Brainstorming the right domain name for your business idea, product, service or blog requires a lot of imagination, strategy, originality, research and good linguistic design practices. Purchasing your domain name is quite similar to buying a piece of real estate as it truly is an investment that can help you make millions from your idea and create the sticky effect every marketer is aiming for.
Essentially, it’s not a decision that should be quick and impulsive. Do your research, take the time to think about the name and the factors discussed below. Whois.domaintools.com is a very useful website that provides information on whether a domain is available for registration or not or you could check the registry through any web hosting provider.
Domain Names Types
There are 2 types of domain names, those that are “discoverable” and the others “brandable.” The type you choose depends a lot on what your traffic generation strategies will be. A Discoverable domain name is one that can be found by someone who does not know about your business but is conducting searches on keywords and topics that are related to your business. These types of names are generally descriptive and depend greatly on keyword competitiveness.
A Brandable name, however, creates a distinct identity or image and evokes interesting ideas and feelings in the user. Names like Google, Yahoo and Flickr have unique character strings and will be best found on the original website. People who know of your business can easily use a search engine to reach you, though this may not be a great source of traffic initially. This means, however, that when your name is mentioned, it dominates search results and this establishes greater credibility and recognition.
Personally, I lean towards branded domain names. I love the idea of being unique and the equity it brings.
Is There Any SEO Value?
Exact match keyword domains (like www.bestcomputerstoreinparis.com) are somewhat in spammy territory now thanks to Google’s recent algorithm changes. Although the issue is debatable and depends on the naming convention used for your overall business. However, the most common use of exact match is of ill intent and are used by people trying to game search engines. Frankly, this does not work as it used to.
In this old video, Matt Cutts explain perfectly how to approach using exact match for your domain name.
Alot has changed since this video but the key takeaway here is that exact match URL’s have very little value for SEO.
Avoid Trademark / Copyright Violations
Copying a successful brand or business name might seem like a profitable short term idea since the qualities associated with those brands may be shared but the truth is that this is a recipe for disaster and will prove very unproductive. Copying trademarks will only lead to potential lawsuits that could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to mitigate and lots of time wasted.
Short, Catchy, Easy to Spell & Memorable
There may be times that you will come up with a name that has some sentimental significance to you in some way and all your days you dream of launching your business with it. The reality is that if that name is too complicated and does not “roll right” with the tongue it could mean a bad start online. If your domain name requires a lot of attention to detail to type correctly then you’ve-already-lost-some-of-your-branding and marketing value.
Try to avoid using words that contain too many of these letters: “q,” “x,” “z” and “p”
Ensure the name has a nice blend. For example: Codecademy, Farecast, YouTube.
A blend combines part of a word with another word or word part. The name Microsoft combines the “micro” part of “microcomputer” with the “soft” part of “software.” When blends involve a surprising overlap in sound between the two words, they’re a form of wordplay. Farecast is like that. It combines the words “fare” and “forecast,” and “fare” resembles the first syllable of “forecast.” Don’t pile up consonants in ugly ways (like in the name Syncplicity), and don’t use important words to replace syllables that aren’t emphasized (the way the names Mapufacture and Carticipate do).
No Numbers & Hyphens
Hyphens and numbers make it very difficult when giving out your domain verbally. There is the confusion of remembering whether the number must be spelled out or typed in numerals; and hyphens are often forgotten.
Have 5 Phrases in Mind When Brainstorming
When brainstorming your domain name it is good to have 5 – 10 terms or phrases in mind that best describe your ideas. Once you have this list you can start pairing them or adding prefixes or suffixes to create a great name.
Create & Fulfill Expectations
When someone hears your domain name it is great if they can immediately correlate it with what your site will do for them and what type of content they will find there. Names like careerbuilder.com, newser.com, hotmail.com and webmd.com do that easily. Google.com, amazon.com, etc. required more branding since they were not intuitive, although they are pretty much now after great investment and hard work.
As domain names become even more scarce, you will need to approach the naming process in a strategic, sensible and rational way. Bearing in mind that your name is an investment in your business and can even help to determine the ultimate value of your idea in the long-term. And with domain suffixes like .guru, .expert, .io and more, there’s plenty of room for creativity.