So you’ve decided to start your own website, but are struggling to work out what domain name to purchase. You want your domain to be memorable and practical and have spent hours Googling and searching for available names or maybe you don’t even know where to start.
Good news! Our SEO expert Matt Bailey has done all the research for you and developed the perfect domain name recipe that will have your site up and running in no time.
What is a domain name?
When most people think of a domain name, they are thinking about the Top Level Domain (TLD). The TLD is the homepage address of a website -for example, murphycollege.com – with all other content and sub-pages an extension of that address.
The domain name SEO myth
In your travels around the internet, you may have stumbled across websites with oddly specific or generic domain names. A domain like howtochooseadomainname.com are chosen with one thing in mind; search engine ranking.
But the truth is, domain names with keywords don’t rank better. There is no SEO boost to websites with keywords in the domain name. Don’t believe us? Think about where you would visit if you wanted to purchase a book. Odds are you would think of amazon.com, a site named after a rainforest and with no connection to books whatsoever.
SEO boost comes from keywords in page names rather than the domain name itself. For example, amazon.com/romance-novels would receive an additional SEO boost as it’s letting the search engines know what is on that specific page.
What makes a good domain name?
Ok, we know that packing in keywords doesn’t help, what does make a good domain name?
It fits your branding
Does the domain name fit the personality of your brand? An e-commerce store selling party supplies will have a very different vibe to a high-cost software company selling to business customers.
It matches your business name
Sometimes the simple answer is the best! If you can get the exact name of your business there is no better match. If you’re a freelancer, don’t be afraid to use your personal name either.
It’s the name of what you sell
Whether it’s a physical product or a service, the name of what you sell can be a perfect domain name. Womenshoes.com or graphicdesign.com are easily brandable and make it obvious what you do.
This one can be hard, but you want your site to be memorable. A long and complex domain can be hard for people to remember or know what to search if they try to find you again.
It’s easy to type
It’s important that your domain is easy for most people to spell and can type easily. Sometimes words are just awkward to type, so be sure to type your domain name a few times to see how it feels and whether it’s easy to make a typo.
It’s simple and short
This helps make your domain both memorable and easy to type.
Is the domain available on social networks?
Odds are you’ll also want to have accounts across major social networks. So do a quick search to make sure that you can get your domain as an exact match to make it easier to find for your audience.
Domain name ideas
If you still need a little inspiration creating the perfect domain, there are a few tricks you can use to find something that is memorable and fits with your brand.
- Alternate spellings – can you use alternate spellings for your site? Think of sites like tumblr.com.
- Synonyms – are there alternate words you can use with the same meaning?
- New “made-up” words – can sometimes be a great branding tool. For example, Smiggle is a made-up word combining smile and giggle.
- Hyphenated domains – you can add a hyphen between words to get a unique domain name, but it’s best to avoid this if possible as it’s difficult to remember.
- Domain name finders/name generators – can be used to search for unique and even made-up words and domain names.
Which domain extension to use
Domain extensions are found after your TLD, and can now be purchased for almost any word you can think of. The default extension is .com, but it’s becoming more difficult to find available domains as many have been purchased and are in use.
Every country also has its own extension, so you can purchase a unique TLD where you live. In some cases, you will need to check to see if there are rules around who can and can’t register a country-specific extension.
Other common extensions include .net, .org for non-profit or charity organisations, and .edu for educational institutions. You can also look at creative extensions where you can pair your domain with a relevant extension. For example, we could purchase murphy.college, but there is almost certainly an extension in your niche or that combines perfectly with your domain name.
Your domain name in a nutshell
- Choosing a domain name is choosing your brand.
- Make it memorable, short, and typeable.
- Think about different domain extensions to set yourself apart.
- And no matter what domain name you choose, it’s important to remember that the success of your business is built on marketing, not the domain name.