How to choose the best domain name
When you’re about to get your business online, it’s important to consider a variety of factors while brainstorming the perfect domain name (or combination of domains). Here are some of our top tips to contemplate when deciding on a new domain name.
- Use your brand name instead of your industry or profession
- Keep it short, but not too short
- No brand name? Try generating one
- Consider registering extra domains if your brand name could be easily misspelled
- Ensure you are eligible to register the extension(s) you want
- Don’t be succinct – choose a name that has the future in mind
- Use keywords if they don’t stray too far from your brand
- See if a unique extension works with your name
- Turn long words into abbreviations or acronyms
- Choose something easy to speak and spell
1. Use your brand name instead of your industry or profession
While carpetcleaningshopville.com.au might sound like the best way to attract customers in Shopville, it could also do you a disservice. Names like this can get you mixed up and confused with other businesses like yours, and your customers may accidentally end up on a different website using the same keywords when they look you up online.
Using your company or brand name is memorable and sets you apart from the competitors in your area or profession. A visitor is more likely to remember a unique name such as blinkcoffee.com.au than something like shopvillecoffeeshop.com.au (which could get confused with your competition across town called shopvillecoffee.com.au).
2. Keep it short, but not too short
The shorter, the better. If your domain is janandmichaelscarpetcleaning.com.au, visitors are less likely to remember it; or it may be remembered as “that site with the really long domain name”.
However, we say don’t keep it too short because shorter domain names can often be considered as ‘premium’ by the domain registry and can come with a ‘premium’ price tag. Abbreviated domain names are fantastic for ease of communication, but they may not be memorable for people who are not already familiar with your brand. If you’re going for a short-and-sweet domain, pair it with another name that’s a bit longer and contains a full word from your brand name (such as blinkcs.com.au or blinkcoffee.com.au).
3. No brand name? Try generating one
If you haven’t established a unique name for your business yet, or have not considered using one, create one for your online presence. A brand name should be memorable, easy to communicate and sound trustworthy.
If you’re stuck on ideas for a name, we recommend using Shopify’s Business name generator for some ideas. This tool will generate some random names that don’t already exist as brand names in their database. This tool is unable to check outside of Shopify for the names it generates, so create a shortlist of the ones you like the most and do some research to see if these names are in use by any other businesses like yours.
In this example, we’ve decided to call our coffee shop Blink Coffee.
4. Consider registering extra domains if your brand name could be easily misspelled
Registering additional domain names is totally optional, and can add up to a considerable chunk of your expenses. If you have the budget for a couple of extra domain names it could be invaluable for securing all of your possible leads. Covering your bases with additional domains that are intentionally misspelled can mitigate this.
There are a few key elements that could cause people to easily misspell your name, such as:
- Repeated letters (alliteration), which could be misspelled with only one of the repeated letters;
- Alternative spellings of common words – such as “shop” if your name uses “shoppe”;
- As well as any other common misspellings you may have noticed when communicating with your client base.
If you’ve registered some additional domains, be sure to redirect them to the domain you want to use primarily to maintain a consistent flow of traffic.
5. Ensure you are eligible to register the extension(s) you want
Country Code Top Level Domains and 2nd Level Domains (ccTLDs and 2LDs) are the best way to establish trust in your brand, as most region-specific domains have a strict vetting process for registrations. Not just anyone can register a .com.au without being a currently registered business in Australia, for example.
Australian 2LDs also come with terms and conditions terms and conditions formatted as statements – known as warranties – that you are asserting to be true when you register your domain. If your business is not in line with the warranties that may come with a domain type, it could later be deleted by the registry for violating their policies.
Read up on the policies published by that extension’s regulatory body – for AU domains this body is known as auDA.
6. Don’t be succinct – choose a name that has the future in mind
Consider the possible directions your business may take someday in the future. Do you think that you would expand your target market if the opportunity presented itself? Could Shopville Carpet Cleaning someday become Shopville Commercial Cleaning..?
When brainstorming your domain name(s), leave a little room for growth by using less specific terms.
7. Use keywords if they don’t stray too far from your brand
Hop on Google Trends and put in a search query that describes what your website is about. Then, have a look at the trends, topics, and related queries to see what people in your area are searching for concerning what your business does. You may find an attractive buzzword that could be incorporated into your name. For example, a popular related query for “carpet cleaning” is “cheap carpet cleaning”, so perhaps you could add “cheap” to a part of your domain name(s) to attract more leads from search engines like Google.
Be careful when incorporating keywords, though – you don’t want to stray too far from our advice to keep the domain short, unique, and memorable.
8. See if a unique extension works with your name
There are so many unique domain extensions available right now, you’d be sleeping on the opportunity to create a truly unique name by using one of the more modern TLDs. Many of these extensions contain a noun or verb and can be used to describe your brand while saving valuable real estate in the length of your domain name.
Some great examples of the unique extensions available are:
So for example, if you are a tattoo shop owner, you can utilise one of these extensions to cut back on the length of your domain. Instead of shopvilletattoos.com.au, you could opt for a short-and-sweet shopville.tattoo. Many of these unique extensions are available through VentraIP Australia, and you can try searching for words relating to your brand on our domain pricing list to see what’s available.
9. Turn long words into abbreviations or acronyms
Having some trouble shortening your domain name? Earlier in this post, we suggest using a partial acronym to amend blinkcoffeeshop.com.au to blinkcs.com.au. Consider some of the common abbreviations used in your industry, or using an acronym to shorten some parts (or all) of your name. Some examples of abbreviation can be:
- ‘australia’ → ‘aus’ or ‘oz’
- ‘company’ → ‘co’
- ‘electrical’ → ‘elec’
- ‘automotive’ → ‘auto’ or ‘motors’
- ‘physiotherapy’ → ‘physio’
- ‘lawyers’ → ‘law’
- ‘medical centre’ → ‘medical’, ‘clinic’, or ‘centre’
10. Choose something easy to speak and spell
Practise saying your domain name(s) to a friend or colleague in person or over the phone – is it easy to sound out? Is the spelling of your name predictable?
Abbreviated domains can be particularly hard to communicate sometimes, as there are a few letters in the alphabet (such as “s” and “f”) that sound very similar and could be mistaken for each other.
If your domain is too long – such as janandmichaelscarpetandtilecleaning.com.au, the person you’re communicating with may forget which order each word is presented in, or some words entirely, and could end up trying to visit michaelandjanscarpetcleaning.com.au instead.
Ready to register your first domain name?
Check out our Domain Giveaway – we’re currently providing new customers with a free AU domain registration to help businesses get started on their journey online.