How to Choose Your Domain Name
Many clients often ask, “Can you help me choose a domain name?” When it comes to choosing your domain name, it seems simple in theory. However, once you begin your domain name search, you will likely realize the domain you intended on purchasing is not available and now you have to choose between what is available.
As you search what is available, you will be faced with tons of tradeoffs – which extension to choose, to abbreviate or add a word, to use a hyphen or not use a hyphen, etc.
Kreative Solutions Domain Journey
After founding Kreative Solutions LLC, I was excited to buy my domain name. When I searched kreativesolutions.com, I was shocked to see it was a premium domain with a $14,999.00 price tag! No way, a new business could afford that. Premium domains are domain names that are easy to remember and contain popular search keywords.
I continued searching… Above all else, I wanted my company name – something with kreative and solutions. However, I quickly realized some of the domain extension available were just not appropriate. As an example, .org didn’t make sense with a for-profit business. Eventually, I settled on kreative-solutions.us
No, I wasn’t thrilled but it was good enough to include my company name. Yes, it is always annoying to remind everyone that my email or domain has a hyphen, but it’s what I choose to live with!
About two years later, I received an emailing offering kreative-solutions.com for a negotiated price…. I knew better than to try to “negotiate” with someone who was squatting on the domain to profit later. I never responded to the emails despite the notices that the domain would go back on the market and I’d have to take my chances.
A few months later, kreative-solutions.com was available for a $19.99/year through GoDaddy. Yay! I couldn’t believe that I could finally get a .com domain! I purchased it immediately. Then, I realized I had work ahead of me and needed to change my email and my primary domain for the website.
When making this change, I knew I had to be careful. Customers would still use my old email address and visit my old website, so I needed to change things in a way that those messages would not be lost and that customers would be redirected to the proper domain. That’s why you still can use either to this day to get a hold of me!
I added a domain alias for my email, so that I can use either @kreative-solutions.com or @kreative-solutions.us. Then, I changed the primary domain for my website and redirected @kreative-solutions.us to the new primary domain. However, I wasn’t done yet. I still need to alert Google and search engines of the change in address to redirect traffic and preserve the domain authority I had built over the years.
Now, four years later after originally buying the domain, I am happier with a .com domain but would love to get rid of the hyphen! Kreativesolutions.com is still a premium domain and priced at $4,195 as of May 2020. I will continue to monitor it and hope that may just someday I might get lucky or be able to afford that price tag!
Tips for Choosing a Domain Name
Here are 6 tips to help you choose a domain name:
#1 Identify Appropriate Domain Extensions
.com is the most popular and by far the best domain name extension! They are the easiest to remember and the extension we are all most familiar with. However, it is helpful to understand what the extensions mean so that, you can choose what fits your type of organization.
The original 6 domain extensions include:
- .com – Ideal for businesses and commercial organizations
- .org – Ideal for non-profits and non-commercial organizations
- .net – Good for technical, network websites
- .edu – Suited for educational institutions
- .gov – Appropriate for government agencies
- .mil – Suited for the military
Over time, the Internet continued to grow and more extensions where added. There are country code domains such .us or .uk. As a fun fact, the extension .co is the country code domain for Columbia. However, you will often notice it is perceived as company instead.
#2 The Shorter The Better
In general, the shorter the better when it comes to domain names. Shorter domains are easier to remember and quicker to type! Remember your domain will impact the email address you provide, so makes sure you can type that quickly! With the domain being shorter, it makes misspellings and typos less likely. A good rule of thumb is 15 characters or a limit of 2-3 words.
#3 Make It Memorable
Make sure it is easy to remember, pronounce, and type. Try to avoid mis-spellings (unless you intentionally misspell your company name like kreative solutions ?). Also, try to avoid hyphens and numbers. Those details are usually not remembered and may lead to confusion for visitors searching your website.
#4 Consider Your Brand
Your domain name will influence your brand and overall perception. Your domain is your customers go to source of information. This is how your customers will find, remember, and share your company. Prioritize your brand name over generic keywords. Make it meaningful by tying it to your brand! As Backlinko suggests, having a keyword in your domain doesn’t boost SEO like it used to, but it does suggest your website is relevant.
#5 Consider Important Keywords
When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), domain level factors do play a role. Keywords in your domain provide a relevancy signal. Not only do keywords indicate relevancy to search engines, but also can help your customers understand what you do!
When the keyword is the first word in the domain, you’ll get a slight edge over other sites that have the keyword in the middle/end of the domain as well as those who do not have the keyword in the domain (Backlinko 2020). A country specific domain may help you rank that country, but it can also limit your ability to rank around the world.
#6 Consider Trademarks and Copyrights
Research before you buy to make sure your domain is not trademarked or copyrighted. Yes, companies can actually file trademarks to protect their domain name.
When you choose your domain name, take the time to think it through and do your research. It is an important decision, so choose wisely! Always try to choose an appropriate extension, keep it short, and make it memorable while considering your brand, keywords, and intellectual property.
Through this process, you will likely have to choose between trade-offs. That’s okay and that’s exactly why I shared my domain name journey. Focus on good enough, rather than striving for perfection! I had to settle for less than perfect myself. I intentionally choose to violate the typical recommendations of “no hyphens” and focused more on making the domain brandable. Plus, when I have to explain the hyphen, it is a great way to start a conversation and share my expertise pertaining to websites!