I regularly get the question from a customer as to which domain name is best for your website.
And that’s – when you start a new website or blog – a pretty important decision to think about. A good domain name can also determine whether people can find you well. And if you’re going ‘to stick’ with visitors.
If you have chosen the wrong domain name in the beginning, then it is best to change it again. So the right choice is important.
In this article, I’ll help you on your way to what to think about when you choose a domain name for your website.
1. Use keywords in your domain name
Keywords still play an important role in your domain name. For a search engine like Google, a keyword in your domain name is an indication of what the website is about.
And also for the visitors, it will be immediately clear what subject the website is about. But it’s not all that matters either. You see many general websites with domain names like vacations.com or clothes.com.
That is very clear, but it is not recognizable as a brand. So try to think of an original name that also contains a keyword.
A good example I came across is from the professional organizer Elma, she is a clean-up coach. She has chosen the name justcleanup.com (gewoonopgeruimd.nl). The word ‘clean-up’ is in the domain, but by adding ‘just’ to it, it has gotten something special. She thus gives the impression that cleaning up is something ordinary, accessible to everyone.
2. Check if the domain name already exists
Not unimportant: you have to check if the domain name you have chosen already exists. More than 350 million domain names have been registered worldwide.
There is a chance that you will choose a domain name that already exists. One of the agencies that manage the domain names is SIDN. They also have a prominent search bar on their website where you can check if a domain already exists.
You can also see who manages an existing domain name. If you are interested in taking over an existing domain name, you can request the contact details via this site.
Also, check if your domain name is not an existing trademark! This can be done at the Official Trademark Office of the Benelux. You can search for brands or have a search carried out to find out whether a brand already exists. By the way, it is best to request a domain name through a hosting party.
They often have a search bar on their website that indicates whether a domain name already exists. And you can also order a domain name directly in combination with hosting.
3. Use a .com extension
Nowadays you can choose from all kinds of new domain extensions, such as .shop, .amsterdam or .business. It looks nice and is recognizable, but it can also be confusing.
Most visitors are still used to a .com extension. And for the Netherlands and Belgium, of course, .nl and .be applies. When I look at the search results, I can also see that the country extensions are high in the search results. It’s not hard science, but the .com extension gives a familiar feeling.
4. Register your domain name directly
If you know which domain name to choose, register it immediately. There are a lot of privateers on the coast who want to make your life miserable.
There are special agencies that collect domain names. When you knock on their door to buy a domain name from them, they often ask for a lot of money.
So it is important that you register the domain name quickly and don’t first ask everyone on internet forums if this is a good domain name.
5. Keep it short and powerful
It is advisable not to pick a domain name that is too long. You sometimes see a domain name as hireaveryprofessionalphotographer.com come along.
That’s clear, but it’s not very accessible. Google does not always complete a domain name, so you have to enter the entire domain name yourself.
I used the domain name howdoIbecomeaworldtraveler.com (hoeworddikwereldreiziger.nl) myself. I have written a book on this subject and so I wanted to test whether I would be found better.
Well, that wasn’t the case. I hadn’t made an extensive website out of it either, but it was clear that this longer name didn’t make me easier to find. A maximum of around 15 characters for a domain name is sufficient, is my advice.
6. Use a recognizable domain name
You don’t have to choose a keyword in your domain name in all cases. For example, if you have been familiar with a particular name for years, it is not a good idea to choose a different name.
Many companies build a brand name over the years. It is recognizable, unique and easy to recognize for customers. Think of Bol.com or Zalando.nl.
The domain name doesn’t reveal what they sell, but it’s clear to everyone what they do. So choose a brand name that is recognizable, unique and stays with visitors.
7. Orient yourself with a domain generator
If you don’t have any inspiration, you can take a look at a domain generator to choose the right domain. For example, take a look at the article 15 Best Domain Generators to find a suitable tool.
It’s not a perfect solution, but it does give you an idea of the possibilities. And it might give you some ideas!
8. Do not use dashes or other characters
You regularly see domain names such as insurance-comparisons.com or buying-roof-terrace.com. Although it can improve the readability of a domain name, it is common to choose a domain name without characters.
If you choose such a domain name, this hyphen or sign will also appear in your e-mail address. People often have trouble filling in the correct e-mail address.
With the above examples, you have a chance that these domain names already exist without dashes. And it may well be that after entering these keywords, visitors will end up on the competitor’s website.
I once chose WPjournalist because I wanted to write about WordPress. WP stands for WordPress. NOTE: I also did some research and found out that I couldn’t use WordPress in my domain name.
WordPress is a protected name, which is registered with the international trademark office. So it’s good to do research on a good domain name.
If necessary, use a domain generator, look at your competition and check with the trademark office or with SIDN whether your name already exists. This can prevent many problems afterward. If you choose a domain name, you will be stuck with it for years.
So it’s important that you take your time.