Learn how to name your website, including some cautions you may not be aware of. Also get tips to help you choose the best website name and find out if the website names you like are available.
You’ll also hear these terms used for a website name: website address, domain name or URL. These all mean the same thing. An example of a website name is www.MarketingZone.com.
These tips also apply to naming a blog. If you want to attract website visitors through the search engines, the name you choose for your website and/or blog is really important. So is how the blog is set up technically.
How to name a website
Choose a website name (domain name, URL) that is…
1. Easy to spell
Don’t try to be clever. Don’t use strange words. Don’t use difficult-to-spell words (if you do, purchase the domain names for all the possible misspellings too). Some usability experts even say to avoid using difficult-to-type letters like “q,” “z,” “x,” “c,” and “p.”
2. Easy to remember
You don’t want to be the company with the terrific website that no one can ever remember to tell their friends about because they can’t remember the website domain name.
3. Easy to pronounce
Both hyphens and numbers make it hard to give your domain name verbally.
How would the website name sound when it was mentioned on the radio? On a TV commercial? By someone talking to someone else and telling them about your website?
TIP: Can the website name you are thinking of pass the “phone test”? That means if you tell someone the name over the phone, can they type it in and find it on the first try? Or do they get confused and need more help?
Short website names are easier to type in and easier to remember.
When someone hears about your website name for the first time, they should be able to instantly and accurately guess at the type of content that might be found there. Think of domain names like BabyCenter.com, Hotmail.com, CareerBuilder.com, AutoTrader.com and WebMD.com. Other domains, like Amazon.com, Twitter.com, Zillow.com, and other website names that don’t really mean anything, require far more branding investment to make their names memorable.
6. Doesn’t have another (bad) meaning in another language
Some English words may mean different things in another language. You don’t want to choose a website domain name that is great in English but means something horrible in Spanish.
7. Includes keywords relevant to what you sell or offer
You will attract more website visitors for free if your website domain name includes keywords people use when searching for what you offer. For example, “GoodhueDentist”.
TIP: Start your naming process by doing research on what people search for online related to what you sell or offer. Use keyword research.
8. Doesn’t include a number or hyphen. They are often mistyped and not easy to tell someone. For example, “Our website is Dental dash Doings”.
9. If you’re marketing in a town, city or state, consider adding the city, town or state name to your website address. If you include your business’s geographic location in your domain name it will improve your search results and you’ll get more qualified website visitors for free who are looking for what you offer in a specific geographic area.
More tips for choosing your website domain name
1. Avoid trademark conflicts. Research your potential domain name to make sure it isn’t already protected by trademark.
2. Register and pay for domain names with common misspelled versions of your domain names so competitors can’t register them.
3. Ideally buy a “.com” extension
The “.com” website addresses are more valuable. Why?
Most people assume websites are “.com” so if you have a website domain name that isn’t a “.com” then you’ll need to spend time saying things like, “Be sure to put in .net to find us online.” Also, most people typing in a website address will put in “.com” so if you own the “.com” domain name, you’ll get more website visitors than your “neighbors” with “.net” and other domain name extensions.
All non .com domains will send some traffic to the .com version. Internet users ‘default’ to .com names. When trying to remember a site or brand, that’s what people type in first. So if you use a .net, just know that you whoever owns the .com version of your domain is going to be getting some of your traffic and leads. And not all of the traffic you ‘accidentally’ send to the .Com will still find it’s way to your .net (or whatever extension you are using).
A website domain with a .com extension may make it look like you’ve been in business longer than you have been. That gives any startup an instant advantage.
4. Also buy the .org and .net versions of your domain name to protect your brand name. That’s an inexpensive way to protect competitors from taking your customers.