How To Choose A Domain Name For Your Website

Saturday, September 5th, 2015

wwwSelecting the right domain name for your website is an important part of establishing your online presence. The domain needs to be catchy and memorable, simple to link to, and represent your business’ identity. There are also a number of suffixes available for you to consider, depending on your image, location and target audience. It’s better to get it right the first time because once you’ve built up a strong domain profile and history, then it’s not ideal to change to another domain.

  • Find out whether a domain is taken. Simply type it into the address bar. If it takes you to a domain registration holding page or even simply a blank page, someone else has probably reserved it. If it comes back with an error saying “Nothing found at that address”, then it might be available. Next step is to use a service such as Instant Domain Search.
  • When picking domain names, keep it simple. The less characters you have, the less people will need to remember. This makes word of mouth and traditional advertising much more potent. Using your business name is ideal, but if that’s not available then it might be time to get creative and do some keyword research around your industry. The words that get searched for frequently will make for a memorable and clickable URL. However, a great example of an domain that isn’t a direct keyword but still effective is com – so it’s a matter of balance and finding something that works.
  • Avoid using hypens. Using hypens-in-your-domain.co.nz can be a useful way to clearly separate your keywords, but it’s not ideal if you are frequently having to tell it to people over the phone. Shorter and without hypens is usually better.
  • In addition to being simple, it should be easy to spell. You’d be surprised how poor the average person’s spelling is, so it’s best to stay away from difficult or confusing words with frequent typos. If there are different ways to spell the words in your domain, it can be useful also getting the variation domains.
  • Be aware of existing competitor domains. You want to stand out from the crowd and not be mistaken for a cheap knock-off. Do some research on domains that already exist in your industry so that you don’t accidentally stand on any toes. Similarly, be careful of violating trademarks, as this can get messy later down the line.
  • Consider your TLD. The Top Level Domain (TLD) or suffix of your website (.co.nz, .com, .net) can be chosen when you register it, and you may want to reserve multiple options to ensure no one tries to impersonate your website. If you want to appeal to a New Zealand audience, .co.nz or .nz are good choices, and .kiwi could also be considered. If you want a global or non-regional audience, .com is the broadest and most commonly used suffix.

Choosing the right domain name is an essential part of your online presence. Pick something simple, memorable and that represents your brand.

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Katie is a lover of words and art, born and raised in Christchurch. With a BA in English and Japanese, she’s happiest tapping away at her keyboard writing copy or articles, or else working on the latest illustration. To balance the creative side, Katie is also very motivated and a bit of a perfectionist, which helps with her SEO duties. Although her hobbies could probably be described as art, art and more art, she also enjoys long walks, good friends and travel.

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