Tips for a good domain name

Choosing a good domain name is really (really) important for the success of a website. No matter how attractive the content will be, if the name is discouraging, it will hurt the traffic. Don’t think of a domain name as just an address for the website, it’s much more than that. We should take into consideration multiple factors when thinking about our domain name. Creating one that is original, unforgettable and keeps attracting visitors for years is not an easy task. There are plenty of articles online offering advice, below I have summarized the guidelines I find most important & convincing to me. So what are the attributes of a good domain name?

First and foremost, a good domain name is brandable.

What do I mean here? Think about your domain name as the face of your business. You should make sure it actually sounds like a brand. How do you do that? These are key guidelines to achieve it :

1) Short & memorable

Shortness can help keep a domain name simple and memorable, but going too short can have the opposite effect. If your idea for business name is made of 2-3 words which sound really good together, do not force an abbreviation. Compare “” to “”. While shorter, the second name is harder to pronounce and to remember. The first version works fine. On the other hand, take example of The Wall Street Journal. They went pretty radical with shortening their domain name to “” but it also works fine. So the key here is to strike a right balance. Really try to go for something brief, but don’t force an abbreviation by hacking off whole parts of words and making it sound weird in result. The most familiar and memorable domain names in the world, such as Google, Apple, Facebook, or one of my personal favorites, they all share some key characteristics: they’re creative, instantly recognizable, easy to pronounce and spell. Short and punchy name, easy to remember is exactly what we are looking for.

2) Easy to pronounce

This tip is closely related to the first bit of advice. Even though users are more likely to type your domain name into a web browser rather than saying it out loud, pronounceability remains important. This is because of the way in which our brains can process information. Names that don’t require us to think too hard are usually the easiest to remember, and also more likely to create positive associations. Ask yourself, would Homer Simpson like your domain name? 😉 The name should be very hard to misspell because if it’s too hard to figure out, you are potentially losing a traffic to the website. Most people will give up searching for your site quickly if they don’t remember its name. Chances that they have time and desire to try multiple Google searches of possible spellings are pretty much close to zero. That’s why it’s also important to avoid names that contain numbers (says person who has numbers in his own website), hyphens, or other special characters that make them complicated, hard to pronounce and remember. Key point is, make sure it is easy for your visitors to find you.

3) Choose the .com extension

When it comes to extensions, being unique isn’t always better. While there are many other options that can also feel attractive, “.com” is still the easiest to remember and most often used. In most cases, .com remains the best choice because of its familiarity and association with commerce and reliability. No need to look for something better. In case you can’t get the “.com”, stick to other well-known extensions like “.net”, “.info” or “.org”. Of course, do it only if you are really decided for your name and do not want any other. Why? If a big brand already owns your preferred .com, it is unlikely that they will be willing to sell it to you and that you will be able to afford to buy it from them later down the road. Other option is to use country-specific extensions, such as “.it” for the Italy, or “.de” for Germany. These are perfectly fine if you’re not planning to do business outside the country you select. So consider this option if you want to operate locally.

4) Intuitive

The ideal domain name should give users a good idea of what your business is all about. For instance, is a nice example of an intuitive domain name for a site in file storage business. Right away, a potential customer can make a good guess what this website / company is about. What is more, intuitiveness also increases memorability. When people can grasp your site’s concept just from the domain name, you can bet that it’s going to stick in their minds. Try to think like a potential visitor to your website: what possible names related to your brand or business are easiest to remember? Original? Accurate representation the most important features of your business? It might be a good idea to show your shortlist of names to someone and ask his / her opinion – “what do you think this website is about?” Just a with meeting people for the first time, we form an impression of a domain name within seconds of first seeing it. We instantly decide if it sucks or is cool / interesting.

Apart from the above, few other tips…

Use keywords sensibly. While it’s true that having some keywords in your domain name can help and actually sound like a good idea, too much is bad. Don’t force to include exact match phrases. Doing so can actually hurt your brand, by creating the impression that site is spammy and low-quality. Which cigar online store sounds more professional and trustworthy to you:, or

Another thing to consider, think long-term about your domain name. Too many keywords might create limitations if your business changes later on. Sure, you can always change your name, but this will be difficult if you used it for a long time. 

What about a situation where you tried all the tips above, but ended up with a domain name that’s unavailable (someone else already owns it)? Well if you really made up your mind and are determined to stick to your idea you can either try to purchase it from current owner (might be costly, if the owner is willing to sell it in the first place…) or you can append or modify it a little to make it unique for registration. This means you can add a prefix or suffix, or perhaps use a different extension. There are well over 1 billion websites registered. There’s a good chance that your domain name, no matter how unique and creative it may sound, has already been taken. That’s why you need to verify your idea for name carefully. Use domain name generators and trademark searches just to make sure your domain name doesn’t infringe on other existing uses. That could lead to legal action and the need to start over with a different name, which we obviously want to avoid.

Conclusion: take your time, do your own research. To be successful, you want to stand out from the competition – so domain name is super important. It can either ruin your website, no matter how good the content is, or help immensely if you nail it.

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