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Choosing a domain name for your website

domain name

Choosing the right domain name for your website is your first task when you want to create yourself a website. Believe it or not, this is one of the hardest and most important jobs in setting up a website. Get it right and your website could thrive. Get your domain name wrong, and your website will suffer.

So let's get down to it. Here are 10 vital points to help you which you should adhere to when choosing your domain name to ensure that it's appropriate and maximises effectiveness for your website and business.

  1. Short domain name
    Basically, the shorter your domain name the better because people are generally not good at remembering things especially if your domain name is longwinded. Also if it's shorter, it's easier to tell people to go visit your website at whatever URL. Shorter words are easier to remember and are more catchy.
  2. Register a .COM or specific country TLD
    Usually the first choice of a domain extension is the .COM as it's second nature to assume that a website ends with it. Avoid registering .NET, .INFO, .CO, .TV and any others that are uncommon. These do have an adverse effect on your rankings on search engines as they are usually looked upon as half spam. Other TLD which you can also register are country specific domains such as .CO.UK for UK websites, .AU for Australian websites, .DE for a German website and so on. You should consider registering your domain under these extensions if your website business is directed at a specific country. Search engines will give more weight and priority for local domains as compared to a .COM which is American as well as global. A .COM usually will cost you around £10 a year or less and a .CO.UK varies but you can it it for just over £6 here.
  3. No numbers
    Never use numbers in your domain name because firstly, it's unprofessional. It obviously looks like the domain that you wanted is taken by someone else and you decided to take the name anyway but extend it by adding a few numbers to end of it. This has "SPAM" written all over your company brand. During these situations when the domain name you want is already taken, try choosing another name instead. Secondly, people could spell your web URL wrong if it contains numbers. People might either type in the numerical or alphabetical version so the chances that people are unable to find you on their 1st attempt are 50/50. Something that you definitely want to avoid. There are exceptions where your company might be called for example "2 handy men". In this case, it would be OK to go for "" but don't go adding random numbers where they're not needed.
  4. No hyphens
    You may have seen some people use hyphens in their domain name and these are the people who have got it wrong. Don't follow in their footsteps because again, how can you tell people to visit your website? You have to tell them for example "visit my website at UK hyphen hosting web dot co dot uk." Too long if you ask me and the likelihood that that person will forget are pretty high, therefore another lost visitor.
  5. Use keywords
    Your chosen domain name should be rich in related keywords to what your site is about. Look at my URL as an example. My website is about website hosting directed at the UK, therefore, I chose the name "". Do you see the related keywords and also the chances of people typing in "UK hosting web" on Google and Yahho search are quite high so there are double benefits.If your chosen keyword combination is already registered by someone else, then use the Google Keyword Tool to help you out. This tool allows you to type in words to see how many people search them and also returns results with other keyword ideas and their monthly searches. I use it all the time and it's help significantly. Also keep keywords to a maximum of three. Anymore and your domain will be hard to remember as it's too long.
  6. Marketable value

    domain google

    When choosing your domain name, you also have to think about the nature of your website and it's future growth. If your website is not going to be a brand, then it's great to use not so catchy names such as my domain name "ukhostingweb" or like "Londonsightseeing" etc. But if your website is going to be a brand, then you should be thinking along the lines of "Google", "Yahoo", "Youtube" and "Facebook". These names are very marketable as they are unique therefore is very easy to remember. But keep in mind, a unique and catchy domain name is harder to grow in the beginning. So you have no plans to become as big as them, then choose two short keywords and join them together. Use the thesaurus to help you out.
  7. Easy to remember
    Your domain name should be easy to remember because you want people to have it embedded in their head and be able to come back to you over and over again without having to look up your domain name.
  8. Easy to spell and type
    If your domain name is hard to spell, then you're going to lose visitors such as the word "ceilidh". Lots of people even in the UK, don't don't how to spell this word but we all use it in the English spoken world. If it's hard to type such as uncommon words using unusual letter combinations, then you're going to lose visitors too.
  9. Take your time
    Because getting your domain name right and making sure that it's perfect and works well for your website is so important and vital to your success, please take your time thinking about it. I'm not talking about a few hours or even a few days but even a few weeks or months is very normal. Get some help from friends and family and do some brainstorming because the more people the better. They are after all the people who use search engines to search for terms such as what your website might offer so their insight are very valuable.
  10. Go and register a domain
    Now that you have a general idea of how to go about picking your perfect domain name, why not give it a try here or use the form below and type in a domain name.

If you need help in registering a domain name, see our step by step instruction guide here ».

Last Updated April 26 2014 by Alex Tse