There’s a few key rules when it comes to choosing a good domain name.
What is a domain name?
To put it simply, your domain name is how people will find your website. It’s where your website lives. Think of your domain name as the address of your website. Just like you might live at 1 Smith Street, your website will live at www.yourdomain.com
Your domain is how your visitors will remember your business and the first thing they see before your website.
How to get a domain name
It’s quite simple to get a domain name. In fact, you can own as many domain names as you want!
Most people will opt for their business name which is exactly what you should do. Keeping your domain name relevant to your business is a must.
Here’s a few tips to choosing a good domain name:
1. Keep it short, but not too short
Remember that people have to be able to remember your domain name, but also spell it and write it out. The longer your domain name, the more chance of people getting it wrong or forgetting it completely.
If your business is Jack and Jill’s Painting and Decorating Service, then you won’t want a domain name that looks like this: www.jackandjullspaintinganddecoratingservice.com. It’s just too long.
You can opt to shorten it to something like www.jackandjillpainting.com or www.jandjpainting.com and refer to your business as “J and J” so the branding sticks in people’s heads.
2. Go for your brand name rather than keyword stuffing
A lot of people think they have to have keywords in their domain name to be found. What once used to be the case many moons ago, it’s not so much now. Of course having the word “painting” in your domain will help because it’s an important keyword to your business, but having the full words “painting and decorating” won’t. Having a single keyword descriptor in your domain will also help people see straight away what your service is. A domain that is simply www.jackandjill.com could be anything from a painter to the page with lyrics to a nursery rhyme! You can simply use your name if this is your brand. For example, my other website is www.belindaowen.com because I am my business. I could have also used www.belindaowenwebsites.com which also would have been acceptable.
Some businesses will also choose to go with www.paintinganddecoratingipswich.com. While this is a great key phrase and search term, it’s very generic and doesn’t make your business distinct. Your business will actually end up lost in the keyword search for painters in Ipswich because it will be confused with other similar businesses targeting those keywords. Using your brand in your domain name will help you stand out from the rest in a big long list of search results.
3. Make it memorable, but not confusing
Make sure your domain is memorable, but not so left of field that people forget it. For example, you might not opt for a domain www.jackandjillwentupahill.com because it’s not memorable to your business. Sure it’s unique and maybe even a bit funny. but it’s not practical. Using words that are made up can work if you’re building a memorable brand. For example companies like Google, Chrisco and Nestle are not words used in common English, but they are memorable that everyone know who they are.
4. Always select a .com domain
When choosing your domain name, you want to opt for the .com version. This is usually the hardest one to get because so many domain names are now in use – or just taken and placed in a holding jar for a rainy day! There are also domains called “Premium” domains which are usually short, catchy domains that fetch a premium price. If your business name is one of these, you might need to add a word on the end of it to lower the price.
Enter your preferred domain in the domain name finder of any registrar and see how you go. You might need to play around with the words until you get one that works.
The .com is the most common domain extension and the most recognised. You can opt for .org if you’re a registered organisation or .net which is good for technology based companies.
I would also recommend you purchasing the .com.au (or your country extension) version of your domain as well. It not only makes it a little harder for competitors to copy your business, but increases your authority in your local search area. I would highly recommend using a .com.au for local service based businesses or businesses only operating in Australia.
Don’t go for the funny domain extensions like .pizza or .cleaning because they can be confusing and they’re not common, so people can forget your domain. Most people type in .com by default when they search a domain.
5. Purchase your domains for a minimum of 2 years and set to autorenew
Your domain is one of your businesses most treasured commodities. You don’t want to run the risk of losing it! When you buy a domain, try and secure it for a minimum of 2 years as this says to search engines you’re committed. But it also means you won’t be having to renew it straight away. I also recommend you set your domain to autorenew. Again, you don’t want to forget to pay that bill and lose your domain and your website!