buying a domain name best practices

Buying a domain name isn’t something you’ll want to rush. Sure, it seems simple. It’s just the little URL that you type in to access your website.

However, your new domain needs to contain certain elements if you want it to be a valuable addition to your site. Choose the wrong domain name and you’ll make it that much harder for your website to succeed, or you might even have to migrate to a new domain name down the road.

To avoid this fate, keep the following best practices in mind throughout your search for the perfect domain name.

register domain name

1. Choose the Right TLD

There are thousands of different TLDs available, with new ones springing up every day. It can be tempting to choose a new TLD, however, don’t choose a TLD at the expense of your domain being memorable.

Overall, .com’s are the most common TLD and carry the most authority. Choosing something like a .info or .biz will only make your website look spammy.

Choosing the wrong TLD won’t kill your business, but if possible it’s always a good idea to go with a .com, as they’re the most recognizable and trustworthy.

 

2. Go for Simple Spelling

The easier your domain is to spell the better. Don’t include slang words or add additional letters to your domain. Your goal should be to make your domain as memorable as possible.

Also, don’t include words that are commonly misspelled, this will lead to people guessing your domain name and ending up on a broken site. Technically, you could pick up all of the misspellings of your existing domain as well, but you’re just creating more unnecessary work for yourself.

3. Don’t Add Hyphens or Other Elements

Adding numbers and hyphens to your domain name is going to make it much more difficult for your visitors to remember. You want your domain name to stick in the mind of your visitors, not be something they have to write down to get it right.

Plus, you run the risk of your visitors navigating to the non-hyphened version of your site, and losing traffic over the long-term.

 

4. Shorter Is Better

Keep your domain name as simple as possible. The more words you use the harder it’s going to be for your visitors to remember. Plus, having too many words in your domain name can make it look spammy and just plain weird.

In the old days, people would purchase domain names that were comprised of long-tail keyword phrases. This little trick used to help with rankings, but today it won’t really help your online efforts.

 

5. Spend Time Brainstorming

There’s no need to rush the domain selection phase. Set aside some time to brainstorm as many unique domain names as possible.

The bigger list you have to start with the greater your chances of finding a domain name that hasn’t been taken.

Feel free to get creative at this point. You’re not making your final selection yet, so let your creativity run wild.

 

6. Let Tools Help You Out

If you’re stuck in the brainstorming phase, then let the following online tool help make the brainstorming process easier:

  • Impossibility: This tool lets you enter a variety of verbs, nouns, and adjectives, and it’ll combine words to find available domains.
  • Panabee: This tool will offer you dozens of different variants based on your chosen domain name.
  • Lean Domain Search: This tool will add popular words and phrases to the beginning and end of your chosen domain.

HostGator’s own domain search tool will also suggest related, available domain names:

suggest available domain names

Hopefully, the tools above will help you uncover a unique domain name that highlights what your business is about while remaining memorable.

 

7. Think About Keywords

In the past keyword stuffing your domain name was common practice. Getting an exact match domain name would help improve your rankings.

Today this little trick isn’t as valuable. But, you still might be able to include keywords to let your visitors know what your website is about.

For example, think of domains like, “fitnesscopywriter.com” or “realtorwebsites.com”.

 

8. Include Locally Relevant Terms

If you’re a local business, then it might be helpful to include locally relevant keywords in your domain. Again, this isn’t a chance to keyword stuff your domain, as you’ll still want it to be memorable. But, if you can find a match it could be beneficial to your business to pick up the domain.

Think along the lines of, “losangelesdentist.com”, “topekachiropractor.com”, and so on.

You can also pick up domain names that have local keywords and forward those to your main domain name as well.

 

9. Stay Away From Trendy Phrases

Don’t include any trendy words in your domain. Sure, it might look good at the moment, but think about 5 or 10 years down the line. This will only make your business seem dated.

For example, when Apple was releasing their first iPhone a lot of companies either branded themselves or picked up domains with a similar aesthetic. For example, “iCreative.com” or “iConsultants.com”. At the time it might have looked good, but now it looks out of touch.

Once you have your domain name, you’re ready for the next steps.

As you can see, buying a domain name is a process you should take seriously. Hopefully, the tips above have been helpful in giving you actionable advice to find the best domain for your new business.

Kevin Wood writes about technology and human potential. You can find him at his virtual homes Wooden Writing and Counter Culturist.