Did you know that a domain name can work wonders for your business, just like a magic wand? An aptly chosen domain name can help you boost your brand awareness, drive traffic to your website, effectively introduce your business to new audiences, and more. Read this article to find out how to come up with a great domain name, how much popular domain names cost and where to buy them, and how to check your domain for uniqueness.
About domain names
Domain name, or URL, is the unique address of your website on the web. It’s a combination of letters and digits that users type into the address bar to access a specific online platform. A domain name is made of:
- Subdomain. It’s the actual name of your site (facebook, youtube, cnn, etc.);
- Top-level domain: It’s the extension that goes after the full stop (.com, .net, .org. and others).
Let’s find out what makes a domain name so important for your business.
- Visibility. Without a domain name, users wouldn’t be able to find your website on the web and learn about your company.
- Google ranking. By incorporating keywords into your domain name, you can improve your search position in Google search.
- Branding. You might’ve never thought of it but a domain name is actually a crucial part of your brand identity. It gives you a great opportunity to make a statement about your company, convey the essence of your brand, and stick in your customers’ minds.
How to choose the best domain name
To be an effective promotional tool, your website address must meet certain requirements. Let’s see them one by one.
Your domain name must contain keywords related to your website contents. There are two main reasons for this:
- Keywords give users the general idea of what your business deals with and what content they’re going to find on your website.
- Domain names containing keywords (especially at the beginning) tend to rank higher in Google search results.
Domain name can be a powerful tool for setting your business apart from competitors within your niche. When coming up with a memorable URL for your site, steer clear of generic words and clichés. Try to coin a truly unique name that will leave a trace in the minds of your potential customers. Here are a few tips on how you can achieve that:
- Aim for a neologism. Did you know that such iconic company names as “Google”, “Spotify”, and “Yahoo” were invented from scratch? Get your creative juices flowing and come up with a unique name that would be both simple and easy-to-memorize.
- Be flexible. What do you do if your selected domain name is already being used by another business? Fall into despair? No way! You simply need to add another keyword to your existing name! Take, for example, this amazing essay writing service. They found a great way to emphasize the high quality of their essays by coming up with the name “EssayPro” which is both edgy and impactful. Finding the right keywords is easy with smart online tools, such as Google Keyword Planner.
- Rely on associations. Have you ever thought why Twitter is called this way? The way that users are sharing short instant messages on this platform is very much like birds twittering. Think about what your business is associated with.
- Use online generators. There is a bunch of free services (ZenBusiness Name Generator, DomainWheel, NameMеsh, etc.) that can help you create a unique domain name based on your selected keywords.
Important. When crafting a neologism for your domain name, be sure to avoid overlapping with the names of established brands. Otherwise, you risk getting sued for copyright violation. Plus, it may create confusion among users.
When it comes to the length of your domain name, the rule of thumb is this: the shorter, the better. The optimal length of a domain name is between 6 and 14 characters.
The problem is that all short URLs have been long bought out by big companies that are selling them at astronomical prices. If you find out that all short names for your website are no longer available, try putting together several short words.
Your domain name must be easy to read and pronounce.
- With an easy-to-perceive name, you can easily share it with your clients and partners, especially when you don’t have a business card handy.
- Users won’t have trouble memorizing and reproducing your URL address.
- Users won’t make a mistake when entering your domain name into the address bar.
Important. If possible, refrain from using hyphens and digits. They make your URL address harder to pronounce and memorize.
Life hack. Be sure to test your domain name before registering it. Mention your URL in conversations with people and ask them to write it down and then repeat it. If you see people struggling with this task, you should better play it safe and simplify your domain name.
A domain name will serve your business for years. It’s a long-term investment into your company’s growth. Keep that in mind when creating a domain name. Avoid tying your URL address to a narrow market niche or geographic region.
Imagine that you own a catering business. You register the domain name foodorder.com. But what if you decide to scale up your business and expand into event planning? The name foodorder.com will no longer work for you. The same goes for URLs related to a specific geographic area. If one day you decide to grow your business and reach out to other geographic regions, your domain name will lose its relevance.
The extension, or top-level domain, is a string of symbols after a full stop. For many years now, .com remains the most popular extension among businesses. The research has shown that:
- Users memorize .com domains correctly in 44% of cases. The .com extension is followed by .co (33%), .org (32), .biz (31%), .us (29%), .io (28%), .net (25%), and .blog (24%).
- The most trusted extension is .com, while the least trusted is .biz.
- When trying to memorize the URL address, users are 3.8 times more likely to assume that it ends with .com than with any other extension.
Note that the research only mentions the top popular extensions. Here is a complete list of top-level domains supported by Google.
Aside from that, there are also country-specific extensions, such as .co.uk for the United Kingdom, .de for Germany, .pl for Poland, and the like. Go for this type of top-level domains only if you’re going to target an audience living in a specific area.
How much does a domain name cost?
There are two common ways to get a domain name. You can either buy an already registered domain name, or register a new one yourself.
Purchasing a ready-to-use URL can be costly. How much a domain name costs usually depends on how popular it is. It’s hard to believe but domain name prices can reach millions of dollars. The most expensive domain name in history is LasVegas.com. It was sold for a whopping 90 million dollars!
Registering a brand new domain name is a far more budget-friendly option. How much you’ll have to pay depends on several factors:
- pricing policy of your selected domain registrar;
- extension (URLs ending with .com are the most expensive ones).
On the average, registering and maintaining a new domain name costs 10-20 dollars a year. On top of that, you need to consider hidden payments:
- Automatic renewal. Your registrar may renew your domain name automatically each year. If you’re not sure that you’re going to use your site in the long term, don’t agree to this option.
- Protection of privacy. When you’re registering your domain name, your contact details are added into the Whois database. Your registrar can charge a fee for making some of your personal information confidential, e.g. they can make your phone number hidden public view.
To avoid paying extra, take the time to carefully read the terms and conditions of your domain registrar. If the agreement contains paid services you don’t need, be sure to opt out of them.
Where to buy a domain name
Check out the top-ranking domain name registrars :
- GoDaddy offers a wide spectrum of services, including website hosting, website constructor, domain name generator, etc.
- Namecheap stands out through its flexible pricing plans and a big variety of additional tools and services for small businesses.
- HostGator offers domain name registration, website hosting, and other useful services that come in one bundle.
If you plan on using a website constructor to build a professional website for your business, consider yourself lucky! Major website constructors such as Wix and WordPress, offer domain name registration as an add-on service.
Tips for choosing the best domain registrar:
- compare prices across different registrars and pick the best offer;
- choose the register that offers a full package of related services, including website construction, hosting, safety protocols, and more.
Things to consider when buying a domain name
Before registering your domain name, make sure it’s still available. To check your URL for availability, you can search for identical names:
- in the trademark database of your country (e.g, USPTO in the USA);
- on social media (if your domain name is identical to your business name).
By using the domain name which is already occupied, you risk facing legal action from the company that owns the rights to that name. To avoid damage to your reputation and customer relations, make sure that the URL you’re about to use is unique.
A good domain name gives users an instant understanding of what your business is dealing with. Also, it works toward enhancing your online visibility and promoting your brand. Let’s recapitulate the fundamental tips for coming up with a killer domain name:
- Your domain name must be short, concise, and intuitively understandable.
- Choose your top-level domain (extension) wisely.
- Determine your budget. Registering a new name yourself is less costly than buying a turnkey URL.
- When choosing the best domain name registrar, consider their prices and bundled services.
- Check your domain name for availability.