Let’s face it, there are thousands of articles on picking a domain name, most of which give you the nuts and bolts: Pick a .com, don’t hyphenate, make it short, make it easy to say and spell, etc… However, with new blogs and websites popping up everywhere, fitting your brand into these tight criteria can seem nearly impossible! So here are some new tips for choosing a domain name! They may “look” the same, but these criteria strongly depend on your business, and how you interact with others!
Before you go register your blog or business name with every suffix and hyphen possible, ask yourself this one important question:
How am I sharing my content?
If you are primarily sharing your blog or website through Facebook, Twitter, or other social platform where users CLICK over to your site, your domain name is going to be an afterthought. Since users aren’t physically typing anything into their browser, being able to spell or say the domain is not as important as it once was.
Tips for this type of sharing:
1. Make it short. Fitting your URL into a tweet or Facebook post looks much nicer, and is better for branding if it is able to fit completely. This increases the likelihood that a user will remember your domain name, and further strengthens your online image. This way, you don’t have to use link shorteners as often when directing people to your website. (Not necessarily a post though, as those URLs are longer.)
2. Match it to your blog or website name. This may seem obvious, but pick a domain name that matches your brand or website name, even if it means registering a .net or hyphenating. For example, let’s say you have a very common blog name like “Busy Mom of Three.” Ideally, you would have registered “busymomofthree.com” to keep things simple, but that wasn’t available so you chose to use your nickname as a domain instead. Or maybe you wanted something more timeless, so you choose “BusyMominBoston.com.” Instead of skipping over your brand to get a non-hyphenated .com, try getting creative and sticking to your blog’s name (if it’s important to you, and you’ve branded it as such) like “BusyMomof3.net” or “Busy-Mom.net”.
3. Use keywords. Previously, the above was discouraged because people would type in what they THOUGHT was the URL, and be taken to a different (possibly competing) website, and thus take away your traffic. However, if someone intends on getting to YOUR website, and doesn’t arrive there by typing in what would seemingly be your domain – where do they go? Search engines! Readers are persistent, and want to find exactly what they are looking for. Often they will go directly to a search engine before ever typing in the domain because of this issue. They will head over to Google and type in your blog’s title to find you, then click on the correct link from there. Hyphenating your blog title is great for search traffic too, as hyphens are simply read as spaces as search engines crawl your sites. So be sure to pick words that people will search for when trying to find your blog or website.
If you’re not able to find the perfect domain name with keywords, just remember that your content will guide them to the right spot. If you create a new or novel word or phrase, such as the new site “Pinnerly.com” – obviously this won’t be a keyword in finding their website. Which bring us to BRANDING your website, and MARKETING your content!
If you are a business owner, and often refer people to your website through business cards, or in person – picking a domain name that is easy to say and spell is much more important.
Tips for this type of sharing:
1. Make it easy to say out loud. If you’re referring people to your website, there’s nothing more awkward than SAYING dashes out loud, or spelling impossible names. “Yes, just go to “Johnstonemeyer, that’s s-t-o-n-e-m-e-y-e-r, dash sprinkler dash repair dot com” (johnstonemeyer-sprinkler-repair.com). Instead, make it short and simple to say, like “J-S-R outdoors dot com.” (JSRoutdoors.com). It may not perfectly reflect your business name, but it has simple letters (not “M”s or “N”s which are difficult to enunciate) and is short and sweet.
2. Make it easy to type into a browser. Trying to see small print on a business card or brochure can be difficult for people trying to type in your domain name. Avoid letters that string together like lowercase Ms, Ns, and double Ls. Capitalize letters within your domain, like “CreativeGirlMedia.com” when printed, and make the words within the domain easy to read. For example, it’s okay if you have a longer domain name if each word is simple, such as “HomeKitchensNebraska.com” because people can glance at each word in the domain and get it correct without having to read the exact spelling. However, if you have initials, random numbers, or strange words like “4fantasyftbl.com”, people are much less likely to get it correct or even attempt to type it in. So, don’t use abbreviations (unless they’re common, like “LLC”) and be sure to keep it simple.
If you do a combination of the above (which most people will likely do) – pick a happy middle. Most importantly, make it reflect your brand and purpose. The way you brand your domain, share it, and what content you have on your site is far more important than the domain itself. What do Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook have in common? Their domain names are all words that DID NOT EXIST or didn’t correlate to their site’s subject matter directly until they were branded!
No one would have ever searched for “Facebook” before it existed!
Most of the cardinal rules of getting a domain name may still apply, but with social media and other sharing platforms it’s much easier to market your website as opposed to trying to brand JUST your domain name! Focus on creating great content, or on your own unique idea – and no matter your domain, people will flock to your site if they are interested in you.
Good luck purchasing your domains!