Studio Anansi Website Design in Portland Oregon

Choose the Best Website Address: Your Domain Matters

By Elliot Olson

By Elliot Olson

Lead Web Designer + Digital Strategist

Ready to take your business online? One of the first decisions that you will have to make is what domain name to use.

Choosing the right domain is crucial. Your domain says a lot about who you are and what you do. Your domain must reflect well on your business.

We’re frequently asked how to choose the best domain and whether a good website address matters. Let’s cover what exactly a domain is and how to choose the right domain for your website.

What is a website domain?

A domain name is how people find and access your site on the internet.

Domains are sometimes called addresses, for good reason.

Your website is like a house that’s full of content like text and images. The domain is the address that tells people where to find that content.

Google.com and Facebook.com are instantly recognizable domains. They’re important parts of the Google and Facebook brands. Imagine if these domains were searchingongoogle.com or theofficialfacebook.com — those domains give very different impressions of the sites, right?

Picking the right domain can be difficult because there are many factors involved. Here are five tips to choose a good domain name for your site.

Use .com

There are many new domain endings available, such as .io, .tech, .club, and .design. However, we always recommend using .com for two reasons.

First, .com is the domain ending that people search by default. When people are searching for your website, using another domain is likely to lose your traffic at best. At worst, it may send your potential customers to a rival site!

Second, .com appears more authoritative. If two identical websites vary only by domain, the .com domain is more likely to inspire trust and confidence.

Shorter is better

People are more likely to remember short domains. Concise domains are easier to type, and they are easier to share on social media.

Plus, think about how you’ll feel having to spell your domain all the time — over the phone, during interviews, in articles…you get the idea.

What’s the perfect domain length? Aim for just 2 – 3 words in your domain, and leave out words like “the.”

Include your business and/or keywords

Always try to use your business name. Including your business in your domain will help your SEO (search engine optimization) and build visitor recognition.

If you are targeting keywords that relate to your industry, consider also including those words in the domain. Be sure to use common words that people search for online, and avoid jargon!

Finally, think about your location. Your physical location may not matter for internet-based businesses. However, it can also be helpful to use your city or state if you work in a specific geographic area.

Avoid slang, abbreviations, and jargon

Slang and abbreviations oftentimes appear less professional. Even worse, they can send potential visitors to the wrong website.

A professional and effective domain should keep spellings simple. You should also steer clear of words with multiple spellings.

Always spell numbers whenever possible. Unless your business name uses “4” instead of “for,” avoid numbers in your domain.

Finally, avoid jargon. Although words may be obvious to you, think from the perspective of your potential client. Don’t use industry-specific terms that customers may not know.

Check for offensive spellings

Finally, take a step back and do a real-world check. Too many websites have gone down in history for domains that slipped past proofreaders. Don’t accidentally create the next apetit.com or penisland.net…please.

After these five tips, you should have a list of potential domains. Your list may be anywhere from 2 to 20 domains, and that’s ok! Limit your search by checking if the .com address is available. We suggest using sites such as Namecheap.com to check domain availability.

If you have several .com options but still don’t know the perfect domain, ask your friends and family. They may all love one of the domains — or their opinions will reveal which one you secretly prefer.

And as a last resort, take a break! Take a 24-hour hiatus from your list. When you return to the choices, you may find that one domain stands out as your favorite.

 

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