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Your domain name is one of the most important parts of setting up your website. This is your online address for people to find you.
Getting the perfect domain name can be tricky. It will take time and you need to be willing to give it that time.
The rules I followed a few years ago aren’t all suggested now. In fact, this domain name and multiple others I have don’t conform to the advice that various marketers out there share. The online world is consistently changing.
Not only will I give you my top tips for choosing the perfect domain name for your website, but I’ll also share some of the things I’ve done “wrong” with my website. I don’t feel bad for making these “mistakes” and I don’t quite believe that they’re all mistakes anyway.
So, it’s time to get the perfect domain name for your site.
Choose your name or business name
While there are lots of blogs and websites out there with cute, branded names there is a downside to them. You’re stuck with them, even if you decide to rebrand your website in the future.
One of my blogs has the word “pregnancy” in the domain name. I no longer blog about pregnancy at all. It’s a parenting website, but I started it when I was pregnant for the first time.
At the time of creation, the domain name was perfect. It was all about my journey being pregnant for the first time. However, now it doesn’t make sense. But I can’t change it.
With this website, I opted for my name. At the time of creating the site, it was for something entirely different. In fact, I’ve changed this website’s focus a couple of times.
The great thing about it being my name is that rebranding and changing my website didn’t matter. The domain name is about me and not the actual site. However, I will admit that rebranding is extremely hard and I don’t recommend it.
I’ve also used a business name in a couple of websites. No matter if the business changes its focus, the domain name will grow with it.
Choose a domain name that’s timeless. You never know what the future holds, but you don’t want to pull yourself into a niche that you may not want to stick to in a few years time.
Watch out for unexpected words!
There are some domains that I look at that I can’t figure out how to say. It’s not because they’re in a foreign language, but that there are two different phrases that come out when the words are joined together. In some cases, those words are rude that leave me questioning the website owner.
The general rule is not to put any punctuation into your domain name. You’ll see that I have a hyphen between my names (I’ll move onto that soon) but most people will tell you to make all your words one long word instead.
Before checking for your domain name, put your words together and check for any unexpected or unfortunate words. People will share the embarrassing moment on social media if you choose this domain name.
I’ll always remember a hashtag for a Susan Boyle album drop. It was “SusanAlbumParty” but if you write it as one long hashtag it can be read a different way.
Create multiple domain name ideas to check
Never rely on one perfect domain name. When it comes to the creation and idea phase, make sure you write a few ideas down. I’m glad I did this with one of my websites.
Other people may have already grabbed the domain name before you get a chance. If those websites aren’t in use, they will likely want to sell the domain for a ridiculous amount.
I believe Pat Flynn’s name domain was taken by someone else, who wanted an extortionate amount of money for it. That person grabbed the domain purposely to hold it hostage!
In other cases, people will have already had the domain name idea before you. It’s perfect for their business.
You’ll need to move onto the second idea. If you already have a list of three to five ideas, you’ll be able to go through them one at a time to find the perfect one for your needs.
My husband and I found out that the domain name for one of our sites had already been taken. It was available for more than $1,000, so we opted for a different name instead.
Do watch out for this, though. When I searched for ideas for a new blog, it set off some sort of alert to Go Daddy and the blog name was snatched up a week or so later. I had to rethink it to avoid the extortionate prices and grab it as soon as I found one that worked.
Make it memorable for your audience
Another reason I suggest your name or business name is that your domain name will be memorable. You’ll tell people about your business name and they will automatically start searching for that, believing that it will be the domain name.
However, there are times that branding statements and names will make the perfect domain name for your website. If you definitely don’t want to change your niche in the future or you can pull something new into the same brand, you may want to pick a catchy phrase or name.
For example, “Circle of Moms” is a blog I follow. While it’s now a brand, the domain name makes it very clear what the site is about. The target audience is in the name and people will have a general idea of what to expect. These together make the name catchy and memorable.
When your domain name is memorable, there is a higher chance that of people sharing it with their friends. They won’t just say “oh you remember that mommy blog,” but will say “did you see Circle of Mom’s latest update.” The perfect domain name will be easy to share and say.
The perfect domain name isn’t always .com
There are a lot of people who will tell you to have a .com destination for the perfect domain name. For the most part, this is the case. You either want .com or .org.
However, what if your audience is for a specific area? I have multiple websites with a UK target audience. Rather than a .com destination, I use the .co.uk. Those in the UK are more likely to type that it.
It may have made my audience smaller but I know my target audience is likely to find me. I want the people reading my blog to be the people it is targeted for.
There are other domain name ends, too. You could opt for .org,.net, .blog, and so much more.
The problem is some of those sites can be created by scammers. If you’re looking to sell products to an international audience, .com is likely the best.
The mistakes I made finding the perfect domain name
As I said, I’ve made mistakes with my domain names. One of the biggest is apparently using the .co.uk destinations in my blogs.
Well, I definitely don’t regret that. As I say, the blogs with the .co.uk destinations are targeted as a UK audience. When I target international audiences, my blogs have a .com destination.
There’s only one site that I wish I’d opted for a .com instead, but that was a website joint with my husband and he wanted the UK one and had the control over the naming of the domain. I left him to it and just did the buying.
We ended up closing that site down after a while because it just didn’t work. He admitted that it was a mistake and let me take control when we rebranded under a different name.
The other “mistake” was getting a domain with a hyphen in it. This one is alexandria-ingham.com. Apparently, opting for a hyphen makes the domain name harder to say. I don’t find that’s the case and I’ve never had anyone else have a trouble.
One of the big issues with punctuation is for those who type the name in. Honestly, how many URLs do you type straight into your browser? I use Google or I bookmark sites that I regularly find. It’s just quicker for me and I know many others who are the same.
So, before you start listening to people who say don’t make the “mistakes,” question whether they’re really mistakes. Some of them are tactical decisions or will make absolutely no difference.
What mistakes have you made when getting the perfect domain name? Share in the comments below.
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