It’s important to evaluate if the domain name you are considering will suit all of your purposes.
When you buy a domain name you want to ensure that it is simple for people to remember, is not too similar to your competition, and that it supports all of your other online marketing efforts.
Below is a handful of top considerations when choosing a domain name.
Keep it short & easy to type.
You don’t want to force people to type in lengthy domain names. Best practice is to have a domain name that is less than 16 characters.
Use an appropriate extension.
An extension is the .com .ca .org portion it.
You may discover that you cannot find any great .com names available. This is because it has been a standard for so long, that they have simply been bought up. In fact there are companies that methodically purchase any .com name that could be desirable with the intention of re-selling at a premium price at a later date.
So, even though you may want to have the .com – you may have limited options. But we no longer live in a world where a .com is required.
You can get creative by using industry or country specific domains as well. In fact there are many new domain name extensions.
Creative examples: .tools .guru. .website .club
Country specific examples: .ca .nz .au .fr .it .ch .nl
But consider different extensions with caution.
People are most familiar with .com. If at all possible – try to get a .com.
Then people are quite tolerant with country specific domains (ie: .ca .uk, .au etc…) as long as you only serve people within your own country.
But the creative ones like .tools, .website, . guru can be a bit risky mainly because people just might not remember what extension you are using. By being creative you could keep people away from your site.
Also, be sure that the extension that you choose carries the right meaning for what you offer. .org, .co etc…. as each of these relates to a specific industry.
Before you get your heart set on a domain name, consider what other domains and websites are similar to it, and then research them.
For example if you want to choose photographytips.ca – you would want to ensure that photographytips.com is not a direct competitor. The last thing that you want is confusion about which website is your business. You do not want to inadvertently send customers to your competitor.
Check the social media handles.
It is good to know if the social media handles/names are available as well. You can do this in short-form by going to https://knowem.com/. It will search many social media networks at once to see if your name is available.
Target your industry keywords as this is one factor (of many) that helps your rank well in search engines.
Avoid hyphens or numbers if possible.
This follows the “keep it short” rule above!
You do not want your domain name to always escape peoples minds. Keep it simple. The goal is to get people to your site, not to keep them guessing.
Many business owners get frustrated with so few domain-names left to choose from, especially in the .com landscape. So they just choose to add a hyphen or number to replace a word, just to solve this problem. But this can lead to confusion for your customers.
If you do choose to use a number, I would advise that you consider purchasing the domain name that spells out the number as well. That way you own both options, and you can simply redirect them both to your main website.
Make it memorable.
There are millions of domain names out there already in use, so try to choose a domain that will stick in peoples minds. Once you’ve come up with a name, let it sit with you for a day or two, share it with a few close people in your life to make sure it sounds good.
Buying your domain name.
Once you decide on your domain name, you need to register and buy it somewhere, and this is called a Domain Registrar. You can register a domain from 1-10 years.
There are many Domain Registrars out there and there, and sometimes the prices can really vary from one to the other at first glance. Here are some considerations in choosing where you buy your domain:
- Not all Registrars can sell every type of domain name extension. For example not all registrars can sell country specific domains
- Many Registrars will try to trick you with a cheap 1st year price – but then it gets very expensive after that (as a benchmark a .com should cost approximately $14/year)
- Some domain name registrars can automatically pre-check add-on services when you purchase a domain name. So pay close attention to what has been added to your bill at the checkout
- Some Registrars can purposefully make the user experience quite confusing and they may have complex ways of managing your domain once you’ve made the purchase
- I like to choose a reputable domain registrar where I can register every domain extension. I keep all my domains registered in one account for my own sanity in keeping track of them.
**If you choose a Registrar and then later find that they are a hassle to deal with – you can always transfer your domain name away from them. There is typically a small charge, and it can be a bit of a technical task, but it’s good to know that you always have options.
A handful of domain registrars you could use:
One of the most popular domain name registrars. You can register most types of domain extensions including country specific ones. They have a quick domain search-tool
Namecheap is another top domain registrar.
I use Godaddy to register my domain names. I have no attachment to using them really. My only reason is that it was the first place that I ever registered a domain name and I want to keep all my domains registered in one place.
This is different than a regular domain purchase.
Buydomains allows you to search for premium domain. Premium domain names are domain names that are already owned but are available for sale from third-party. They are often more memorable, shorter, and brandable which is why people have already grabbed them, and why they are more expensive.
If you cannot find a suitable domain name in your regular search, and you have the budget, then you can use BuyDomains to search for a premium domain name. But it can get very expensive. (sometimes $20,000 or more).