Choosing a domain name is trickier than you’d think. My experience navigating this hurdle taught me valuable lessons and tips that I’m happy to share to make it easier for you. Let’s discuss the hurdles you’ll face and the tips to overcome them.
Starting with the name
Every tech project starts with the name or domain name. This is trickier than naming your new coffee spot. There are two obvious reasons:
- Most of the short domains are occupied
- Most of the free short domains are expensive
I mulled over several excellent domain names for the companies we've supported. These are great concepts that work for us as we develop software from scratch:
- Easy to remember. It helps the user to find you again.
- Spelling. Correctly and effortlessly making it easier to go viral.
- Be cautious with funny terms. It helps, but not necessary.
- Don't get too fancy.
These tips should help you get free, cheap, and memorable domain names.
Choosing the right domain name
These tips should help you pick an optimal domain name.
Avoid domain names with hyphens
New websites tend to prioritize the '.com' extension in their name as it's the most popular and prized of the lot. This suffix is so overused, and chances are a company exists with a similar name to yours, ending with '.com.' This makes website owners consider adding a hyphen to differentiate their domain. This creates a few problems:
- The general population is used to domains without hyphens. Hyphenated names are hard to recall and advertise due to the extra character.
- Visitors entering the domain may inadvertently drive traffic to your competitors.
- Hyphens look amateurish, making your domain name less 'clean' or simple.
- Hyphenated names are less SEO-friendly.
Choosing a unique name that captures your brand without hyphenation is better, regardless of the time it takes.
Avoid domain names with numbers
Most experts advise against including digits in your domain. Like hyphens, they can also create confusion. Someone must decide whether to write the number in numeral or word form. They also must discern, for example, '2' and 'two' or '4' and 'four.' Each of the examples used here means different things. Keep things simple. Avoid numbers.
Settle for a .com top-level domain
It's not necessary to only choose a '.com' extension. We see a range of unusual top-level domains (TLDs) like 'XYZ,' 'io,' 'co,' and 'ai' used by well-known companies. '.com' remains the most familiar to internet users. It's one of the oldest TLDs. It's trustworthy and rolls off the tongue. '.com’ remains the gold-standard domain name, though it's not readily available. Using a different TLD doesn’t spell the end for your business. These can be great for niche businesses. For instance, '.io' for technology companies, '.org' for non-profits, 'ai' for artificial intelligence enterprises.' You can opt for a country code TLD, e.g., '.uk' for the United Kingdom or '.us' for the United States if your business serves a geographical area.
Look for a word you like that's simple and matches your business and client's request. Don't limit yourself, but also don't go too wide. You could look up "SEO," "writing," or "content" if you have a writing studio. You can find all sorts of available synonyms on Google or with the help of a thesaurus.
Omit funny or multiple spelling words
Unusual spellings are not recommended when registering domain names. Your brand name should pass the 'radio test.' Someone hearing it aloud should be able to remember, spell, and pronounce it. Unconventionally spelled domain names are hard to market and may look suspicious when printed. Avoid 'disemvoweling.' This is the trend of removing vowels from terms, e.g., Flickr and Tumblr. This is something that works for well-established brands. Steer clear of words people can interpret in various ways or spell differently. For instance, 'fair' can mean impartial, describing a person's skin complexion or a gathering of stalls and amusements. It’s also a homonym. Someone may assume the word is 'fare' (which has a different meaning).
Brainstorm to find a word that suits your business
Brainstorming is very useful when planning to buy a domain name or searching for free domain names. Investing the time to create something brilliant can give you an edge. The key is striking a balance between not being too narrow or wide. The first option is using a free domain generator like Namelix. A thesaurus can also work well if you prefer the more 'academic' route. Be prepared to come up with several titles. Your first choice will likely be taken, given that hundreds of millions of names are already registered.
Here are other pointers for brainstorming:
- your domain should somehow reflect what your niche, service, or product is about. The only exception is when your brand is already established.
- An excellent domain name should be unique and not easily confused with another company (to avoid infringement).
Combine the root word with either prefixes or suffixes
Adding a prefix or suffix to your domain is a neat trick to increase your chance of securing the elusive '.com' extension. Find a short, relevant verb, adjective, or noun to add before or after your brand name. Let's assume your company is a gym, and you want your domain to be 'gym.com.' If this domain is taken, you could create something like 'gogym.com,' 'wegym.com,' 'gymfreaks.com,' etc.
Choose reliable and well-known registrars’
I'd recommend Porkbun and Namecheap. Porkbun is smaller but offers excellent customer service. Namecheap is the older registrar, but their client support isn't as good as Porkbun. This is characteristic of larger companies. Smaller or newer companies lack the customer support you find with established and larger companies. The latter is also likely to stay in business for long.
Register your domain for at least two years
Consider registering your domain for at least two years. Here are the reasons why:
Lock in a lower price
The cost is cheaper when you pay for it over an extended period. Bi-annual registration is the way to go.
Save time and hassle
Registering your domain name bi-annually means you save time and hassle from doing it yearly. It assures you of keeping it longer, preventing anyone else from claiming it.
Google rewards longevity. Using the same domain name for at least two years makes you more credible.
What constitutes a good domain?
Here’s a summary of what constitutes a good domain name.
Easy to remember and spell
Most businesses only cater to some audiences. Your name should be simple to remember, spell, and type for the average person. One way to achieve this is to keep it short and sweet - no more than four words or 15 characters. It is easier for visitors to make typos with lengthier domains, leading to lower conversion and traffic loss.
Uniqueness and brand-ability
Any company wants to stand out for its customers or clients. This isn't possible with a name similar to an existing one. You’d also be avoiding copyright issues down the line. Picking a unique name satisfies these two points.
Aside from uniqueness, pick a name that is brandable or expandable. Let's take Amazon, for instance. The corporation began by selling books as its first product. It would have been harder to market the brand if they named it something like 'bookworm.com.'
Jeff Bezos called his company 'Amazon' due to the massive collection of books he sold. We can interpret the term to mean a range of other products. This domain allowed the brand to expand into an unlimited number of industries. Always think of the long-term potential and pick a name that's adaptable to changes down the road.
Pick a popular top-level domain
We’ve spoken of the importance of '.com.' There are other generic and SEO-friendly top-level domain extensions to choose from If you can't find a domain with this extension. Such examples include:
Keywords for SEO
Adding a popular keyword in your domain name helps for SEO purposes. Have your creative juices flowing to ensure the name isn't generic.
Domain Generator and Porkbun
I created the domain generator, an excellent tool that generates multiple domain names. It takes any name you key in and gives you multiple variations of potential domain names to choose from. I combine this with the Porkbun AI name-generator tool for the next step.
The Porkbun AI name-generator tool handles hundreds of name variations, allowing you to mix and match the domains you’ve generated from the domain name generator. This creates excellent variants of names that you can use for your domain.
I take this further by using a thesaurus tool to utilize synonyms for domain keywords. You can choose a great synonym and use it as your domain keyword. You can input it on the domain generator tool to generate excellent domains and use the Porkbun AI tool to create a great domain name.
These three tools work in harmony and can be utilized to acquire a great cheap domain.
How I do it professionally
A domain name is only a small part of establishing your online presence. Starting on the right foot can offer an edge in boosting your rankings over time. A well-crafted domain makes you stand out and offers confidence to your brand. With a bit of creativity and our tips, you'll find a fantastic domain name. I created a script that combines thousands of available domain combinations for us. Tiger Team X algorithm makes some catchy names such as duckist.com and toolel.com, among many other great ones.
You might be interested in reading our post on Why IT Is the Best Sector to Work in. Improve your online visibility by learning about marketing practices in engineering. Check it out right now! You can manage your tasks and projects easily as you work on your domain name. Goleko is the perfect tool for this. Get tasks done easily with this tool.