If you’re in the process of developing a website, you’re probably spending most of your time obsessing over things like design and mobile friendliness. You’ll need to take your time finding a hosting provider. You’ll have to find one that suits all of your new site’s technical requirements, so you can make sure that it will support all of your planned features. When choosing the hosting service, usability and user friendliness are also important things to carefully consider.
The look, functionality, and features are vital to a website’s success, to be sure, but one thing many people overlook is how to choose the right domain name for their site. You’ll only get one chance to do it right (unless you don’t mind re-launching your site from scratch), and the decision can determine the success or failure of the whole endeavor. To help out, here are 5 tips to help you choose the right domain name for your website:
Think Like Your Audience
First and foremost, you need to have a clear idea of the purpose of your website. Once you do, you can conduct keyword research to decide upon possible names that match your site closely. Ideally, you’ll want to keep the name you choose as short as is practical for your site. Shorter domain names are easier to write down and type and will help to keep visitors coming again and again.
Another thing to consider is if the name you choose will be memorable to your audience. If you are able to think of a catchy name, you’ll have an easier time getting it to stick in visitor’s minds. After the design and utility of your website, the ability to remember how to reach it is the number one key to achieving success.
Choose the Correct Domain Extension
Everyone that uses the internet should be familiar with the “.com” suffix at the end of a web address. If the name you’re trying to secure is available with a .com at the end, that’s the one you should choose. It’s become so ubiquitous that most web users will reflexively type it, even if they are looking at a business card or advertisement with a different suffix.
There are times that you won’t be able to find the name you’re looking for with a .com extension. Sometimes they are prohibitively priced or taken by existing sites. In that case, you should try to get the name you’ve chosen with a different extension. The different extensions each have specific meanings, so choose the one that best fits your site. Some that you may choose:
- .co – Short for company, commerce, or community
- .info – Great for wiki pages or informational sites
- .net – For sites related to internet and technology topics
- .biz – For businesses of all types
- .org – Great or clubs and non-profits
- .me – For personal sites and blogs
When choosing your name, you may be presented with alternatives to the one you are looking for. It’s great to have options but remember that your website is all about communicating your brand. As such, you can’t afford for the name to be confusing in any way. Avoid hyphens and numbers in the name you choose. They can be confusing when you’re trying to spread your website name around, and aren’t likely to make it easy for people to reach your site.
Make Sure to Avoid Legal Trouble
If you’re sure you’ve found the best domain name for your website, it’s possible someone else already thinks the same thing. Check the name you choose to make sure that it isn’t a trademark of another business. If you’re not careful, you could build traffic for a successful website only to have a trademark holder swoop in and take the name (and the traffic coming to it) away from you.
Look Towards the Future
It’s important to take your future plans for your website into consideration when you choose a name. If you choose a name that’s too specific, like “wesellapples.com”, you’ll have a hard time expanding your product line or area of focus in the future. If you’re choosing a name that describes what your site does, make sure it is broad enough that you’ll have room to grow. This way you won’t face the prospect of audience confusion when your site changes over time.
A Lot to Consider, A Single Goal
Your website’s domain name is critical, but it won’t make you succeed on its own. Keeping the name you choose relevant, easy to remember, and future-proof is the best way to grow your website from day one and into tomorrow. If you’ve also been careful to avoid possible legal pitfalls you won’t ever need to worry about losing the site you’ve worked so hard to create. No matter what name you choose, never lose sight of the fact that everything about your website, from the name to the content, must be laser-focused on the most important factor: the audience.