How should you pick a domain name? This is a fairly important decision for your business as typically you will have this name for quite some time, or have to go through some time and expense to change it down the road. So how do you go about generating good names and then winnowing down that list to the perfect name that properly represents your business whether it is a mobile app design company or a taffy maker?
With over a decade in the business, we have developed a list of tips to help you with this very important process.
Tips for Picking a Domain Name
- Branding – Branding should be your top consideration for generating and considering names. You want something that is not only unique but also something that fits what you are trying to do and sounds like your brand. For example, if your brand is based on power tools your brand name should sound powerful or workmanlike. If your brand is silly then a goofier name works. Your name needs to be memorable but also represent what and who you are.
- Length – Generally speaking you want a shorter name. While longer names are more descriptive, they are also harder to remember and spell. Yes, Google will hopefully figure it out for people searching, but why risk it? On top of the initial domain consideration, remember this name ends up everywhere from business cards to ad copy and even if you are sharing a link on Twitter which has limited characters to work with.
- Dot Com – While there are lots of great extensions out there to use, dot com still remains the most common and memorable of the group. Because of that simple aspect, your primary goal should be finding a domain name that you can use in the dot com world versus using dot net or one of the numerous new domain names. You might grab those other extensions down the road and redirect them to your site, but you want to start at the top of the mountain using a dot com domain.
- Avoid Infringement – This tip comes from experience; don’t waste time with any name that might infringe on another company. The word might is very important when considering this because if a legal case arises it will be decided by a judge and his or her opinion on if misrepresentation or confusion can or could occur. It is much easier to keep researching and find something that has no trademark or intellectual infringement issues.
- Keywords – If possible include a general keyword into the name. For example, if you sell tools have the word ‘tool’ or ‘tools’ in the domain name is helpful. You can’t always make it work, but still try and explore some options involving a general keyword reflective of your brand or business. This helps for SEO and also for intuitive recognition by users that they are more likely to guess what your business does from the name or at least have a general idea.
Test the Finalists
Get your think tank together, have everyone relax and close their eyes. Then say potential names out loud and think of the image that name creates; that mental image should resonate with your brand concept. This is a valuable exercise to get a better idea of what a name makes people think rather than assigning a name to what you think.
You can even go further and get test groups together from some A/B testing. While you might think a particular name is smart and funny, a test group of user might think that same name is confusing because they don’t share your sense of humor.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that your domain name is a big deal. The process that goes into how you pick a domain name should be structured and take the appropriate amount of time because it will be a big part of the online identity for your business and brand in years to come.