One of the hassles of starting an online business is finding the perfect domain name.
Not just any random and boring name but a name that is both unique and good for business.
Choosing the perfect domain name could be like naming a child – it requires lots of thoughts and consideration.
This is the name people will find you with on search engines and social media.
You want to make sure that your domain name fits your business, conveys a message and also stand out from the pool of gazillion domain names out there.
Finding the perfect domain name could take you few minutes or even months depending on what your business is about.
People find it surprising when I say, it took me three months to come up with “Maverick Excel”.
“It took me up to 3 months to come up with a domain name. I tried over 100 domain names, either they were taken or they sounded dry or were too long. I was not only looking for a domain name but also a brand name that will stand out like facebook.com or forbes.com.One day, I was skimming through the dictionary in search of a domain name when this beautiful word jumped into my face – “Maverick”. I quickly checked the meaning. Oh wow…I couldn’t agree more to it. That’s what I wanted my blog to be – the blog with unconventional thoughts. I just attached my name to it and taa RAA Aaah……”Maverick Excel” was born.I checked the availability on GoDaddy, it was available”
Yes! Three freaking months of search.
That’s got to show that I’m a terrible perfectionist.
All the beautiful names I came up with were already taken.
However, over the years having worked with businesses and brands to start their online businesses, I’ve found a way to come up with the perfect domain name in a matter of minutes.
And the client who I have worked with are usually completely satisfied with the names I coined.
I have helped a lot of people come up with the perfect domain name for their online businesses.
It doesn’t take so much for me to cook up a “delicious” domain name that leaves everyone “wow”
What is a domain name?
I do not want to assume that everyone reading this post understands what a domain name is.
According to website.com:
“A domain name is your website name. A domain name is the address where Internet users can access your website. A domain name is used for finding and identifying computers on the Internet. Computers use IP addresses, which are a series of number. However, it is difficult for humans to remember strings of numbers. Because of this, domain names were developed and used to identify entities on the Internet rather than using IP addresses. A domain name can be any combination of letters and numbers, and it can be used in combination of the various domain name extensions, such as .com, .net and more. The domain name must be registered before you can use it. Every domain name is unique. No two websites can have the same domain name. If someone types in www.yourdomain.com, it will go to your website and no one else’s.”
Examples of domain names are maverickexcel.com, facebook.com, google.com, twitter.com, fb.com, Peterson.ng, food.net.
I hope that’s clear?
Now let’s move forward.
Tips for Choosing the Perfect Domain Name
When choosing a domain name, there are some do’s and don’ts you MUST adhere to.
It’s OK to break the rules but read these tips for choosing the perfect domain name first before you break the rules.
1. Keep it short
Your domain name should be as short as possible.
The shorter it is, the easier it is for people to identify it.
However, you should know that it is almost impossible to find a one-word domain name that is available.
Even when you combine two meaningful English words, it could still be unavailable.
In any case, keep it short.
When a domain name is long and difficult to remember, people will either misspell, mistype or simply forget about it.
Unless your business is very special then people will go the extra mile to find your super long domain name.
But how long is long?
When combining three or more words together to form a domain name then it isn’t good for business.
Examples of short domain name: aol.com, fb.com, canva.com, crello.com.
While it might be almost impossible to get a domain name that’s as short those mentioned above, you should not exceed two words in your domain name.
2. Easy to spell and pronounce
Whether your domain name is short or long, it should be easy to spell.
If no one can spell your domain name then how are they ever going to visit it?
So, don’t try to be funny with the name you choose.
When choosing a domain name that’s easy to spell, be careful of letters like ‘c’, ‘k’, ‘y’
This is what I mean:
Check out this word “Kryptic”.
I can bet that there are hundred of variations to that name.
Let’s try a few: Kriptic – Kryptyc – Cryptic – Kreepteec – Kreeptic – Kriptik, and so on.
Now you don’t want to put your prospects and clients into such confusion.
When you use Hykes as a domain name, people might be having a lot of things in their mind.
So tread carefully.
Try this exercise:
Say your URL out loud—is it clear and easy to spell? If someone tells a friend
the URL over the phone would they have to spell it out? If you did a radio ad would it be perfectly
clear how to spell it? If you were to mention it in a podcast interview, would it be easy for listeners to spell?
3. Unique and Memorable
What’s the need of having a domain name if it is not unique and memorable?
I think I finally had the opportunity to say this:
I’m tired of seeing domain names in Nigeria with the generic and super boring suffixes and prefixes as “naija”, “gist” “hot” and “tech”.
This is so bad for branding and business entirely?
I understand that most “online entrepreneurs in nigeria” do not start their online business with building a real business in mind.
So they just slap in something like HappyNaija.com, CrazyNaija.com, Hotflaminggist.com, fifitech, makatech, abokitech.com, Boringtech.com.
It’s either tech this or naija that.
Seriosuly, guys, you can’t build a unique brand or business with those boring and generic suffixes.
Get real. Get creative.
Take choosing a domain name seriously.
You might not know how that business will grow to become an international brand.
There are thousands of domain names out there that seem to sound alike and you don’t want to be like them.
So, my dear Nigerian people, stop the Naija and Tech domain name thingy.
Be creative. Be unique. Stand out from the competition
Disclaimer:I have no idea if the domain names mentioned above are already used by anyone. If you happen to be the owner of any of them, kindly send me an email to remove it. This post is meant for information purpose only and not meant to mock or defame any brand or business.
4. SEO Friendly/Use Keywords
Let me try to be clear as possible here. When I mean use keywords, I mean you should choose a domain name that is kinda close to your kind of business.
Let your domain name give people an idea of what your business is. This will likely help your name appear in search result for that particular keyword.
For example, name like Finecars.com will give you an idea that they deal on cars. PetersComputer.com will give you an idea that the website is about computers.
Webdesignclass.com gives you an idea what the site is about.
So you should play around with words related to your niche, industry or business.
According to Seo-Hacker.com:
“There are about 200 ranking factors in Google’s algorithm, and domain name is only one of them; thus it has very little to no effect with the site’s SEO. However, having a well thought SLD and TLD will definitely help in many ways.”
If you understand SEO then you need to consider this tip. If not, just forget about it and try other tips.
5. Avoid Numbers, Homophones and Hyphens
Avoid this trio as much as you can when finding a domain name
They can ruin your career.
Numbers in a domain name can be very confusing. It is never clear if the
numbers should be in words or figures: 4 or four?
Avoid Homophones. 4 or for? There, their or they’re? Your or you’re? To, too or two? See how confusing that can be? When someone is confused, they usually just move on to the next thing – such as your competitor’s site.
Not many people would remember the hyphen or dash (-) in your domain name.
How would you tell a friend “Maverick-Excel.com” over the phone?
Let me guess: Maverick dash Excel dot com or Maverick hyphen Excel dot com
Now that’s ridiculous. Isn’t it?
So avoid such confusion in your domain name. If Facebook.com is already taken, it doesn’t make sense to buy face-book.com.
You might have a big issue with trademark infringement
“Trademark owners can attempt to sue a domain name owner, who’s owning the domain legitimately and using it for business purposes, and that sucks.” – Rand FishKin, Moz.com
Note: Also be careful with double letters in a domain name. Example: Promiseexcel.com, Foodinnigeria.com, Longgoat.com. This may cause confusion to site visitors
6. Use .com
No matter how long the web is .com will always be everybody’s favourite.
When someone asks you to visit a website do you ask what TLD (Top Level Domain – the suffix that’s used in a domain name after the main word, e.g .com, .org, .info, .net, .ng, etc) it is?
You naturally assume that it ends with a .com.
Try as much as you can to secure a domain name with .com.
When you’re purchasing a domain name ensure that it doesn’t exist with another TLD.
This is what I mean:
Before you go ahead to buy YourDomain.com ensure that somebody else is not using it on YourDomain.net or YourDomain.com.ng.
This could cause a big issue for you and your clients. You could get sued (in some civilized countries).
Avoid Trouble: Be careful when choosing a domain name that you’re not choosing a name too close to someone else’s trademark to avoid problems down the road. That last thing you want is to have to change your domain unexpectedly after establishing your brand online. -Shopify
7. Try a foreign name
At that point when all the English words are registered as domain names, you might need to consider trying the synonym of that word in a foreign language or your local language.
For example, since you know you can’t possibly get the domain names food.com or foodvillla.com or any of those food related domain names for your food business, you can search for food in Spanish, French, German, Latin, or your local languages.
Food in Spanish is comida
You can try for many other words related to your brand/business.
Food – Comica
Hair – Cabello
Design – Diseno
Business – Negocio
Play with as many words as possible.
Should I use a Personal name or Business name?
This is one of the questions I hear people ask a lot of the time when finding the perfect domain name.
Should you use your name Emeka James or business name The Eagle’s Pride Consulting?
Well, there’s no perfect answer to that question.
It all depends on what you’re trying to achieve with your website/blog.
If you want to build your personal brand around your business, then your best bet will be to use your personal name.
But if the website is strictly to showcase your products and services and you really don’t care about being in the lime light, then you should go for your business name.
However, you should know that people follow people.
People don’t follow companies and businesses because they don’t want to be sold to
People will connect with you more and your message if you use your personal name.
So, the choice ultimately lies in your hand.
I will personally advice that you use your personal name. You can change your business or business name any day but not so your personal name.
With a personal name, it’s easier to rebrand. You could turn from a food business to a web design business (terrible example, I know) almost effortlessly.
Meanwhile, with a business name focused on a particular niche, rebranding could cost you lots of money and time.
For example a website that’s into fashion with the domain name fashionsense.com can’t rebrand immediately into a web design business. You will have to buy a domain name again and start building from the ground up.
- 4 CONSIDERATIONS IN PICKING A WEBSITE NAME
Free Tools for Finding The Perfect Domain Name
There are tools developed by people out there to help you in finding the perfect domain name.
With these tools, find the the name that suits your business and brand is only a matter of seconds or minutes.
These tools are also good to check for the availability of a proposed domain name.
That means you don’t even need to check Godaddy.com or Namecheap.com to check if your name is available.
My two favourites are Namemesh.com and Domainit.com.
Where to Buy Domain Names
After finding your perfect domain name, the next thing is to buy it quickly before someone else does.
There are hundreds of domain name registrars out there for you to choose.
I will recommend the ones I have used without having any issue with them.
One of the drawbacks of using an international domain name registrar (as a Nigerian) is that your Naira MasterCard will likely be declined due to the restrictions placed by CBN.
Disclaimer: some links include affialiate links meaning if you buy a domain name from them them, I might get a commission at no extra cost to you. Please know that I have personal experience with all of the following resources, which is why I recommend them.
However, you can use local registrars like:
A domain name could cost between $1- $12 depending on the registrar.
It is usually cheaper for first time customers. Godaddy.com and 1an1.com sell their domain names for less than a dollar ($0.99) for first time customers.
Stories of How People Found their Domain/Brand Name
While creating this post, I asked my friends on Facebook to share the story of how they came up with their domain names.
Well, After thorough research for a name; comparing names of other platforms, trying keyword planner etc, I got confused because I saw none that gave me this satisfaction.
Then, I decided to ask for the suggestions of my colleagues, and amidst numerous suggestions, Chimezie Peters Ozofor came up with one I just couldn’t resist, Lol, (I thank him for that); that was almost 2years ago, if I’m not mistaken.
Then I went ahead to buy the domain name, and I also noticed that, it fits for a brand name.
That’s the story of the discovery of my domain/Brand name.
“I love technology, I’ve always know that.
Then social media evolved and started changing lives, so i wanted a medium where i would be able to give out information to help businesses and share social media updates and tips that will affect their businesses positively and i came up with the name Infobiz.
Thus http://infobiz.com.ng was birthed.”
“Well, I got mine, http://theflowingink.com when I recalled how my pen floats back then in primary school
Share with us in the comment box below the story of how you found the domain name you’re using.”
“I wanted to talk about achievements and personal development and I had registered worldofachievers.com before I gained clarity that changed it all. I’m still pondering Changing it sef”
“I didn’t quite start blogging with a serious mind. I just knew I wanted my person (my nick: murray) to be reflected in the domain name I’d use for my health/lifestyle blog. Thankfully, murrayzblog.com.ng was available and I went for it.”
“Mine wasn’t as long as yours, Promise.
I am into charity already but brainstorming the domain name was kinda hard.
I wanted something remarkable and short.
I had one in mind but after searching on godaddy, I found out it’s unavailable.
Then, I went to Amazon to search for charity related names.
After long search, www.CharityConnectPodcast.com was born.”
“To get a domain name is not as easy as the definition may be. In 2014, when i was set to start my blog, am good at domain suggestion (not self-praise). i came up with Brainnews, trust Internet gurus, it was already purchased for a resell. i went ahead to pick Brainnews Nigeria (Brainnewsng.com)”
Share in the comment box below the story of how you found or choose your domain name.