8 Elements to Consider When Picking Your Domain Name

This is a guide to finding the perfect domain name for you.

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By Julia Weikel

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Your domain name is not just your customers' initial interaction with your brand. It's your first opportunity to tell a story about who you are, what you do and why you should matter to your customer. In an increasingly digital world, that story is everything.

Here are some dos and don'ts to keep in mind when you're choosing a descriptive domain name.

1. Make it memorable

Your domain name is your first opportunity to make a lasting impression. Customers visiting your website for the first time should have a sense of who you are. First, what is your brand or company name? This is your second-level domain (SLD), or what comes before the dot in your domain. The next step is determining what category your brand fills, otherwise known as your "what." What does your company do? What community are you a part of? TLDs, or the word after the dot, are increasingly answering this question.

Take the company colombia.travel as an example. Even before you view its website, you have insight into who the company is: a travel-related company, indicated by its domain extension .travel, that helps people plan trips to Colombia. In two simple words, it achieves instant branding and storytelling.

Related: Here's How You Can Create a Highly Profitable Website

2. Don't compromise

Telling your brand's unique story succinctly shouldn't mean sacrificing differentiating details. Your domain should be as unique and uncompromised as your business name. For many companies, it can be difficult to secure the ideal domain name without sacrifice, considering so many legacy domain extensions are already taken.

When DripKit Coffee realized it would have to compromise its brand name for this reason, it found a new solution. Instead of changing the name to adapt to limited legacy domain extensions, it adopted a new extension: .coffee. Its new domain name, dripkit.coffee, tells the brand story with the added benefit of descriptive keywords.

3. Include keywords

In a competitive digital landscape, keywords are key to building a relevant domain. While many companies focus their keyword efforts on blog writing, you can begin even sooner by including SEO keywords that you want to rank for within your domain.

For example, the domain name SEO.services already features a popular keyword search: SEO services. This strategy puts it ahead of competitors with highly relevant keywords baked into its domain.

4. Don't miss SEO opportunities

In the same breath, it's important to think about how your audience searches for products or services you provide. If your domain name is wordy, lengthy or misleading, new customers are less likely to find you.

The domain name finding.wine nails this strategy by featuring keywords that are also popular search terms. "Where to find wine" or "find wine near me" are popular search phrases that are already built into this domain. This also demonstrates a brand that is in tune with its customers.

Related: 27 Ways to Increase Traffic to Your Website

5. Keep it short

Have you ever read a long-winded article or watched a Youtube video that didn't get to the point, so you eventually went elsewhere? The same can be true of your domain. Lengthy, wordy or dash-filled domains are difficult to read and less powerful branding tools.

Descriptive domains, on the other hand, are short, distinct and easy to remember. One way you can keep your domain short yet descriptive is to save characters by moving a word to the right of the dot. For example, many companies are embracing new domain extensions that blend their name and extension, like io.games. Right away, customers know where they can find io games.

6. Don't be ambiguous or vague

While sparking intrigue about your company can be useful, it's important to avoid ambiguity or vagueness. Your domain name is an opportunity to extend your branding and share who you are — not make customers question who you are.

Use domain real estate to extend your branding and tell new customers about yourself, as positive.news does. Its mission is immediately discernible, which is to spread positivity by sharing good news. There is power in the simplicity of this clear and direct domain.

7. Check your spelling

Your domain is also an opportunity to build trust with your customers. For first-time visitors, a spelling error in your domain name could be the reason they don't come back. A misspelled domain could also pose security threats to your audience — so be sure to double-check before making this choice.

8. Don't be vulnerable

Cybersecurity has never been more important — and this applies to choosing your domain name, too. When deciding on the right domain name for your brand, do your research to make sure the extension you choose is free of security vulnerabilities.

Stand out among competitors with a strong and unique domain name that paints a picture of who you are at first glance. Explore more descriptive domain names — and unlock a world of unforgettable possibilities for your brand or business.

Related: How to Make Your Small Business Website Really, Really Effective

Julia Weikel
Julia Weikel is a branding and marketing domain industry insider with experience in Australia, China and the U.S. She shares brand-focused insights and intel about the democratization of internet real estate and opportunities available to entrepreneurs.

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