Last Updated on August 30, 2020 by Andrew Shih
Choosing a domain name is an important step for any individual and organization that want to have a web presence. A good domain name will give the user a positive impression and more likely to visit your site. So, how to choose a good domain name for your website that will appeal to your audience?
A good domain name is a good first impression
The domain name, title, and meta description are the 3 elements that will show when a user performs a search on the search engine. The domain name represents your brand. The user will already make assumptions about the website’s trustworthiness, professionalism, and relevance just by looking at the domain name all before visiting your website.
With hundreds of millions of websites, it seems all the good domain names have been taken already. It is certainly a challenge and seems impossible to find a good domain name. The good news is that if you combine two English words together, there are billions of combinations so do not give up hope. All it takes is some effort and persistence.
It is possible that you already have a few domain names in mind which you want to validate. If you need help brainstorming the name, please refer to 6 creative domain name ideas for blogs.
3 Essential Criteria for a Good Domain Name
#1: Able to connect with your target audience
Pretend you are just an internet user and not the owner of the site, ask yourself these two simple questions:
What impression do you get from the domain name?
Does it convey trust or credibility to your target audience?
If I perceived the site is not trustworthy or even considered as spam, I will never visit the site. It’s all about knowing your audience and serving your audience. If your site is a collection or about quirky things, a peculiar domain name may work fine. However, a peculiar name most likely won’t work for professional business sites that need to take things seriously.
#2: Easy to spell and no hidden meaning
Make sure the domain name is easy to spell (and type) without making mistakes. A common recommendation would be to stick with fewer characters if possible. One exercise you can do is say the domain name to your friend, and ask if he/she can spell it correctly.
You also need to watch out if the spelling has any hidden meanings that can be embarrassing (well, unless the goal is to be known for embarrassment and gain traffic this way). For example: whorepresents.com, penisland.com, speedofart.com, expertsexchange.com. I am sure you get the idea. If you need more amusements, just Google for “bad domain names”.
#3: Easy to say
Make sure people can say and pronounce the domain name correctly. This is especially true if the domain name is an abbreviation of words. If spelling all the words out makes a long domain name and abbreviated words cannot be pronounced, you should give more thoughts to the domain name.
Pretend you are the customer representative of your company and need to greet people: “Welcome to ___”. Does it sound good and upbeat?
FAQ About a Good Domain Name
Do I need the keyword in the domain name?
Having an intuitive and descriptive domain name can help you establish an immediate connection with the audience, which gives your website a marketing advantage.
However, there are many well-known brands such as Apple, Amazon, Oracle, Exxon, Xerox, and the list goes on that are extremely successful. Their trademarks are much stronger than descriptive marks. You don’t have to limit yourself to a descriptive name, but you will likely require more marketing effort to build up a stronger brand.
Besides, having the keyword in the domain name doesn’t necessarily put you on the top of the search engine result. For example, if you search “shoes” on Google, you will see all these sites are well-established name brands with great web content, including Zappos and 6pm.
Do I need a .com domain name extension?
.com domain name extension is still the predominant domain extension in the internet space for companies. While it is preferable to get a .com domain name, it is becoming less important with the growing top-level domain (TLD) extensions.
The list of TLD are growing and you will likely find a TLD that that is relevant to your industry such as .fashion, .finance, .realtor, .estate, .agency, .photo, .law, .fish, .fitness, .education, .university, .tech, .info, .care, .coach, and .consulting. If you are really having difficulties finding a .com domain name, use a domain name with TLD in your industry can be another option.
Do I need to buy up all the similar domain names and TLDs?
It really depends on what you are trying to achieve. It may worthwhile to consider register similar domains and TLDs if your goal is to protect your brand and you want to go big with your business. It is possible you want to cover frequently misspelled domain names and able to redirect them to the correct site and protect your brand.
However, it is going to be costly. Also, it is not worthwhile if the goal is to attempt boosting up the search engine ranking. As a matter of fact, placing unnecessary content under another TLD or artificially create a backlink will be harmful to search engine ranking.
Finally, keep in mind that having a good domain name is just a small piece of the puzzle in building a website. Much of the focus would be to create great content, user-friendly design, marketing, and SEO to really attract and keep the users engaged.