One year is the default. Then, click Register.
∙ Fill Your Personal Information
∙ Verify Domain Ownership Via Email
∙ Connect Your Domain to Your Website
If you purchase your domain from the site editor, your domain will automatically be connected to your site. If you purchase your domain from the dashboard, you’ll need to manually connect your domain to your site with the steps below.