10 Tips: How to find the perfect domain name for your website
Quiz question: What is the most important thing for a successful website? An impeccable user experience? Unique content or perhaps simple navigation? All wrong. It’s the domain name. Because not only is it the figurehead and foundation of any successful web presence, the domain name also plays an important role for search engines. Here are 10 practical tips that will help you find a suitable domain name.
Tip #1: Choose a suitable domain extension
First of all, you should choose a domain extension for your website. Which one should you choose? That depends mainly on your target audience. Who are your readers and potential customers? From which country do you want to attract the most visitors? You have a German audience? Then a .de website makes sense. For Switzerland, on the other hand, .ch is best. If you have an international or multilingual focus, you should choose a .com website.
By the way: The domain extension is also important for the trust of your visitors. A website with extensions such as .dl or .cc does not look very trustworthy and can scare away potential customers.
Tip #2: Be memorable
There are probably billions of registered domain names on the Internet. You still want to stand out and be remembered by your visitors? Then choose a domain name that is memorable and appealing. Especially important: The domain name should also fit your target group. In the best case, your domain name is sufficient for visitors to immediately know what your website is about.
Tip #3: Be easy to type
Your domain name will not work if you have to spell it several times until it is understood. This is especially important for word-of-mouth. Therefore, avoid long and complex domain names.
Also avoid acronyms or abbreviations. Why is this important? Because you don’t want your future visitors to enter your name incorrectly – and then be redirected to another website. Popular example: Flickr.com, which was founded in 2005. Four years later, the company had to acquire Flicker.com for a lot of money to redirect the many visitors who misspelled their name.
Tip #4: Shorter is always better
Short domain names are better because they’re easy to remember, easy to retell – and easy and quick to type on a smartphone. Ideally, you’ll sum up your domain name in one word. However, we know: this is difficult and rarely succeeds. However, a combination of two words works great for memorable names. Good examples: LifeHacker.com, Planetbackpack.com or healthyhabits.com.
Tip #5: No special characters, umlauts, numbers & hyphens
Since a few years, special characters and umlauts are also possible when choosing a domain. This is not recommended. Why? Because many users are now used to rewrite umlauts in the URL. And what do you do if your visitors are located abroad? Ever tried to enter German umlauts like ä, ü or ö on a foreign language keyboard? It’s damn hard.
Numbers and hyphens also cause confusion. Avoid them at all costs. We promise: Even sophisticated ideas like Nummer1webseite.de will confuse your visitors.
Tip #6: Beware of trends
Most trends will eventually fade. Therefore, choose a classic name that is not tied to a trend or fad. This will ensure that your domain name will still be relevant and attract visitors in a few years.
Tip #7: Check social media
These days, little goes without social media. Especially to drive traffic to your website, social platforms are important. Therefore, before you register your domain name, you should search Facebook & Co for your desired name. Check facebook.com/deineDomain, instagram.com/deineDomain, twitter.com/deineDomain and other social media channels and secure them as well.
Bonus tip: KnowEm is a great tool to check if certain names are already branded on social media.
Tip #8: Check similar domain names.
Your domain name needs to be not only memorable, but also unique. Therefore, check if websites with a similar name exist. Pay attention to singular and plural. For example, if you have a domain name like Laptop.de, you should make sure that nobody uses Laptops.de. Otherwise, the risk is too great that your visitors will accidentally end up at your competitor’s site. The best thing to do in such a case is to secure both domains.
Tip #9: Beware of trademark infringements
Trademark infringements are the super gau. Imagine you invest many months of hard work in your domain – and then have to give it away due to trademark infringement. Therefore, be sure to take enough time to research possible trademark and copyright issues. It is also advisable to contact the intellectual property rights database and ask there.
Tip #10: Even a awarded domain is possible
When searching for a domain name, you will notice relatively quickly: many domains are already taken. However, if they are not actively used, these domains may still be available. Think about what your desired domain name is worth to you – and make an offer to the owner. How much you have to pay? There is no general answer to this question. Between CHF 100.00 and CHF 10’000.00 everything is possible.
Conclusion: For the rest of your life?
The choice of your domain name is in a way similar to a wedding. You have to be absolutely sure. Will you still love your domain name in a few years? You should, because once it’s set, renaming it is difficult – and will cost you a lot of time, money, your branding, and your Google ranking. A domain change is especially problematic if your website has been active for a long time.