10 Tips for Choosing Good Domain Names

Effective Domain Names

What’s in a Name?

Choosing a good domain is very important, as it is the web address and name for your website.

It is one of many ways a web surfer can reach your site, and careful consideration should be taken before making a final decision.

It is also what will be used on print media, like business cards, and can play a role in company branding.

Bad Domain Names

Let me share a recent example of a poorly crafted domain name.

The other day I heard a radio advertisement for a local cigar shop. At the end of the ad, the website address was shared.

It was repeated three times AND spelled twice. And there was a reason. It was confusing. And needlessly so. I won’t share the real business name, but it was similar to Acme Cigar Company.

The domain name they chose was AcmeCigarCo.com

When I heard them say “ˈakmē siˈgär cō dät käm”, I wasn’t sure I heard the domain name correctly.

Did they say “cō”?

What is a “cō”?

Then they spelled it out.

I finally realized they were abbreviating “Company”, which makes sense in print, but not for a domain name.

Two better choices would have been:

  • AcmeCigar.com (this would be my first choice because it is shorter – see rule #1 below)
  • AcmeCigarCompany.com (this is my second choice because it uses whole words – see rule #2 below)

And to cover all of the bases, I would have reserved BOTH domains. (See tips below)

Amazingly, I checked the availability of my two suggested domain names and BOTH were available!

Fortunately, it is an easy fix. They can still purchase these domain names and point them at their website, and use them in future print and radio ads.

Unfortunately, until they do, if one forgets the “co” or spells out “company” when typing the domain name, they will receive a “404 Site Not Found” error.

All of this may sound trivial, but many times you only get one shot at attracting a website visitor before they move on to another task.

Guidelines for Better Domain Names

The following tips are in no particular order, and not all of them are always applicable.

Remember to keep in mind how you will be communicating and/or marketing your domain name.

Will it be printed on business cards and brochures, or on T-shirts? Will it be heard on the radio? Think about these questions as you browse the list:

  1. Short domain names are better in most cases, but not if you start using unfamiliar abbreviations or acronyms. (See next rule)
  2. Whole words are better. Avoid obscure acronyms or truncated words — acronyms are OK only if you are UPS, KFC or IBM.
  3. Domain names should be easy to remember. This can be quite subjective, so test them out with family, friends and colleagues before making a decision.
  4. Domain names should be easy to say and pronounce. Otherwise, you will be spelling it often when sharing with others. (See next rule)
  5. They should be easy to spell. I think this one is self explanatory. If you must use a difficult-to-spell name for branding purposes, consider using a multi-domain name strategy. (See tips below)
  6. A domain name should be easy to read or perceive, meaning easily discernible as you scan over it.
  7. They should be easy to type. Avoid repetitive letters which will lead to typos — for example, www.walkerrecruiters.com.
  8. They should be meaningful. When appropriate, use your company name and/or words that describe what you do.
  9. Domain names should avoid hyphens and numbers. Hyphens are easily forgotten and might send a potential visitor to a competitor’s website. Numbers are too cryptic. Don’t substitute the number “4” for the word “for”.
  10. And most importantly, can your domain name pass the “telephone test”? It shouldn’t require a lot of explanation and spelling when sharing during a phone call, or when in-person. (See tip #4 below)

Bonus Tips

  1. Reserve all of the top-level domains when possible to protect your brand. (.com, .net, .org)
  2. Consider a multi-domain strategy. You can reserve and point more than one domain name at your website. For example, you might have a difficult to pronounce/spell/read business name that you used for your website. If you are a sole proprietor, consider also using your name, such as JohnDoe.com and point it to your website. Also, get creative, if your business provides inflatable water slides for children’s parties, consider ReadyWetGo.com (maybe, maybe not 🙂 ).
  3. Consider one of the SLEW of new TLDs available. (Examples: .online, .pizza, .music, .rocks)
  4. You can reach our website using BeFoundBeHappy.com – go ahead try it out, you know you want to!

Researching Domain Names

There are some excellent online tools available for finding available domain names.

One good, free tool for experimenting with different combinations of words is Bust A Name.

Another free service that is a little more straightforward and a favorite of mine is Domain Typer. (They also have an app for the iPhone.)

Either of these tools can save you a lot of time with your research.

Good luck with your domain name search!

Bizeeo Marketing Agency will help your business choose an effective Domain Strategy for your business.

Good men must die, but death cannot kill their names. ~ Proverb