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How To Choose A Domain Name: Step By Step

Let’s talk about how to choose a domain name – not just any domain, but the best domain for your business.
 
Domain names impact your brand and they can have a massive impact on website traffic because they influence click-through rates in search results and social media. So how do you select a good domain?
It first step is to create a good name for your business. This is part of your branding. Check our guide about how to create a brand first.
 

How To Choose A Domain Name: Make It Brandable

 
By brandable I mean, when you hear or see the domain name, does it sound like a brand. That means that hyphens and numbers are a real problem because they don’t sound like a brand. They sound generic or strange.
 
If your last name is Tarantino:
 
  • Tarantino-accounting.com would be hard to brand, say or remember.
  • Tarantinoaudits.com would be limiting because you seem to only offer auditing services
  • Tarantinocpa.com simply tells people that you are a CPA and your name is Tarantino. It’s unique, memorable, has an obvious meaning and people can guess the spelling.
 

How To Choose A Domain Name: Make It Pronounceable

 
Why? Because, as humans, we have a cognitive bias toward things that we can easily say and remember (and associate with something positive). This is also known as “processing fluency”.
 
If it’s difficult to pronounce a name the name will be less memorable and it will not leave an impression on people – or to put it another way, it’s less brandable.
 

How To Choose A Domain Name: Make It Short

Length matters because of processing fluency.
 
The fewer characters a domain name has, the easier it is to type, say, share, and the less it gets shortened on social media sharing platforms and search results.
 
The simple summary is that shorter is better.
 

How To Choose A Domain Name: Bias Towards .com

One of the most common questions about how to choose a domain name is whether to use “.com” or something else.
 
There are some niches where this doesn’t matter but it matters for 90% of them. If the .com domain is available you should use it or use the primary domain in your country.
 
All of the major brands you can think of have .com domains and there is a natural tendency to associate .com with the best brands and the other domains with B and C grade brands.
 

How To Choose A Domain Name: Avoid Trademark Infringement

 
Keep in mind that just because a domain is available, doesn’t mean you are legally allowed to use it.
 
If a domain sounds similar to a name that is trademarked by someone else you will have a problem.
 
You can get sued and be required to pay damages to the trademark owner AND spend even more money renaming and rebranding your business.
 
Even if you go ahead, using a name that sounds like another brand can also create brand confusion that negatively impacts your own brandability.
 
You should talk to a trademark lawyer if you have real concerns.
 

How To Choose A Domain Name: Make It Intuitive

 
A good domain name gives people a strong idea of what a website will be about. Being able to look at a domain name and say, “Ok, they probably do this” is a big win.
 
Tarantinocpa.com is a good example.
 

How To Choose A Domain Name: Use Broad Keywords

Keywords in a domain name can help with the cognitive fluency biases, but they can also help your SEO.
 
Google does not favor you if you have an exact match or partial match domain, but the anchor text from other websites that link to your domain can be helpful.
 

Bonus Tip: Append Or Modify

If your domain name is not available, it’s okay to use a suffix or a prefix.
 
A useful tool that can help with this is a domain name suggestion tool like Lean Domain Search (https://leandomainsearch.com/).
 

Connect your domain to your website

After selecting a domain you will need to make it point to your website so that users end up on your website when they type your domain into a web browser.
 
Check out this guide from Namecheap about how to point a domain.
 

Now, Let’s get some customers

Your domain alone will not generate revenue. You will also need to do competitor research (and complete a competitive analysis) so that you can develop a unique selling proposition.
 
People need to be clear about why they should buy from you and not your competitor.
 
After attracting your target market to your website you will need to make sure that you have created an effective funnel and addressed all of the website trust required to maximize conversions
 

Download Our Free ‘Start A Business’ Guide

Use our “Impact Entrepreneurship” checklist to start your business and make the world better.

  • Adam Radly

    Founder
    Founder of IIMAGINE. More than $100M raised. TEDx Talk about passion > 1 Million views. Founder of World Reconciliation Day with Nelson Mandela. Founder of One Direct Democracy.