How to Choose a Domain Name That Will Stand Out + What to Avoid When Choosing

How to Choose a Domain Name That Will Stand Out + What to Avoid When Choosing

Knowing how to choose a domain name is crucial for establishing a brand or business. However, with millions already registered, finding the best domain for your website can be challenging.

Fortunately, there are several guiding principles to help you select the right domain name and make your site truly memorable.

In this article, we will go over eight tips for finding the perfect domain and explain four crucial elements to avoid. In addition, we will also discuss some factors to consider for picking the best domain provider.

Why Choosing the Right Domain Name is Important

Aside from being the website address, a domain name also serves as a representation of the brand’s identity. If you choose poorly, the domain name can negatively impact your business. Below are a few reasons why.

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First Impression

The domain name is the first element visitors notice when accessing a website. Therefore, it should be unique and memorable to encourage users to return.

A good domain name can make a lasting impression on visitors and give them insight into the website content. Moreover, a short and concise domain can help users easily find and return to the site.

Another aspect to consider is picking meaningful terms related to your business niche to attract the target audience.

In contrast, a bad domain name may leave a poor first impression, driving visitors away from your site.

SEO

An effective domain name is simple and focused. Having a good website address can help to increase visitor interest and boost click-through rates (CTR).

As a result, domain names affect search engine optimization (SEO) rankings, thus impacting other components such as content performance, website traffic, and conversions.

The length, keywords, and top-level domain (TLD) are key elements for creating the perfect domain name for your site.

Branding

A domain that includes the business name can improve brand recognition. Combined with the right TLD and keyword, your domain can be an effective marketing tool.

A well-branded domain name will contribute to the website’s reputation and credibility, making it appear more trustworthy. This can not only attract ideal customers, but also drive growth and revenue.

8 Tips for Choosing a Domain Name

In this section, we will go over eight tips on how to choose a domain name, from selecting the right TLD to ensuring its brandability.

1. Choose the Right TLD (.com, .org, .net)

According to Statista, .com, .org, and .net are the most popular generic TLDs. Many people consider them as well-established, familiar, and credible extensions.

Here’s what they are commonly used for:

  • .com – refers to commercial. It is commonly associated with businesses. For example, Hostinger.com and Amazon.com.
  • .org – stands for organization. It is generally used by nonprofit entities. For example, WWF.org.
  • .net – short for network. It was initially used to indicate networking technologies, but nowadays, this TLD is associated with any business type. For example, Speedtest.net.

Sticking with either .com, .org, or .net is a safe bet since they are the most well-known TLDs. These domain extensions can positively affect people’s perceptions of your website, helping to increase its CTR.

There are other TLDs, such as .xyz, .co, and .shop, that are becoming increasingly popular. These are excellent options for those wanting to create a unique domain name. However, because they are less common, note that some users may see them as less trustworthy.

2. Make It Simple to Spell

If you’re utilizing word-of-mouth marketing to expand your business, ensure the domain name is easy to spell and pronounce. That way, it is easier to share the website address with potential customers.

Many companies use four-letter combinations to make their domains memorable and ensure they hold aftermarket value. Alternatively, you can use an easy-to-remember, two-word phrase like TravelInsurance.com or BestBuy.com.

3. Implement Targeted Keywords

Using relevant keywords helps visitors find your website and identify what it is quickly. In addition, it is beneficial for search engines to determine page rankings since keyword-rich domains can partially match search queries.

The keywords should sound natural and be targeted toward your website niche. For example, if you have an online clothing store, incorporate the word “fashion” or “style” in the domain name. On the other hand, consider adding the word “blog” or “journal” to your blog domain name.

Google provides a Keyword Planner to help site owners research and select the perfect terms for their domains. This free tool will find phrases related to your business, estimate their search volume, and provide performance insights.

4. Make It Brandable

Brandable domain names are creative, unique, and catchy. They can help make your website stand out, gain recognition, and drive traffic.

It can be a combination of words or have no specific meaning. Take Google, YouTube, and Uber as examples. Although they don’t mean anything, these phrases turned out to be some of the most brandable domain names.

Conduct some competitor research in your business niche to ensure the domain name you buy can attract the target audience. Keep in mind not to use any existing domain names or trademarked names to avoid legal copyright issues.

Here are a few tips for finding brandable domain names:

  • Come up with new catchy words that reflect the website’s value and purpose.
  • Find interesting phrases that fit your website’s branding.
  • Use domain name generators to aid your brainstorming process and find relevant keywords.

5. Keep the Domain Name Short

When choosing a domain name, conciseness is key. Shorter domains provide a better user experience and are easier to type, meaning visitors are more likely to remember the site.

We recommend keeping it to less than three words or under 15 characters. Having a long URL can make users see it as complicated or even suspicious. Furthermore, it may cause visitors to struggle to remember the domain and lead to typos, resulting in a loss of web traffic.

6. Research Social Media Possibilities

When building a brand, using the same name for the domain and its social media profiles is ideal. Doing so creates familiarity and makes it easier for visitors to find the company across different platforms. Linking social accounts to your website is another important step in enhancing customer engagement.

Therefore, when choosing a domain name, check if it is also available on popular networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. If not, create a variation of the name by adding “official” or “update” at the end of the social handle.

We recommend using social and domain name availability checkers, such as Namecheckr and Namechk. These tools also provide trademark information so you can avoid copyright infringement.

7. Check the Domain’s History

Before registering a domain name, it’s a good idea to check its domain history. This contains useful information, such as whether it had a previous owner. Here are several reasons why you should run a domain background check:

  • Competitive research – the history may include information on whether the domain was used for a website related to your niche. If so, registering it may help your SEO strategy.
  • Security – this is part of your risk management procedure. Checking a domain’s history helps identify past cyber attacks.
  • Potential branding issues – if the previous website owner ran an unethical business, it may negatively impact the domain’s reputation and search engine rankings.
  • SEO value – ensure the domain name has a clean history with search engines to avoid harming your digital marketing efforts.

We recommend utilizing online tools like Wayback Machine, WhoISrequest, and DomainTools to investigate the domain ownership history. These sites will provide a report showing information such as previous DNS records, nameserver or IP address changes, and website screenshots.

8. Use a Domain Name Generator

Finding the perfect domain name can be time-consuming. In many cases, it is because the desired terms are already registered or trademarked. So, using domain name generators is an excellent solution to find unique domain ideas and alternatives.

Plenty of these tools are available, such as the Hostinger Domain Checker, Looka, DomainTyper, and Nameboy.

To utilize the tool, type a few keywords of interest in the search tab. The domain name generator will provide an extensive list of suitable options with various TLDs. Some tools may also offer recently expired premium domain names that are available for registration.

Aspects to Avoid When Choosing a Domain Name

When choosing the perfect domain name for your website, there are four crucial elements to avoid.

Trademarks

Aside from causing confusion, using trademarked brand or domain names can lead to legal disputes or a suspension of website operations. Therefore, it is important to conduct research before selecting a domain name.

We suggest picking another domain if you find a brand or company using the same or a similar name. In any case, most registrars won’t allow you to purchase it and will reject the request instead.

There are several platforms, such as the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which provide a global database for trademark applications, appellations of origin, international non-proprietary names, and emblems.

For websites that operate in the US, try the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) to check trademark records, either by word or design.

Hyphens

A good domain name should be easy to type for both desktop and mobile visitors. Therefore it’s best to only use letters.

Avoid hyphens as these are difficult to express verbally, making it harder to market your website via word-of-mouth. It is also tedious to type on most mobile interfaces and can be easy to overlook. Visitors may end up on a competitor’s website if they forget to type the hyphen in your domain name.

The same applies to special characters, which may also lower a website’s credibility as they are usually seen as a sign of spam domains.

Numbers

Adding numbers to a potential domain name may lead to confusion, especially when marketing your website verbally. Moreover, using numbers may leave customers wondering if they should use the numerical digit or spell out the word.

For example, if your web address is domain8.com, some users may type domaineight.com instead, causing you to lose website traffic. Additionally, this may expose your website to typosquatting, where hackers register commonly misspelled domain names for phishing.

Misspellings

Using intentionally misspelled words on a domain name can make the website seem suspicious. Visitors may avoid accessing the site for fear it will steal their sensitive information or harm their computers with malware.

However, if you intend to use an oddly-spelled name for the website due to branding reasons, ensure to also purchase the common spelling of the domain. Then, you can redirect visitors to the main site and avoid losing website traffic.

How to Choose the Best Domain Registrar

Once you have decided on the perfect domain name for your website, register it as soon as possible. To do that, make sure to find a platform accredited by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

Here are four tips to consider when choosing the best domain registrars.

Check the Pricing

Prices can vary depending on the domain extension and subscription period. For example, Hostinger sells .com domains for $9.99/year and .online for $0.99/year.

On the other hand, premium domain extensions from reseller sites can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars.

Pro Tip

Hostinger offers a free domain name for one year with most of our web hosting plans

To find the most affordable domain name and TLD, compare prices from different registrars. At times, domain costs may differ because some web hosting companies add additional charges, such as service or processing fees.

On top of that, find out if the initial and renewal prices vary. Several web hosts offer a cost-effective option by giving bigger discounts if you purchase a domain name for a period of more than one year.

Examine the Expiration Policy

The expiration policy may differ depending on the domain extension and registrar. Ensure your hosting company offers a grace period so you have the opportunity to renew the domain even after it expires.

In addition, check whether the web host offers an auto-renew option. It’s a helpful feature if you don’t have time to monitor the domain expiration date, or if you run multiple websites. When enabled, the system will deduct the billed amount directly from your chosen payment method.

Look For Domain Privacy Protection

When you purchase a new domain name, the registrar will ask for your personal information to verify the registration. The data will then be uploaded to the WHOIS database and become accessible to the public.

Having your personal details published online can raise security concerns. To conceal it, we recommend enabling domain privacy protection. It replaces domain owners’ information on the public WHOIS database with an anonymous proxy identity.

Find a hosting provider that offers a domain privacy protection service to secure your chosen domain. Note that some companies may charge an additional fee for it.

Check if Domain Transfers Are Available

Lastly, check the registrar’s transfer policy. Depending on the provider and domain name extension, domain transfers might be available for free or at an extra charge.

Keep in mind that ICANN implements a 60-day lock whenever you update the DNS records. Therefore, the domain name transfer option will only be available on the 61st day. This regulation exists to prevent domain theft and fraud.

Conclusion

Knowing how to choose a domain name is crucial for attracting visitors, increasing search engine rankings, and improving brand awareness for your website. Therefore, site owners need to strategize and plan carefully before purchasing one.

Here are the eight essential tips to help you choose a domain name:

  1. Pick the right domain name extension.
  2. Make it easy to spell.
  3. Incorporate keywords.
  4. Create a brandable domain name.
  5. Keep the domain short.
  6. Ensure the name is available for your social media handles.
  7. Run a domain history check.
  8. Use a generator to browse unique domain name ideas.

At the same time, there are four elements to avoid when purchasing a new domain – trademarks or copyrights, hyphens, numbers, and misspellings.

Once you’ve decided on the name, look for a trustworthy registrar by checking its pricing, expiration policy, WHOIS privacy protection, and domain transfer option.

We hope this article has helped you choose a domain name. If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave them in the comments section below.

Author
The author

Andzelika V.

As a technology enthusiast and a digital marketing specialist, Andzelika loves to help people learn about tech-related topics. When not doing techy stuff she's responsible for helping maintain Hostingers' brand by working on marketing campaigns.

Author
The Co-author

Noviantika G.

Noviantika is a web development enthusiast with customer obsession at heart. Linux commands and web hosting are like music to her ears. When she's not writing, Noviantika likes to snuggle with her cats and brew some coffee.