How to Choose a Domain Name for Your Website

Jasmine Henry / June 21, 2018

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Don’t underestimate the importance of choosing a domain name for your website. Rand Fishkin of Moz writes that domains have massive impact, “in terms of click-through rates…type-in traffic, brandability, [and] offline advertising.” If you’re wondering how to choose a domain name, here are five considerations to guide you.

1. Represent your business and brand

Your domain name should represent who your company is and what you do. Try saying your domain out loud to a friend or colleague to gauge whether it’s easy to understand. If someone can’t determine what the focus of your website is from its domain name, you might want to change it.

2. Make it intuitive

Your domain name isn’t the right place to get too creative. Denis Pinsky of Forbes recommends avoiding hyphens, numbers, or “anything else that makes it sound unnatural.”

If your first choice isn’t available, find alternatives that are simple and easy to remember. You might abbreviate the name of your business in a way that makes sense, or consider including your location. Something like CortadoCoffeeSF.com, which combines a business name and location, is straightforward and original enough to be remembered.

3. Consider using keywords

You might incorporate keywords when choosing a domain name. Search Engine Journal found that the use of keywords in a domain can enhance site usability and search engine ranking if they help customers understand what your website is about.

Using keywords in your domain name isn’t always necessary, though. Not every successful business domain contains keywords — there are no ecommerce keywords in Amazon.com or travel-related words in Expedia.com. For other businesses, like HotSauceDepot.com, common keywords can be an asset.

4. Avoid complex words

If your domain name contains words that are difficult to spell, it might lead to trouble. Generally, it’s best to avoid uncommon words or complex phrases. Simplicity is key!

5. Strive to stand out

Don’t choose a website name that’s too similar to a competitor’s. At best, you’ll cause confusion. The worst cases are finding yourself infringing on a trademark, or guiding your customers right into the hands of a competitor.

Your domain name should be unique and memorable. AvaYoung.blog is an example of a memorable URL, as it incorporates the owner’s name and the less-common “.blog” extension.

A distinct domain name that represents your brand is a business asset. WordPress.com users can select any domain name that’s not currently in use, including “.com” options and 16 types of top-level domains like “.co” or “.biz.”

Now that you know how to choose a domain name, you can claim your domain or map an existing domain to your WordPress.com website.

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