The best domain names are short, memorable, on brand, and can boost your rankings in an online search. To choose a domain name, use your business name first. If that’s not possible, make a list of alternatives, include keywords, choose the right domain extension, research the domain’s history, and register your domain.
Start With Your Brand Name
Your domain name should reflect your brand. For maximum brand recognition and URL retention, see if your brand name is available for purchase. Your brand differentiates you from your competitors, and adding your unique brand name to your domain can help you stand out.
Create a List of Alternative Domain Names
Unless you have a very unique business name, chances of getting a business name are slim. Before starting your search, come up with a list of at least five to 10 best domain names you can use. Adding words like “The” or “My” or “You’re” can make all the difference—as domains like TheKnot.com testify.
Add Keywords That Describe Your Brand
Using relevant keywords in your business name can not only increase brand retention but also increase its position with search engines. Keywords tell human visitors and search engines what your site is about, so choose keywords that describe your brand.
If you’re stuck, use key research tools to help you choose a business name for your business. Choosing a search engine optimization (SEO)-friendly domain name can improve your site’s ranking in search engines, which increases traffic.
Choose the Right Extension
Your domain name doesn’t stop with the root domain. Part of learning how to choose a business name is choosing the right domain extension. This makes your entire domain name look more credible, and it can also give a little hint of the industry your business is in. For example, .com stands for “commercial,” and is applicable for almost every type of business—making it the most popular (and competitive) domain extension.
Research Its History
Before registering a domain name, check if it is already in use by another company. Before buying the domain name you want, research its history. A quick search on backlink checkers like Semrush or SimilarWeb will give you some information on the domain’s history.
If it has been used before, check if there are any pre-existing backlinks to the domain. Getting quality backlinks through link building increases your site’s authority. Backlinks from spammy or less trusted sites can drag down your website.
If the name you chose is associated with spammy websites, you can contact the site administrator to remove the link. If that fails, you can opt-out of linking by telling Google that you don’t want your site linked to these websites.
Register Your Domain
After choosing the best domain name for your business, make sure you have a domain of your choice. It takes a few minutes to check domain availability using domain name search tools like Bluehost, Domain.com, Google Domains, and GoDaddy.
Do’s & Don’ts of How to Choose a Domain Name
Consider Pronunciation: Before deciding on a domain name, consider how it sounds when spoken out loud. Having a hard-to-pronounce name can hinder brand retention and word-of-mouth marketing.
Pay attention to spelling:
In addition to pronunciation, take spelling into account. It’s easy to find a domain name that’s written with ease. If you have the budget for it, you can even purchase your domain’s variations so they can all redirect to your main URL.
Keep it as short as possible:
If the name is long, your visitors will forget or make mistakes about your domain. Try to keep your domain name to 15 characters or less for maximum retention.
Don’t use words that might confuse people:
Funny spellings or words that can be spelled in different ways (like “even” or “way”) can make it difficult for customers to find your site.
Don’t be too limiting:
It’s a good idea to choose keywords that describe your brand, but don’t be too specific. For example, if you’re starting a real estate company in New Jersey, the name ApartmentsNJ might work for you right now, but it might not be ideal if you expand into homes.
Don’t use hyphens:
Hyphens make your domain name harder to remember, and the harder it is to remember, the more likely people will make mistakes when trying to find it.
Don’t use acronyms:
Unless people know your business abbreviated (eg, AT&T for American Telephone and Telegraph Company), it’s best to avoid acronyms. If you use a shortened version of your business name, potential visitors are less likely to find your domain name.
Don’t use existing brand names or trademarks:
To avoid infringing on any other patents or trademarks, do a trademark search before making your choice. Unauthorized use of the trademark may result in legal action and suspension of your website.