Every website needs a domain name. But how can you choose the best one for your business? While there are certainly challenges involved, these domain name best practices can set you on the path to building a great website.
.com Is Highly Preferred
When it comes to building the ideal domain name, you almost always want to go with a .com top-level domain. This remains by far the most-used type of top-level domain, especially for businesses, which in turn makes it the most desirable for your own domain name.
Why is this the case? When it comes to making your site searchable online, there are times you want to stand out, and others when you want to blend in. For instance, having unique keywords that make your site easier to find is a time when you want originality, even in your domains. However, the .com top-level domain carries a legitimacy to it, as it’s the oldest and most widely accepted on the web. Following the standard here is typically best, outside of some specific circumstances.
Don’t Make It Too Complex
Domains names should generally be short and sweet. You probably don’t want to have more than four words in your domain. More words means more chances for someone to make a mistake if they have to type in the domain.
There’s some debate as to whether or not dashes in a domain name is a good or bad thing. While you certainly want to have them when writing in custom domains for articles or pages on your site, having them in the domain name itself can be confusing. Overall, simplicity is the best course of action when coming up wit a domain name.
Choose the Right Web Hosting Platform
When you do finally come to a conclusion as to what you want for a domain name, you next have to determine how you’re going to obtain it. The most common, and typically most cost-effective, way to do this is to buy the domain from your web hosting service. You’ll often be able to get a discount when buying a domain name this way.
Picking the right web hosting service can also play a big role in the overall functionality of your site. It’s possible you’ll actually be able to build your website through their platform. The scale and reliability of your web hosting service can permeate into many layers of your overall product. This is why it’s so important you choose a web hosting service that will accommodate more than just your domain needs.
As if you don’t already have enough to think about when building your domain name, keywords are yet another key consideration. You can think about choosing a keyword for the static part of your domain. A location is a good keyword to consider, especially if you’re mainly targeting local traffic. However, you don’t want to go overboard with this. According to Moz, overstuffing domains with keywords can actually hurt your search rankings, as it’s associated with generally spammy behavior.
Make It Memorable
There’s no reason to make your domain boring. In fact, a domain name can be a chance to showcase the creativity or character of a brand. While there’s certainly a balance to be struck here (you don’t want to confuse people), creating a great domain can be exciting.
This is especially applicable if your preferred domain name has already been taken. You can put your thinking cap on to find something that will actually leave a better impression on people.
Know What Not to Do
While most people think of best practices as purely active, there’s also an implication of things you shouldn’t do as well. For instance, you want to just avoid anything that might come off as spammy in any way. Search engines are smart enough now that they can detect this, and will intentionally steer users away from your site. You should also avoid making your domain too close to something else already in existence. This isn’t in good taste, but could also lead to legal issues if you’re in violation of copyright laws.
Also, read How to Find the Host of a Website?
Picking a great domain name is an art. There’s a reason why some names sell for thousands—or more—on domain marketplaces. Knowing domain best practices can help you get the ideal domain name for your brand.