Lesson 6: Choosing the right domain name for your Website

Choosing the right domain name for your website is crucial for your success. If you choose the wrong domain name, then it can be a hassle to switch later on without hurting your brand and search rankings. In fact, your domain name is as much a part of your brand as your business name or logo. Even if you’ve nailed your branding in every other respect, if there’s something about your domain name that puts potential customers off, they’ll likely go elsewhere. Generally speaking, you’ll want something memorable, brandable, and easy for people to type and pronounce. It’s also smart to avoid anything too long or overly specific. By following a few simple guidelines, you can pick out a name that helps to drive more traffic your way.

1. Choose Your Top-Level Domain Extension Carefully

A Top-Level Domain (TLD) is the piece of your domain that comes after the site’s name. The most common TLDs are .com, .net, and .org. There are plenty of newer TLD options, but it’s usually best to keep it old school and stick to .com if possible. It’s been around the longest and is the most popular, so people are very familiar with it. Of course, it’s possible you won’t be able to secure a decent domain name with a .com TLD since many are already taken. However, it’s not the end of the world if you have to use an alternative. You’ll find tons of available options that can add personality to your web address. Just make sure that whatever you select makes sense for your website and audience.

2. Incorporate Keywords Strategically

Keywords aren’t just for content. Search engines use your domain name to understand what your site is about and help determine search rankings. So it’s essential to include keywords where possible. The keywords you choose for your domain name should be relevant to your website. It’s much more important to represent your content accurately than to add keywords for their own sake. If you’re stuck for ideas, you can give Google Keyword Planner a try.

This free tool lets you explore keywords by search volume and other factors to identify terms people actually use. Don’t get too carried away, though. Using too many keywords, especially popular ones, can make your site seem boring and maybe even a little untrustworthy.

3. Make Sure Your Domain Is Easy to Pronounce and Spell:

ou probably want your domain name to be memorable. However, if you’re thinking of going the Elon Musk baby-naming route, don’t. No matter how cool it looks spelled out, there will come a time when you’ll have to give someone your website or email address verbally. Word-of-mouth is still powerful advertising. What’s more, it only works when people can actually pronounce your domain. This also makes the name easier to remember, increasing the odds that people will visit and pass the site along to their networks.

4. Avoid Hyphens

Using hyphens may seem like a creative way to get the domain name you want. Unfortunately, they’re tough to express verbally. They also make the domain more difficult to type. Some people will likely forget about them entirely and end up on someone else’s website. Generally, when you’re brainstorming domain name ideas, try to avoid anything that isn’t a letter. That includes replacing letters with numbers. Those kinds of touches make the name a lot easier for people to misremember and mistype.

5. Avoid Using Doubled Letters

Using doubled letters in a domain name is practically asking for typos. Doubled letters are hard to read and even harder to type correctly. If mistakes happen often enough, you may end up with someone typosquatting and stealing your traffic. Plus, having to spend even a few seconds longer than necessary trying to figure out how to spell your domain is an unnecessary distraction.

6. Keep Your Domain Name Short

There are several reasons short domain names work better. First, shorter names are easier to remember and type. Therefore, they are beneficial for branding purposes. Also, an overly long domain name is yet another way to look suspicious. If you don’t use too many keywords and make your name easy to pronounce, on the other hand, your domain will probably be short naturally.

7. Do Your Domain Name Research

Once you’ve narrowed your search down to a few candidates, you can use a research tool of Google domain to determine if it’s available. Just type your domain name, then click Get it!

Google will then show you a list of domain extensions that are available. If all goes well, you should see a green checkmark next to your desired domain name, which means it’s available. Click the shopping cart icon to add it to your cart:

Picking the Best Place to Register Your Domain

Once you’ve picked out a domain name, you need to choose a domain registrar, which is the company where you’ll purchase it. When shopping around for a registrar, here are a few things to keep an eye on:

  • Domain transfers. Check out the registrar’s transfer policy. If it’s complicated or expensive, keep looking.
  • Pricing. Some companies offer lower prices for the first year and then increase them when it’s time for renewal. You may even be locked into a multi-year contract.
  • Expiration policy. You don’t buy a domain so much as rent it. If you forget to renew the lease, someone else can take it from you. Look for a registrar that offers automatic renewals and a grace period.
  • Domain privacy protection. As a website owner, you’re required to add your personal information to a public database. Domain privacy protection hides your primary contact information to help keep your identity secure.
  • Subdomains. You don’t have to register subdomains separately. However, you’ll want to ensure that your registrar makes it easy to add subdomains to your site.

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