Think of your domain name as an extension of your corporate identity or your personal brand. It defines who you are and what you do. And it’s probably the first thing that people will want to know about you or your business when they meet you in person. How many times have you heard someone say, “Hey, just me give your URL, I’ll check it out tonight”?
With that in mind, here are five tips to help create a domain name that is unique, memorable and effective.
Rule #1: No funny business with spelling, hyphens or punctuation
So many businesses try to come up with cute names that feature obviously misspelled words. For example, “Qwik” instead of “Quick” is a favorite. That may have worked in the old analog days when people advertised on billboards and TV, but not in the digital era. People are already notoriously bad spellers – now you want them to try to type in words that are misspelled on purpose? In a worst-case scenario, someone will type in your domain name incorrectly, land on the wrong page, and assume that your business no longer exists.
Rule #2: Shorter is better
If you’re trying to come up with a long, complicated domain name that expresses who you really are, then you’re doing it all wrong. It may be close to impossible to find all-time great domain names like Pets.com or Cars.com, but you want to make your domain name as short as possible. On the Internet, brevity matters. And now that people are using their mobile phones all the time, you don’t want to force people to use their thumbs to type in a long URL.
Rule #3: Make it memorable
Just because your domain name is short doesn’t mean that it has to be boring or mundane. Your domain name is part of your overall branding identity, so you want to make sure that it expresses some personality or some hint of what makes you different from your competitors.
Rule #4: Check to make sure nobody else is using it
At this point, you should have a few options for a great domain name. Now you need to make sure that nobody else is using it. (You don’t want to have a lot of legal hassles later) Most domain name registrars will do a quick check for you for free. However, if you’ve included a popular word in your domain name, this might be harder than it sounds. To make things easier, some domain name registrars will suggest similar domain names that haven’t been taken.
If the domain name you’ve selected has already been taken and you simply can stand the thought of having to choose another, you have one other option – you could opt for a different suffix. That is, instead of a boring .co.uk domain name, you might opt for one of the newer .co, .info, or .biz domain names. But be warned – people almost always assume that you are a .co.uk, so their first inclination is to type in .co.uk after the URL!
Using these four basic steps, you’ll have a domain name that fits your business and expresses what you do. It’ll be easy to promote, easy for your customers to find you, and most importantly, it will be easy to type into tiny screens on mobile devices, no matter how big your thumbs are.